Liquid Web, a managed hosting service founded in 1997, has acquired iThemes. iThemes recently celebrated its 10th year in business. PostStatus reports that it was an all cash deal and sources confirmed to the Tavern that it was a multi-million dollar acquisition.
iThemes will continue to operate as an independent unit within Liquid Web. Cory Miller will remain as General Manager of iThemes and the company will keep its office and employees in Oklahoma City, OK.
iThemes was founded in 2008 and is part of a group of WordPress focused companies that started around the same time. The group includes WooThemes, Revolution Themes now known as StudioPress, Press75, WPZoom, and others.
WooThemes was acquired by Automattic. StudioPress has branched off into content marketing with CopyBlogger and hosting via StudioPress sites. Press75 was acquired by Westwerk in 2014 and WPZoom continues to operate independently.
iThemes diversified its business a number of times over the years, adding plugins and services to its portfolio. Some of the most notable products include, FlexxTheme, BackupBuddy, Builder, iThemes Sync, and iThemes Security. In 2013, the company branched off into the e-commerce space with Exchange. In 2017, Exchange was acquired by AJ Morris allowing the company to focus on iThemes Sales Accelerator, a new product that works exclusively with WooCommerce.
Considering Liquid Web recently launched its managed WooCommerce hosting, iThemes Sales Accelerator should pair nicely with its services.
This isn’t the first time a large webhosting company has acquired a WordPress business. In the last two years, GoDaddy has acquired three companies with a presence in the WordPress ecosystem.
- April 2013 EIG Acquires MOJO-Themes
- September 2016 GoDaddy Acquires ManageWP
- December 2016 GoDaddy Acquires WP Curve
- March 2017 GoDaddy Acquires Sucuri
After 10 Years, Cory Miller Lets Go
Miller founded iThemes 10 years ago and helped navigate it through the ups and downs that come with running a business. Although Miller no longer owns the company he founded, he’s excited about the next chapter and the opportunities it presents to him and his team.
“One of the keys that has contributed greatly to our success over the last 10 years is being willing to adapt and to innovate and to try new things,” Miller said. “For instance, If we’d kept focusing solely on WordPress themes, which was our primary business for the early years, we wouldn’t be around today.
“As we surveyed the landscape in WordPress, one thing was very obvious to us: hosting is the future. As a bootstrapped company from the beginning, with our DNA as a software company, and seeing where Liquid Web is going, it just made sense for us to join forces.
“We view this is as another chapter in our story of our willingness to adapt and try new things so we can keep doing what we do best — Make People’s Lives Awesome. So we’re tremendously excited about our future with Liquid Web, and what we’re going to be able to do for the WordPress community together.”
Miller says they’re in the middle of the transition process and are working towards tighter integration between iThemes’ products and Liquid Web’s managed hosting services.
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Easy Updates Manager disables core, theme, and plugin updates in WordPress and provides granular control over them. It was created in 2015, is actively installed on more than 100K sites, and is maintained by Matthew Sparrow, Ronald Huereca, Roary Tubbs, and BigWing Interactive.
Burnout was a contributing factor for selling the plugin. “Matthew Sparrow and I were both burnt out on the project, so the offer to sell was a no-brainer,” Huereca said. “It’s bittersweet letting our baby go, but it’s in good hands.”
Without proper vetting, selling established plugins to individuals or companies can be harmful to sites and tarnish its reputation. Because UpdraftPlus is a well established company, Huereca didn’t have to do a lot of research.
“We were looking for more backend plugins that we understand and it’s a great plugin, highly rated and growing,” A company representative said. “Updates and backups go hand-in-hand as people should really backup before updating.”
UpdraftPlus will focus its marketing efforts towards UpdraftCentral later this year. UpdraftCentral provides the ability for users to update, backup, and manage their sites from one dashboard. Easy Updates Manager and UpdraftCentral are complimentary products.
Users can expect to see more updates later this year and continued refinement of the user interface.
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In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Heather Burns, Founder of WebDevLaw. We have a lengthy discussion about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), what it is, what’s at stake, and its potential impacts on the WordPress ecosystem. We also discuss the cultural differences between the North American and European views on user privacy.
When asked what she hopes to see as we approach May of 2018, Burns replied:
“I want to see all hands on deck making WordPress a force for good, that people can trust, and that people can be empowered to change for the better. Don’t let the fact that it involves law put you off. GDPR is a toolkit for empowerment, it’s a means for protecting and safeguarding your users in these quite scary times we’re living in. And it will make you a better developer and site administrator in the end.”
Picks of the Week:
Frontenberg by Tom J. Nowell is a new site that displays Gutenberg to the frontend of WordPress. It allows visitors to tinker with Gutenberg without having to login to a site or install a plugin.
Next Episode: Wednesday, December 27th 18th 3:00 P.M. Eastern
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Listen To Episode #298:
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"We’ve been working toward growing our customer base and learning about new business models in the WordPress support space for quite some time, and the WP Radius acquisition allows us to accomplish both of those goals," he said.
The move increases WP Site Care's customer base by 20% and will allow it to experiment with an unlimited jobs model, something that set WP Radius apart.
"We’ve been very interested in the unlimited jobs model and what that really means from an operations standpoint for quite some time, and whether or not it’s actually better for customers, so this move will allow us to learn a lot more about how that all plays out in the real world," Sullivan said.
WP Radius will continue to operate as a separate entity and will eventually be consolidated into the WP Site Care brand.
WP Radius was founded in 2015 by Todd Schwartzfarb and Brandon Yanofsky. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.