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Imagine if Wix invested in open source?
Imagine if Wix gained on WordPress?
Imagine if Wix conquered our beloved CMS?

Imagine if Wix focused on one area in WordPress: Data Liberation.

I don’t think the closed-source CMS will supplant tens of thousands of WordPress professionals 1-click installing WordPress for their clients any time soon, even with their aggressive marketing tactics. With a whole section devoted to their open source initiative documented at wix.engineering, including a behind the scenes look at how they scale their platform for 100’s of thousands of users, it’s obvious they know the importance of connecting with developers.

So why not call the bluff?

Matt Mullenweg just mentioned in his summer update at WordCamp Europe that the Data Liberation initiative isn’t moving as fast as he’d hoped. He wants to unlock customer website content (and other data) proprietary CMS’s like Wix hold hostage from their users, if they decide to migrate away.

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What an amazing opportunity for Wix (and others) to take part in for the greater good of WordPress, open source, and all users of the web!

I agree with one of Kevin Geary’s points: I don’t believe there’s a master plan coming from the sidelines at Wix. They are a product and profit first company, their core product isn’t open source. Automattic on the other hand, “started” with an open source product and now it’s trying to build the profit first part of their business. More of that in my last post, What Would We Do with the Keys to the Kingdom?

Open source winning doesn’t mean that WordPress wins at every front. It shouldn’t. It can’t, really.

We’ve lost the plot if we think that our goal is to build a defense against these other CMS platforms. Instead of devising a timeline where WordPress must win at all costs, we should be advocating and demonstrating the WordPress way to these commercial entities. Look, I don’t think it’s an easy task, but if anyone from Wix is listening — spending a few $100k in engineering time to create a plugin that sync’s data to/from a WordPress install is probably money well spent — much more than sponsoring a YouTuber.

In the end, users win, which is the ultimate goal. The optimist in me hopes that the more proprietary brands sees the value in this type of portability, the more they might be enticed to go deeper investing in other parts of open source.

Heck, imagine if you could install the Gravity Forms plugin on your WordPress site AND a Wix site — what a world that would be.

But I’m not foolish, I know that these are epic challenges and largely not part of mainstream software’s agenda, or Automattic’s for that matter. I also know that the idea of wanting other platforms to look more attractive for developers means that WordPress could certainly look less appealing through the same lens.

There’s a model here that we’ve halfway unearthed. It’s worked for 21 years. Instead of the goal to have WordPress installed everywhere, maybe it’s the impression of our community that should be spread first. Do we need to be more than 50% of the web? Can Wix and others have their share so long as they become good stewards of open source?

My fear isn’t that other platforms will conquer WordPress, but that open source WordPress in collaboration with Automattic can’t move fast enough to find its footing. Loose terrain not just built on the rough edges of UI & UX decisions, but the lack of deep bonds threaded throughout the community. The stuff that gets challenged every day.

More transparency from leadership, Automattic truly investing in partnership with us, and community members treating everyone with respect and integrity — across the board.

Finally, a problem AI can’t solve, WordPress thriving because of humans.

In the battle for a dominate CMS, it’s hard to pick a winner or a loser, because the real fight should be for more choice, everywhere.

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