Owner of blogging giant WordPress buys PollDaddy

16 Oct 2008

A hot young tech firm from Sligo on Ireland’s west coast, which allows websites to perform polls, has been snapped up by Automattic, the parent company of one of the blogosphere’s key enablers, WordPress.

WordPress is an open source blog publishing tool beloved by the majority of the world’s bloggers and competes primarily with Google’s Blogger service. It is used by more than four million bloggers worldwide.

It first appeared in 2003 as a joint project of creators Mark Mullenweg and Mike Little.

It is understood that Automattic is not disclosing how much it has paid for PollDaddy.com. The strategic rationale behind the deal is clear – the ability to provide high-performance polls is an extra tool in the blogger’s armoury in terms of content.

PollDaddy.com provides a web poll service to individuals and to businesses. Over 350,000 people worldwide use the company’s software. “Around 96pc of our users would be using free accounts,” said David Lenehan, CEO of PollDaddy.com.

The company’s client list is a veritable who’s who in the media and technology space, including RTÉ, Fox News, Wired Magazine and PC World.

Speaking to siliconrepublic.com back in April, the Sligo company’s CEO, David Lenehan, discussed the company’s monetisation strategy at the time.

“Our professional accounts with SMEs and big business take in enough money to keep us moving. In the long term, we intend to keep it going as a free service for individuals. We’re looking at new ways to bring in revenue, but want a different route than using advertising, which is too obvious.”

Lenehan’s approach is synonymous with the DIY ethic driving many new software start-ups. “We don’t have any salespeople. We just built an application people wanted and they came to us in their droves,” he said at the time.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years