WordPress is the world’s largest content management and publishing software. It is great for content management but lacks integrated content monetisation. This works for the core CMS software.

WordPress.com is a publishing platform that packages the best of WordPress ecosystem as an integrated offering. Lack of content monetisation is a big feature gap for the world’s largest independent publishing platform.

I suggest we close this gap. Here’s some suggestions:

  • Integrate a strong suite of monetisation features directly into Jetpack (Why Jetpack)

    • Payment processing
    • Integrated paywall
    • Content subscriptions
    • One-time payments
    • Integrated eCommerce stores
  • Make the monetisation options available to all users, including free plans.

    • Use progressive fee pricing to align Automattic earnings to Publisher revenues.
      (I will cover the details of the progressive fee structure for transactions in the next note)
  • Make ‘Earning’ a top level menu item in the WordPress.com publisher interface.

Top level Earn menu

1. Top level ‘Earn’ menu


  • Make ‘Earn’ a top level menu item within the side bar for all WordPress.com users
  • Showcase all integrated earning options as direct sub-items:
    1. eCommerce store
    2. Content subscriptions with paywall (Stratechery model)
    3. Gifts & donations (Guardian/Patreon model)


  • Invite publishers to integrate earning features by making them visible at the top level.
  • High-visibility of monetisation features also communicates the importance of these integrations to internal product team. This helps us invest in making them successful.

2. Integrated click-and-use Paywalls


  • Provide built-in paywall functionality to allow publishers to manage content access
  • Develop paywall functionality within Jetpack so it is available to all self-hosted and WordPress.com websites
  • Provide an API for pay-wall integration with third-party payment and identity providers


  • Make it easy for publishers to manage content access from a single interface
  • Use the power of defaults to get more publishers to integrate content monetisation through WordPress.com/Jetpack

Next steps

Provide advanced content control features for additional fees. For instance:

‘Read X free items per month’ controls on content (The Economist model)

  • Publishers can control which X items are available free for unsigned-in users
  • Signed-in readers on publisher website (and in Reader) can read any X posts before paying

3. Integrated payment processing


  • Partner with payment providers to provide integrated payments processing for publishers
    • Periodic subscriptions, for content or donations
    • One-time payments, for content, donations or purchases
  • Integrate into Jetpack to bring it to all self-hosted websites, WordPress.com websites, and WooHoo.com stores
  • Transparently integrate with monetisation features within Jetpack—eCommerce, paywall, subscriptions and donations
  • Provide an API for integration into other identity or fulfilment providers

Ideally pick a payment provider that provides best seller-friendly features and reach (geography, accepted payment options), rather than one that provides Automattic good rates.
Rates can be renegotiated once the initiative succeeds, reputation is harder to rebuild.

All opinion notes:

  1. We need to do something about the WordPress.com Reader
  2. Jetpack: the Automattic experience for WordPress
  3. WooHoo.com—a hosted, tightly-integrated version of WooCommerce
  4. Woo Two — More ideas for WooCommerce
  5. Earn with WordPress
  6. Pricing—more and less
  7. TBC: A publishing platform for today’s content formats