GoDaddy has acquired CoBlocks, ThemeBeans, Block Gallery and Block Unit Tests, one of the leading Gutenberg product lines in the WordPress ecosystem. Founder Rich Tabor is joining GoDaddy as Senior Product Manager of WordPress Experience and will lead a team dedicated to understanding users’ needs and expanding the company’s Gutenberg-related products. Tabor’s fellow CoBlocks founders Jeffrey Carandang and Alex Denning will not be joining GoDaddy.
All the commercial themes in the ThemeBeans catalog are now available for free on GitHub. Current customers will continue to receive theme support and remote updates until April 8, 2020.
According to Aaron Campbell, GoDaddy’s head of WordPress Ecosystem & Community, CoBlocks will continue to be freely available on WordPress.org. It currently has more than 3,000 active installations and averages a 4.7-star rating.
“Nothing will change with the plugin except that it will be added to the GoDaddy account on .org,” Campbell said. “It’s possible it might be renamed or rebranded in the future, but that’s unknown either way at this point. And yes, it will still be on the WordPress.org directory for everyone not just GoDaddy customers (and we plan to add more to it as we develop new blocks).”
Campbell could not yet share a roadmap for the plugin as Tabor just started and will be heavily involved in determining the plugin’s future at GoDaddy. Tabor will also be leading a development team that is brining on more React talent to assist with Gutenberg tasks.
“Hiring React devs that are capable with Gutenberg is a newer thing that we’re really not totally sure whether it’ll be difficult or not or even how it’ll look,” Campbell said. “Do you hire WordPress people? React people Only those that do both? Do you hire both and pair them up to learn from each other? It’s a thing we’re learning in this new post-Gutenberg world.”
Tabor said he was surprised that his products had attracted GoDaddy’s interest but also found it to be validating of his own efforts and the potential of the block editor.
“Throughout my time building themes, and then blocks, I’ve learned the real value of getting eyes on a project: Not only do you get the community rallying behind your ideas, such as the Block Manager recently added in Gutenberg 5.3, but you receive a TON of feedback and inspiration,” Tabor said. “Building on that feedback, consistently delivering clever ideas, and executing on the marketing front with inspiring videos, has landed us in a very opportune position.”
GoDaddy has acquired a handful of WordPress companies and services during the past few years (ManageWP, Sucuri, WP Curve), but Tabor’s products are the first Gutenberg-related acquisition for the company.
“I think it means that the WordPress ecosystem is important, that it’s maturing, and probably most of all – that it’s moving and changing,” Tabor said. “And I think all of those are good.
“Gutenberg has changed a lot in WordPress. It’s not just a new editor or new interface, it’s a whole new system that brings with it a whole new group of challenges. Companies like GoDaddy recognizing this and supporting innovation is a healthy sign of growth and maturity.”
GoDaddy’s resources will enable CoBlocks, ThemeBeans, and Block Gallery to move faster and add features that were previously out of reach for Tabor’s small team.
“We’ll go from just two developers, to a team of incredibly bright engineers,” Tabor said. “And I won’t be spending time figuring out all the intricacies of monetizing a premium plugin in today’s ever-changing WordPress ecosystem. Instead, I can focus on leading the team’s efforts on bringing a better page building experience to WordPress.”
He will also have access to insights and data that will enable his team to make more informed decisions about the tools and blocks they build.
“This view into how entrepreneurs and business owners are using WordPress is something I could never have achieved at a meaningful scale, and I know it will help me move more confidently in the future landscape of Gutenberg,” Tabor said.