The Month in WordPress — July 2015 Edition

Last Updated on March 31, 2023 by 6 Comments

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The Month in WordPress — July 2015 Edition
Blog / Editorial / The Month in WordPress — July 2015 Edition

Yup — that’s right. Another month has come to a close.

As I’m writing this, I’m enjoying the sunshine and a bit of summer fun here on the West Coast of U.S.A. (Yay, summer!)

This month (as usual) has been another great month for Elegant Themes and WordPress enthusiasts alike. And just when I thought the world of WordPress couldn’t be any more intriguing, intricate and slightly elusive, July went and proved me wrong.

This month has presented the WP community with a lot to talk about, and we’re going to dive right into it.

This Month in WordPress

Automattic-ally Surprising

Automattic vs Chris Pearson

Automattic vs Chris Pearson: An interesting story

If you’ve been following along in the WordPress news throughout the month, then the unfolding story of Automattic buying the domain is probably nothing new to you. In case you’ve missed that little tidbit from this month, here is the lowdown.

In 2014, Automattic made the move to buy the domain from a third-party for the price of $100,000.

Previous to this purchase, the third-party had been in negotiations with another prospective buyer — Chris Pearson.

When news came to light that Automattic purchased the domain name and were using it as a forwarding domain to another website, Chris filed a cease and desist order on Automattic.

Now, on the surface, this may seem quite confusing, so let’s color in the gray areas.

Chris Pearson is the owner of DIYthemes which homes the rather popular Thesis Theme. The Thesis Theme was one of the first big themes to hit the WordPress market, and as a pioneer in the WordPress community, Chris is known by more than a few.

Chris never registered the Thesis domain, however, he had in fact registered Thesis as a trademark.

With the purchase and usage of the domain by Automattic, Chris’ trademark legally required him to order a cease and desist; and since Chris believed this domain was bought in “bad faith” he wanted the domain transferred back to him.

Though this situation in older than this month, the news of it only gained some spotlight in July.

On July 8, 2015, Chris lost the legal case against Automattic, and since then they have issued a petition to cancel Chris’ trademarks. The situation has caused quite the stir, but most people seem to be taking Chris’ side in the situation.


Because this seemingly insignificant situation isn’t the only time Pearson and Automattic have gone head to head. Back in 2010 Chris and Automattic’s Matt Mullenweg got in a heated debate about the way Thesis was licensed. In that situation, and in Chris’ own words, “got defensive and… was a jerk .”

As a result of his actions, Chris got a lot of backfire from the WP community and lost a lot of respect.

At the time, I was woefully ignorant about software licensing, and I felt as though I was being backed into a corner and asked to accept something I didn’t fully understand. Instead of handling it in a measured, polite manner, I was a jerk.

I made a mistake, and I paid dearly for it. ~ Chris Pearson

Chris openly admitted to being in the wrong, but that encountered seems to have scorched any good graces Matt may have had for Chris.

According to Chris’ article that he published about the situation, following his public argument with Matt, things got a little messy:

…Matt did whatever he could to further damage what was left of my business. His most blatant effort in this regard was making a public offer to buy Thesis customers the premium, GPL-licensed Theme of their choice if they quit using Thesis.

A rather costly argument indeed.

Then flash forward from 2010 to 2014, during a WordCamp event in San Francisco, Matt openly admits to using the domain as a forwarding URL for one of Automattic’s blogs.

The only statement on record as to why Automattic would be interested in purchasing the domain is as follows:

We’re happy the panel ruled in our favor. We think is a cool, generic .com that could be used for a variety of things. Just because you have a small WordPress theme doesn’t mean you have a right to seize generic English word .com domains. ~ Source

Although Automattic spent $100,000 on a “cool, generic .com” domain, many within the WordPress community have strong opinions about an ulterior motive.

As stated earlier, after Chris lost his legal battle, Automattic is now requesting a cancelation of his trademarks.

Although this long dispute has been about the way Chris originally licensed his theme, many feel as though this has been a childish move that puts a black mark on Automattic and the WordPress community as a whole.

As more details come to light, more are sure to add their opinions to the mix.

Has Automattic gone too far this time or are they in the right? If they win this trademark cancelation, what ramifications can be foreseen for others in the WP community?

Feel free to add your comments at the end of the article.

New WP Update Means New Default Setting for Pages

July also saw the WordPress 4.2.3. update.

This update fixed 20 bugs found in the last core update, but what many didn’t know is that now WordPress will have comments turned off by default for all Pages.

This is something many have been waiting to happen for a long time now, so go and do your happy dance ’cause it’s finally come true.

Highlights from the Elegant Themes Blog

  • 3 Stock Video Sites for a Media Hungry World | Engaging media is the difference between content that people stick around for or not. Video, when used correctly, can be a fresh way to engage your audience and give them something new. Check out this post to learn where you can snag a few tips on finding and using stock video.
  • The Essential Plugins for WordPress Business Websites | When you’re building a website for your business, it can be hard to nail down exactly what plugins you’ll need to get your content engine chugging away. Shaun shares the most important plugins you should be using to help point you in the right direction.
  • How to Promote Your Next Event Using WordPress And Event Espresso | Tackling and managing an event is not easy; the pieces never magically fall into place. However, Shaun’s post about Event Espresso can make managing your upcoming event much easier.
  • How to Effectively Market Your Next WordPress Blog Post on Twitter and Facebook | We all know that social media is an important part of online marketing, but very few of us can lay claim to being a tried and true online marketer. If you’re struggling with marketing on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, the check out Tom’s post here on the blog.
  • Is WordPress the Best Platform to Power Your SaaS? | Mmm-mmm — love me some SaaS. (Software as a Service, that is.) When you’re about to launch your product into the wild, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by what platform to choose before you blast off into the digital unknown. Is WordPress the best option for you? Read this post to figure it out.
  • When and How to Sell Ads on Your WordPress Site | There are many ways to monetize a blog. Some do affiliate marketing, other sell their time or their own products, and others sell ad space. In this article, I walk through some pros and cons of selling ads on a site and how to go about doing just that.

Other Great WordPress Related Articles from Around the Web

Articles about SEO, Social Media, and Online Marketing

  • How to Tweak Your Mind to Write Engaging Content Like a Ninja | The Squirrly SEO plugin has become my favorite SEO plugin for WordPress. But the blog by the people behind the plugin is also a goldmine. This article speaks to that.
  • 25 Lessons from 25 Months of Content Marketing | Medium has quickly become a favorite place to easily find and read amazing content. This article by Gregory Clotti on Medium had some really great insights about what he’s learned in the past 2 years as a content marketer.
  • How to Generate Leads Through Content Marketing | Ah, Neil. His stuff just radiates awesomeness. His article here is nothing short of an amazing read that makes everything you think you know about content marketing that much easier to understand.
  • How To Grow Your Blog’s Audience (And Keep It) | Growing your online audience is not as easy as some claim. However, Adam is someone who has created a few online sites that do amazingly well. His tips are some you’ve heard of and some you’ve haven’t, but each one is expanded on so that they’re actionable. Definitely a must read.
  • The Step-by-Step Guide to SlideShare Marketing [Free Ebook] | If you’ve been considering using SlideShare to expand your marketing efforts, then this guide on HubSpot is a great place to start.
  • 5 Link-Building Methods Divulged by SEO Pros | Link-building is one of those things that boggle the minds of many, however, it doesn’t have to. This post by Fernando has some great tips on methods for building links with some helpful information from the pros.
  • 6 Tips on How to Publish on Medium | Even if you’re a die-hard WordPress user, when you’re looking to market yourself, your brand or your business, Medium has many things about it to lure you in. Marketing with Medium can help spread your content further. Want some tips on how to maximize your content there? Check this post out.

Wrapping It Up

Holy frijoles!

This month has been one of the most interesting months of 2015. There were so many great articles and stories that it was hard to capture all of them in this month’s roundup.

So let’s turn it over to you.

What was your best read this month? What other blogs do you love to read? What’s your take on the Automattic vs Pearson situation?

Let thy comments flow-ith!

Article Thumbnail by Author natrot via Shuttershock


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  1. Hey Ariel,

    Awesome roundup! Thanks for mentioning my ecommerce guide 🙂

  2. Last month july was so much exciting for me because I have learnt so many things.But most exciting thing that I got is divi 2.4
    Hope this month August will be a good month for my sites.

  3. The Automattic vs Chris Pearson story was new to me, .. thanks

  4. Nice wrap-up of the whole #WPdrama. But why would you refer to 4.2.3 further down without even mentioning the havoc it caused?

  5. Extremely good round-up ! The Mailchimp and advertising for blogs articles are really helpful for new bloggers.

  6. How much longer for the DIVI plugin?

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