WordPress Jetpack: Friend of Foe?
Depending on where you read about it, the new WordPress Jetpack plug-in is either the best service to come along in a long time, or the most disruptive official plug-in to come out yet. Only time will tell what it's capabilities are, and what it's adoption rate will be.
WordPress has been downloaded (as of Feb 2011) more than 32.5 million times, and is used by over 13% of the world's 1 million biggest web sites (source: WordPress). Wappalyzer identifies 53% of the websites it sees as being run on WordPress.
WordPress is an open source Content Management System (CMS), and what makes it popular are the tens of thousands of free and premium (paid) themes and plug-ins that run on it's architecture. WordPress has two flavors as well, the kind you can use to get a free blog without requiring any hosting (wordpress.com), and the kind you can download and install on your own web hosting account (wordpress.org).
At it's core, the free open source WordPress software is mainly maintained and developed by the 'for profit' Automattic company. If you find it strange that a for profit company would maintain a non-profit open source software package, it might confuse you further to know that last year Automattic gave up the WordPress trademark (to the WordPress foundation). To some this is where the new Jetpack plug-in is a mixed message.
For those with free WordPress.com blogs, there are many upgrades available - that come in varying price tags. You can upgrade to VideoPress, for example, for $59.97 per blog, per year. You can also upgrade to post via text message, remove ads, increase space, add unlimited private users, register a domain, and more. For future reference, keep in mind that that the money made from these upgrades fall within an official "WordPress" web domain (and WordPress is non-profit).
If you download and install the WordPress software from WordPress.org, to date the only upgrade available directly from the mothership has really been the Akismet spam fighting plug-in (which requires monthly payment for a commercial key).
Enter the new Jetpack plugin / service. At first glance, what Jetpack offers is great, because you get WordPress.com stats, a twitter widget, Sharedaddy (social media sharing), embed codes for video and popular file sharing web sites, and the very popular grammar and spell checking plug-in "After the Deadline" - all rolled into 'Jetpack'. In addition the official homepage for Jetpack shows "coming soon" further down the page - indicating more features and services will be added to Jetpack in the very near future.Continued on the next page