WordPress.com Partnerships: Popping Up All Over

popuppress Almost a year ago now on April 28th, 2010, WordPress.com Editorial Czar, Joy Victory announced the introduction of Freshly Pressed and presented Five Ways to Get Featured on Freshly Pressed located on the front page of WordPress.com.

Each weekday, we select about ten new blog posts for the Freshly Pressed …

FoodPress pops up

On November 1st, 2010, Joy Victory announced the introduction of FoodPress, a partnership with a publishing company called Federated Media. The Get Featured page reveals having your post featured on Foodpress is based on Five Ways to Get Featured on Freshly Pressed.

Each day, FoodPress features snippets of [food posts published on wordpress.com blogs] posts …

PopPressed starts popping

There was no announcement made on the offical WordPress.com community blog, but on March 3, 2011 PopPressed a new site powered by WordPress.com was launched.  The information on site reveals it’s another partnership with Federated Media.  And getting a post featured on PopPressed which  focuses on style, sustainability, arts, and culture is based on Five Ways to Get Featured on Freshly Pressed.  The site lacks an About page so I’m not clear if the featured content is limited to posts published on WordPress.com blogs or not.

EcoPressed another partnership pop-up

There was no announcement made on the offical WordPress.com community blog when on  March 8, 2011 a new site powered by WordPress.com called EcoPressed was launched.   Unsurprisingly, the information on site reveals it’s yet another partnership with Federated Media.  And the information on the Get Featured link is based on Five Ways to Get Featured on Freshly Pressed. However, the site is not limited to featuring only posts published on WordPress.com blogs.

Each weekday, we update EcoPressed with the latest and greatest posts from WordPress bloggers focusing on environmental topics like clean tech, renewable energy, and eco-friendly innovation, along with posts from other independent green thinkers from across the Web.

Traffic but no income splitting?

What these new pop-up partnership sites aim to do is drive traffic to blogs and presumably they make income from advertising sponsorships and/or affiliate schemes.

Given the new features for social networking that have been introduced, it feels like WordPress.com may be going in the direction of building a social networking site. In the WordPress.com Terms of Service we are told we own the copyright to our content, but do note that as justjennfer pointed out regarding the response to the introduction of the reblogging feature,  we have no say in how our content is redistributed.

I’ve thought again and again about why the copyright issue of Like/Reblog hasn’t been addressed. Here’s why:

By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog.

Effectively this means that if you’ve signed up to blog on WP.com, you’ve signed away your right to control the redistribution of your content, copyright notice prominently placed on your blog or not. —  Customer Dissatisfaction

Some questions that arise are:

1.  Are the FoodPress, PopPressed and EcoPress sites being VIP hosted by WordPress.com?

If they are then they are allowed to run advertising and make an income from it and from affiliate schemes.

2.   Are the FoodPress, PopPressed and EcoPress sites being free hosted by WordPress.com?

If  they being free hosted by WordPress.com, and have they been accepted into the AdControl Program this enables them them to split advertising and affilate income with WordPress.com.

3.  Aside from benefiting from an inflow of traffic that leads to bragging rights, and may result in new readers, an uncharacteristic inflow in traffic tends to produce  a high bounce rate, so what else may the free hosted WordPress.com bloggers, who have their posts featured gain from the featuring?

4.   There are many types of WordPress.com blogs. How many other Federated Media and WordPress.com (Automattic) partnerships are in the works?

Federated Media develops programs and products that help brands engage in those conversations and host their own dialogues with current and potential customers. As we’ve grown to have offices across North America and represent a larger number of partners, that basic principle continues to describe our business.  See also > Marketers

Moments ago, our partner John Battelle and the team at Federated Media launched the beta of ExecTweets, a new service for folks to find and follow business execs on Twitter. It’s an interesting model, essentially a lens on Twitter that’s further organized by specific industry, like tech, media, healthcare, etc. — Federated Media launches ExecTweets

Discussion

I’m wondering how many of my readers have had their posts featured on FoodPress, or PopPressed or Ecopressed and would appreciate hearing feedback from those whose posts have been featured. I don’t know what to think.  I’m wondering what my readers think about these partnerships  with Federated Media that have led to WordPress.com popping up all over.

Updated with links to related forum threads
How to get rid of “poppressed”
strange things poping up
Unacceptable Spamming BY WordPress
The Other “Poppressed Ads” Problem – The Shock of Seeing Actual Ads

32 thoughts on “WordPress.com Partnerships: Popping Up All Over

  1. Hi Timethief…I was looking for “how to delete/hide/deactivate On The PopPressed Radar”. Please advice. Having things you don’t need or want, is really annoying. Please help me…

    Thanks a million

  2. Hello Timethief! Am now in a position to understand this post, having been through it the past couple days. On behalf of the Malvedos blog I took the 5k challenge and posted an article with the requisite wwwp5k tag. On Monday we were featured on Freshly Pressed. On EACH Monday and Tuesday this week we had as many hits in a day as we normally get in a month – and we received 54 comments, most of which were of the congratulatory / how beautiful ilk, but a couple expressed interest in our wines [which my boss spotted – win!!]. From the stats on WP dashboard it was clear some people came into the featured article and then explored our site further (3/4 of hits were on the article, 1/8 on home page, balance spread across many other pages and articles. Note that hits to non-FP’d article still totalled better than a usual day). We do have 14 new subscribers. All to the good, I’m not complaining. I fully appreciate most of these people won’t return, but hey, it’s exposure for both the blog and the brand. And, it appears I’ve had a little trickle-down from Malvedos blog to personal blog – stats are slightly up over there, without having published lately, a bunch of referrals off my gravatar or tag. Today I traced a referral link from Malvedos 5k article to PopPressed, which at first glance I took for some kind of spam site (adverts!) – then dimly remembered WP connection and searched the WP forums for more information… here I am.

    So, my conclusion is, I don’t think any of this has hurt us, and we seem to have gained a little bit maybe. What IS bugging me right now is that on PopPressed site the link to our article has been paraphrased – ours is titled The Most Beautiful 5k In The World, but on PopPressed it shows in their extract page as “Quite Possibly the World’s Most Beautiful Short Running Race” What the….???? I resent their crediting me with such a crummy awkward title! On a quick click-through of five other articles, all of them have had their titles bodged pretty badly too. Why? [rhetorical, heavy sighhhhhh] So, no complaints, but still not ready to give Mullenweg my first born child in gratitude either, you know?

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      Thanks for being so forthcoming and sharing your experience. When I first clicked into the PopPressed site I winced. To me it looked very commercial and spammy due to the advertising on the site. Since that time I have been logging in using IE and witnessing a PopPressed advert at the end of blog posts that are not associated with pop culture and wondered if the bloggers were even aware of the ads appearing on their blogs. I wonder what the motivation is behind the mutation of your titles on all five articles. We are all careful when we formulate titles as we want them to communicate clearly what the subject matter is and if this had happened to my post I would be annoyed.

      The bottom line here is the WordPress.com has the right to redistribute our content. Press this and reblogging make that easy for their partners who are content specialists to do. One wonders where it will end or if it will just continue to escalate and more and more advertising to appear on our free hosted blogs. It seems to me that the ante in to blogging for those who have business and/or professional blogs is now domain and domain mapping ($17 per year), plus the No-Ads upgrade ($29.97 per year), and possibly the custom CSS upgrade ($14.97 per year). That total rivals hiring a web host and setting up a WordPress.org install.

  3. You’re welcome, TT. I’ sure you’ll feel more comfortable without them as I know they made you feel uncomfortable. Curiously, though, I’ve just made the decision to use them (on other people’s blogs) more!!

    As for spam ‘Likes’, probably the only way to overcome those is to turn them off when they happen, trouble is it then makes other people’s likes disappear. (But they could then be acknowledged in a post edit, possibly, like ‘thank you to so and so who ‘liked’ my post and sorry but have had to remove them all as I was spammed by someone else’)

    1. I was using the “like” on other’s blogs when I appreciated what was shared in the post but had nothing meaningful to add to the discussion. I disabled “likes’ on my own blogs. Until wordpress.com comes up with a means of us bloggers removing the “likes” from opportunitic spammers I will not renable them on my blogs.

  4. I just had a look at one of my older posts which doesn’t have a like button (but shall try this on other people’s blogs that don’t use the like buttons) and while, yes, the ‘Like’ link does appear in the grey bar, if you click it, nothing else appears. And how can it, as Like has been disabled for that post? I think what it is, TT, is that the grey bar is set to have ‘Like’ appear there (visually) whether or not the actual function for it is enabled.

    And if the Like link is not there, the share drop down isn’t either.

  5. Apropos opting out of like and reblogging, TT, I turn these off on a per-post basis whenever I want to. Can you not do that on your own blog?

    1. Val,
      For clarity on this note we are not referring to the like buttons, etc. we can enable and disable below our posts. The “reblog” and “like” feature being referred to in the comment are situate on the top gray navigation bar common to all wordpress.com hosted blogs. We cannot disable or remove or hide the ones on the gray navigation bar.

      Please see what Matt Mullenweg states here when he is again asked for an opt-out to be created > http://webwanderings.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/is-wordpress-com-now-a-social-networkingmicro-blogging-platform/#comment-607

      Matt says: June 3, 2010 at 10:50 am
      The original vision of WordPress (and WP.com) wasn’t to freeze blogging at a moment in time and never evolve and listen to our customers, it was to constantly iterate and adapt based on features our users ask for, or we like.

      Sometimes competitors introduce something first, sometimes we do, it doesn’t really matter or influence us too much. (Tumblr launched 4 years ago, and our first version of likes was written a year ago and not launched.)

      Since these are user and not blog features, I’m not sure how or why opt-out would work. The admin bar belongs to the user — could I like a post on every site powered by WP.com except yours? That would be confusing.

      1. When I click the ‘Like’ link in the grey admin bar at the top, it places a ‘like’ in the post that it’s above. When the wordpress.com blogger has disenabled the ‘like’ button in their post, the ‘Like’ link in the grey bar doesn’t appear. Or at least, that’s been my experience of it.

        The reblog feature… is that the ‘quickpress post’? If something else, then I don’t see it at all in my grey admin bar.

        1. Hi again,
          I was told we cannot disable the “like” button or the “reblog” button on the top gray navigation bar. Matt Mullenweg confirms that and he owns the show so he ought to know, you know? lol :D On any blog with the visibilty set to “public” there will be a like and a reblog button that can only be used by logged -in wordpress.com members. The “reblog” button does not appear until after you click the “like” button then it’s in a drop-down. But of course the”like” button and the “reblog” button do not appear on any blogs with visibility set to “private”.

          So how did you disable it? We can disable the “like button” appearing below our posts by doing this > http://en.support.wordpress.com/likes/ Is that what you mean or has something slipped by me?

  6. Hello timethief, I like and use “The Press This” button on my blog and use CC on my websites because I believe in sharing culture.

    Yet, what you’re talking about is rather different.

    A good of escaping all these EcoFoodPress stuff, from my own experience, is to write in Esperanto, so that you draw a large audience but no notice from xxxPress. Writing in French is safe too but the audience is small.

    Another safe way is to write on non conventional subjects like shale gas or the latest GayPride, or libre software and Richard Stallman, or free culture (shared culture, see Laurence Lessing).

    Let’s be original and let’s get out of the beaten track, and then we’re safe from those scavengers :-)

    More seriously, I think WPcom is only ideal when you need to set up a website in a hurry or if you haven’t the time or energy to set up your own website.

  7. I had no idea about these partnerships.

    Yes, I was featured on EcoPressed..for an article that I had blogged over a month ago. One can still find me under “Featured Bloggers”.

    That’s why initially I couldn’t figure why on a particular day my statistics went up a tiny bit.

    I am not sure if I got new readers that like to check up on content thereafter.

    1. Hi Jean,
      All of these pop-up press sites state this:
      from Freshly Pressed > “Getting promoted to Freshly Pressed is a major traffic win because WordPress.com receives a high volume of page views. And, we have a feed set up so people can subscribe to Freshly Pressed. Why do we do all this? It’s our way of saying we like you. We really like you.”

      From FoodPress > “FoodPress is a lot like Freshly Pressed, only yummier. And getting featured on FoodPress can be a great traffic driver. And who doesn’t want that?”

      from Ecopressed > “Getting featured on EcoPressed can be a great traffic driver. And who doesn’t want that?”

      fom PopPressed > “PopPressed is a lot like EcoPressed and FoodPress in format with focuses on style, sustainability, arts, and, of course, culture. Getting featured on PopPressed can be a great traffic driver, and who doesn’t want that?”

      So I guess they delivered some traffic to your site to demonstrate how much they really like you. :)

  8. I have dim hopes of ever being featured on Freshly Pressed. I wasn’t even aware that FP has only been around since last April, which is around the time I started blogging. I know it is humanly possible though b/c I have at least 3 blogging pals that have done it.
    Can’t one turn off the reblog and like buttons? I wouldn’t want to turn mine off, the more the merrier.
    What I really wish they’d bring back is the add to blogroll button and the site previews they used to have.

    1. @Lisa,
      Being featured on Freshly Pressed or any of the pop-up press sites amounts to tsunami of one hit wonders who create a high bounce rate and skew your stats – like I need that? Like — you need that? New bloggers don’t even know what a bounce rate is. They are focused on”getting their blog out there” and that’s it because they lack a deeper knowledge of blogging.

      Check out this thread in the forum where new bloggers are so impressed with the one day traffic flood (high bounce rate) their blog experienced that they want to wordpress.com create a badge to commemorate the event. http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/freshly-pressed-badge?replies=15#post-572207

      Can you hear me laughing out loud (in a kind way, of course)? We all blog for validation here but it takes time to recognize that bragging rights are useless. What every blogger needs to cultivate is regular readers.

      AHEM … No we cannot opt out of the “like” and “reblog” buttons being displayed on our public blogs. Staff made it clear the only way to opt out was to make our blog “private”. See here > http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/06/02/thumbs-down-on-wordpress-reblogging/ If you click-through to the forum threads you will see what the universal response from the Volunteers and other members was — Do not want! Do not need! And you will see the smack down.

      P.S. I don’t even recall the features you miss and I’ve been here nearly 5 years now. I guess I never used them.

  9. May be it comes to the “bottom line” of revenue generation, and a great way is to start by driving towards monopoly in the market.. Just my two cents..
    Never been on FP, and don’t think I can handle it.. I enjoy my 10 visitors a day, mostly anonymous ones :)

    1. Hi Heart,
      As Google owns Blogger so I sincerely doubt that wordpress.com is aiming to be a monopoly. If anything wp.com is attempting to gain a greater share of the bloggers. I could handle the traffic but the point is that very little if any of that traffic at all will “stick”. Those that flow through may click the pop-up site advertising on my posts and that’s a benefit to the pop-up presses sites but it does zero for my blog in terms of community building. At the end of the day I would have skewed stats reflecting a high bounce rate. I suppose I could jump up and down and brag about the numbers if I were not aware of what a bounce rate was — but I am. :(

      1. Of course, Blogger is a great contender.. ! I know what you mean by the consistency in traffic, a few stable solid readers is a great treasure than a one day spike in stats.. ;)

        1. Agreed — faithful readers are where it’s at for me. Number spikes are a short-lived high followed by a down-slide.

          P.S. Your blog is looking lovely. :)

        2. Titi, thanks for the footage and for your feedback!! I was just shopping for themes tonight.. ! Not anymore for a while I guess ;)

  10. Very interesting– thanks, TT.

    So a full-fledged conspiracy theory might be that WP’s new partnerships were struck with a view to boosting WP revenue two ways: 1) by prompting bloggers to buy an Ads-Off upgrade, and 2) thru ads run on the partner sites (e.g., PopPressed), none of which are creating new content– they’re just redistributing the content of certain WP niche bloggers.

    Hmm…

    1. @Mark
      What can I say? These are my conclusions. :)

      (1) Our content redistribution belongs to wordpress via the ToS.
      (2) The partnership with wp ensures the pop-up press partner sites have endless supply of content without creating any. And wordpress.com runs ads on the global tag pages.
      (3) The pop-up press partner sites advertise on our blogs and gain income.
      (4) The pop-up press partner sites gain income from sponsors and advertisers on ther own sites.
      (5) We bloggers may have a post featured and get some traffic resulting in a bounce rate.

  11. Until I read this, I assumed that FoodPress was an in-house operation of Word Press, for the purpose of increasing exposure of WP blogs. Now it seems that the whole idea of this may be to increase WP revenue, by greater advertisement exposure. If this does increase WP revenue, without my getting a cut, I can’t complain, as I have a free blog with neat features and great staff support. There really is no free lunch, so if this is how WP covers expenses, it’s OK with me.

    I have been featured on FoodPress, but the increase in traffic was minimal and temporary.

    Kathleen

    1. Hello there,
      Yes, we do have free hosted blogs and they do come with advertising. WordPress.com is growing and now with about 65 employees. The Google Adsense ads and Skimlinks ads that came with the territory of being free hosted after 2006 when advertising was introduced are not the only ones that are being displayed on our blogs. Now although there has been no official announcement, ads for the various pop-up press partnership sites are included too. So it appears that part of the WordPress.com montetization scheme is the pop-up press site partnerships. The pop-up press sites advertise on our blogs and gain some income from that. They may also have sponored ads on the sites themselves. A small number of blogs with specific types of content may be featured on their sites. So it’s these partnerships that are what’s new at WordPress.com. IMO this may motivate some bloggers to purchase an annually renewable Ads-Off upgrade. What do you think?

  12. Very interesting post Timethief. Thank you! I remember being surprised the first time I saw one of my posts featured in relation to a tag on some page somewhere on WordPress and the fact they don’t tell you they are doing it puzzled me a little.

    Do other blog platforms do the same thing with content? WordPress is the only one I am familiar with, so have nothing to compare it with. Thanks for bringing this topic up I will be interested to see where it goes. best always, Joanna

    1. Hi Joana,
      I have no idea what happens on other blogging platforms. I’m asking questions about what’s going on here because I know some bloggers who have had posts featured. The niches are high traffic ones and selected from a marketing viewpoint. I asssume the data from the global tag page entries is a resource as they are vast and content rich. WordPress.com has the legal right to redistribute our content. What that means in the partnership context, and what it means to those who do have featured posts is the untold story. So I do agree that it will be interesting to see what’s next. … PhotoPress or FamilyPress or PetsPress — who knows? … lol :D

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