WordPress Dominates As Rival Publishing Platforms Struggle

In July, WordPress saw off a strong potential competitor when the Chorus CMS shut down.

In August, another competitor continues to quickly fade away. The Washington Post laid off more staff from its Arc XP platform:

Last year, the Post declined offers to sell Arc XP, the company’s in house publishing tool and software business, saying it would instead invest $50 million in the business in 2023. But on August 22, the paper told several top marketing staffers, program managers, and product designers at Arc XP that the Post would be eliminating their roles in the coming weeks.

Arc XP is still going. The Post claims $40-50 million in annual revenue and over 100 clients. But this is not a sign of confidence in Arc’s future. The Post lost $100 million last year and needs to save money throughout the business.

In contrast, WordPress continues to show signs of strength.

Newspack just rebranded their site to reflect their growth and also launched a new cross-site management tool. These “Federated” sites can share content, users, and logins.

Other WordPress publishing platforms such as Indiegraf, Paywall Project, Lede, are growing quickly and winning awards.

WordCamp US was in Washington DC last week and there was a lot of government engagement, including from the White House and also NASA who introduced their new WordPress platform. There were also big media companies represented including Penske. It’s becoming common for large media organizations to standardize on WordPress. I’ve written before about Meredith (People, Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart) and Schneps (almost all local newspapers in New York).

Honestly, there’s there’s little bad news in the end of another expensive, proprietary CMS. Pete Ericson from Leaky Paywall, a WordPress publishing platform, says:

Having done many recent migrations from proprietary systems, they are not built with the publishers best interests in mind. For example, these systems will run payment intents from the platform instead of using Stripe subscriptions. These systems cannot compete with how well services like Stripe handle payments.

There are still strong publishing platforms to rival WordPress including Substack, Ghost, Drupal, and more. But there’s lots of consolidation happening in the publishing space, and WordPress is coming out on top in most cases.

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