Wix and WordPress Tensions Rise

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Wix and WordPress have been engaging in a public spat that keeps getting nastier with each response. A new response from Wix seems to lower the temperature on the dispute.

The latest round of open letters between WordPress and Wix was instigated by a series of polarizing video ads created by Wix.

The ads were generally poorly received in the web development and search marketing community. But others found the ads to be humorous.

The biggest complaint seemed to be that the ads were inappropriately negative against WordPress, a popular and beloved open source content management system. Some wished that Wix had taken a higher road with their ads.

Matt Mullenweg Responds

Matt Mullenweg is the developer behind WordPress and the founder of Automattic, a company that creates a variety of popular web and WordPress related offerings.

He begins by reminding readers that Wix were the ones who were accused of “stealing WordPress code and lying about it.”

Matt also founded the WordPress Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports and protects the free WordPress content management system.

The response by Matt was understandably passionate.

In an essay entitled, Wix and Their Dirty Tricks, he set the table by painting Wix as thieves.

He follows up by accusing Wix of trying to gain relevance by attacking the open source WordPress community and expresses empathy for the actors and workers involved who were “forced” to make the Wix attack ads.

That’s just the first two paragraphs.

Matt then lays into Wix’s business model, remarking on how it’s based on trapping clients by making it difficult to escape to a different system, comparing Wix to a trap for vermin.

He wrote:

“They are so insecure that they are also the only website creator I’m aware of that doesn’t allow you to export your content, so they’re like a roach motel where you can check in but never check out. “

Next he paints a picture of Wix as an abusive partner that imprisons their clients in a basement and expresses surprise that consumer protection agencies haven’t yet gone after Wix for their business practices.

The essay ends by accusing Wix of being creepy and misleading in how they are choosing to represent themselves.

Wix Responds

Given how gleefully negative and outrageous the Wix attack ads were, the Wix response from the CEO, Avishai Abrahami, was refreshingly sober and focused on facts.

I asked a friend with 25 years in the search marketing business to read the Wix response and he remarked that he found it “nice and sane.”

The open letter from Wix to WordPress begins by noting the prevalence of anger and “half-truths” in the essay by Matt and asks,

“Why are you so angry?”

The Wix CEO sets his table by painting Matt Mullenweg as angry and not telling the truth, while presenting Wix as fair and sticking to facts

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