Matt Mullenweg announced a new plugin for self hosted WordPress sites today by asking a simple question:

No one really gets the distinction between the two things called WordPress at first, the dot-com and the dot-org.

On dot-com in just a few clicks you’re set up on a web-scale centralized platform that constantly gets new upgrades and features. And you never have to worry about it because it’s completely hassle-free and completely supported by our happiness team.

On dot-org you sign up and host your blog with a hosting company and you get complete control over every aspect of your plugins and code, but you also have the responsibility of maintaining it and adding anything new you want to try.

What if you could have the best of both worlds?

With the release of Jetpack the folks at Automattic are now providing features for your self hosted WordPress website that were previously only available to users of

This initial release of the Jetpack plugin contains 8 features for your self hosted blog:

  • Stats – Simple, concise site stats with no additional load on your server.
  • Twitter Widget – Display the latest updates from a Twitter user inside your theme’s widgets.
  • Gravatar Hovercards – Show a pop-up business card of your users’ Gravatar profiles in comments.
  • Shortlinks – Enable shortlinks for all of your Posts and Pages for easier sharing.
  • Sharedaddy – The most super duper sharing tool on the interwebs. Share content with Facebook, Twitter, and many more.
  • LaTeX – Mark up your posts with the LaTeX markup language, perfect for complex mathematical equations and other über-geekery.
  • After the Deadline – After the Deadline helps you write better by adding spell, style, and grammar checking to WordPress.
  • Shortcode Embeds – Easily embed videos and more from sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and SlideShare.

Plus if you take a look at the Jetpack website there are more features coming as they have several place holders showing the phrase Coming Soon although there are no names associated with them yet.  So from that, we do not know what other features are coming to Jetpack, but they are coming.

The FAQ also indicates that although the Jetpack plugin will always be free, as will elements/features that are part of the plugin itself, there maybe features added down the road that will have a fee associated with them.  There is no indication of what that cost may be but the model makes some sense – provide some of the features for free and then bring in other features and charge a fee for them. 

A lot of WordPress plugin developers are already making money from their plugins by providing an enhanced Pro version of their free plugin and who can fault them as it takes a lot of work to develop and support these enhancements for the core WordPress setup.

So it does seem a viable way for Automattic to create a revenue stream from offering features as part of a greater plugin and I suspect that the developer model that has been happening already with Pro or enhanced plugins showed them that users are willing to pay for quality features.

I guess we will have to watch this and see how it progresses.

What do you think of the new offering from Automattic?  Do you think this pay model will work?