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What the Heck Happened to WPCandy?

WP Candy was an incredible source of inspiration for what we’re doing here at WP Daily – in fact, all of the staff here have the pleasure of watching the property grow into a positive force of information, community, and all-around fun.

But if you’ve been around for some time now you’ve seen what appears now to the be rise and fall of such a great site with the last post now dating back more than a month ago. With recent conversation surrounding editorial burnout, Bermuda Triangles, and business models, there’s a lot of healthy reasoning of why an editorial news site can and may fail.

I put my two cents into the ring via the comments (which you should definitely read) as well as explained my position in the beginning of this past weekend’s roundup and why we even began entertaining such an idea as WP Daily. As positive as I am about our beginning (which has been very positive) the fact remains that it will eventually have to return a dollar so that we can keep the lights on.

Thankfully we haven’t bet the farm (or any farm for that matter) on this being the lifeblood of a staff’s livelihood. But it would be really neat to hear what became of WPCandy and why it ultimately has stopped posting.

Sure, there’s moments where you need to take a break and there are moments where life gets in the way or new adventures appear, but there’s been very little notice except this cryptic tweet the other day about “evolution”:

I’d love to know how it’s going to evolve! I remember when it was first purchased by Ryan Imel a few years back and we all had high hopes. It grew like a weed and tons of people contributed amazing content to it.

flippa-sale

And it’s not that I don’t completely understand – I mean, from what I gather Ryan’s been involved in some big things as of late, like launching a new brick-and-mortar coworking spots, Founders.

After watching my father-in-law launch 3 or 4 odd brick-and-mortars I know how difficult and how time consuming that really is. It’s not even in the same universe as launching an online-based business!

founders

And what about WPCandy Quarterly? It’s one thing to abandon a blog since Ryan doesn’t really owe anyone an explanation for abandonment, but this changes a tad when you involved ecommerce and a financial transaction:

Order an issue and it will be sent your way within 24 hours. Or, subscribe for a year to receive the next four issues of the Quarterly before anyone else can order it.

I interpreted this to mean that I’d get a total of four issues within the next 12 calendar months after purchase. Technically I suppose he could launch the next 3 sometime before I die and the deal would be honored, but most people won’t see it that way, right?

wpcandy-quarterly

I bought it. I was excited!

I’m not going to ask Ryan for my money back as I did enjoy the first release, but I would like an explanation. We were promised one a week or so ago but I never got any word:

Did anyone get any more info? I’d love to know. Finally, what about Pressed Ads, the advertising network that was powering a lot of WP Candy’s monetary strategy as well as being a network for independent publishers?

The domain is now completely broken:

pressedads

It was a beautiful site at one point:

pressed-ads

But even that site seemed to quickly die out. To be completely transparent, I signed up for the service and even made a few dollars from it but I’m still waiting for the a few months of back-payment which still haven’t shown up (I’m not in desperate pain though, so I’m not complaining.). But, I can’t imagine that I’m the only one still waiting for business to be cleared.

I got this email from Ryan in late November of last year:

Hello John,

I hope this finds you well. I’m writing to inform you that for now, Pressed Ads will be scaled back to allow for some restructuring. The system Pressed Ads was built upon was far from ideal, and has proven unable to grow with the network. I apologize for the inconvenience, and for not getting word out sooner about the change.

All unpaid revenue shares will be paid out as soon as possible. Please allow up to 60 days for the remaining payments to be sent; I appreciate your patience while we get the outstanding payments taken care of.

Thank you for trying out Pressed Ads during its first iteration. It didn’t quite scale as well as I hoped it would — due to my own failures, as well as scaling issues. I’m just sorry it didn’t work out this time, but hopefully we’ll still be able to work together in various ways in the future.

Thanks John,

Ryan Imel

Editor, WPCandy.com

@wpcandy

pressed ads

Perhaps they are still restructuring and it’s great to see Ryan acknowledge that the struggles of running a business are legit and very, very real. The 60 day window ends in a few days so perhaps I just have a wait a few days more.

To be sure, this isn’t a witch hunt by any stretch of the imagination but I’m genuinely curious as to what the hell happened to such a glorious start. With Quarterly, the blog, the great editorial and interviews, and an advertising network, it seemed to have it all. Where did it go wrong and where will it go from here?

Ryan, much of this community is anxiously waiting with bated breath to hear from you. We support you 100%.

***EDIT***

Just to give some more credence to my voice of support for Ryan and WPCandy, I wanted to provide additional proof that myself and our staff here at WP Daily has been supporters for a while, even participating in the monthly giving program:

support-wpcandy

support-wp-candy

There’s no reason why WPCandy can’t rise from the ashes to be amazing once again.

  • http://mattreport.com matt

    I think one take away for folks like you and I is — do “WordPress people” want to consume content about the platform, industry, and news.

    Did that publication die out because of the lack of effort, editorial burn out, or were they not seeing the hockey stick growth? (All efforts being equal of course.)

    Does the “average” WordPress user want to seek out this kind of media to consume? We shall see.

    Shame to see one of a few resources fizzle out like that.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      I think you’re right – a niche and strategic focus is always a great place to start and perhaps not hitting those targets ended up being a factor. Our goal here isn’t to cater to the “WordPress Pro” who’s been doing WordPress for years… it’s all about our mission which is to get more people to love WordPress and use it.

      All the other guys out there already know what’s generally going on so they won’t need it.

  • http://www.christian-dorr.com Christian D.

    Hey John, just a heads up. Some of the URL’s at the top of the story aren’t referring correctly!

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      FIXED!

  • http://geek.ryanhellyer.net/ Ryan Hellyer

    This is one of the reasons lots of us are getting behind WP Realm now. Big team of people, so no one cog can break it.

    http://wprealm.com/

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      Love this ryan, and yes, we’re subscribed!

  • http://twitter.com/redcrew DeborahEdwards-Onoro (@redcrew)

    I too have been wondering what happened with WPCandy. John, perhaps I missed it in your article; did you reach out to Ryan for an update status?

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      I think many of us have in many different ways. I even had the nerve (I guess…) to ping him on Skype (who wants to be bothered that way?!?). He’s apparently super-busy!

      • http://alexpatin.com Alex

        I have to give you major props for being cool and collected about it. Many others I’m sure are (arguably) angry, but whatever the reason things have come to a hiatus, I’m sure there is a great reason for it.

  • http://twitter.com/dimensionmedia David Bisset

    John forgot another venture of wpcandy – WPCandy Pros. (www.wpcandy.com/pros) There are some paying monthly (in my case $20) to be featured on there. I never got many leads from it, but I was still happy to pay it as giving back to wpcandy. Unfort now i’ll have to stop because that area of the site looks nothing like it did last year – something appears to be amiss or broken.

    I started off a WP related blog of my own, but seriously thinking about guest blogging for other sites. I have some insight into WordCamp organization and i’m also going to be doing a review of Brad William’s “Professional WordPress” book. Looking into which sites might be best for guest bloggers.

    I remember when WP Candy was covering WordCamp Miami back in 2009. if WP Candy needed some help in that regard, I would help out in a heartbeat. I’m sure i’m not the only one.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      This was a convo-piece in our last contributor hangout – it was a great idea from Ryan and too bad it didn’t last. I didn’t subscribe to this though personally.

  • http://twitter.com/dimensionmedia David Bisset
  • http://www.louisvillerealestate.com Scott Hack

    I think the thing that is troubling to a lot of people is just the radio silenced regarding the projects. Perhaps he is having health issues?

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      Scott,

      Yep. That’s all we’ve heard. Perhaps it could be health. I’ve been battling a lot myself recently. I know what that’s like!

  • http://www.liftdevelopment.com Dave Yankowiak

    This appears to be a major case of “too many irons in the fire.” Maybe they’re working on simplifying behind the scenes.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      Dave, your assessment may be right. I’m guilty of this just as much as the next person! It’s tough to only have one love when it comes to blogging!

  • http://wpshout.com Alex Denning

    I also used PressedAds on my site and have heard nothing in about six months from Ryan. I’m owed around $400, which is no small sum for a kid just out of high school. Any updates would be very much appreciated.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      Yikes. I’m out two months or so with a balance a bit higher than yours I believe.

  • http://mikepayne.co Mike Payne

    Don’t forget the WPCandy Quarterly magazine they launched last year. I payed for a full year and only received one issue before they never mentioned it again.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      Yeah. I had mentioned that as well mike.

  • http://jordanriane.me Jordan

    I’m glad that there are a lot of loyal individuals that have been wondering about what’s going on with WPCandy. I followed WPC back in 2007 when Michael launched it. I was pretty surprised to see what Ryan did with WPC once he took it over. It was/is a fantastic resource for everything WordPress related… he really did an amazing job breathing life back into the site after it had been stagnant for so long.

    Hopefully WPC isn’t left to hang. I’ve seen so many awesome ventures rise to the top and just taper off until there’s no one left but spam bots.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      agreed. it would be sad to see it head toward spam.

  • http://cliffseal.com Cliff Seal

    Looks like this may have jarred some activity loose.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      We don’t mind encouraging anyone to jump back to it! ;)

  • http://www.sennza.com.au/ Bronson Quick

    Great post John! I think you said what most of us have been thinking but many of us have probably been too polite/diplomatic to bring it all up.

    Ryan has done some fabulous things for WordPress so massive props to him for that. I think he’s a creative type with loads of ideas and not enough focus. I can relate cause I used to be a bit like that as well so I had to find a business partner to keep me in line, executing and delivering :)

    He has posted twice today so I think you’ve re-inspired him :) Maybe we’ll get the next issue of WP Occasionally…I mean, Quarterly this year.

    Keep up the great work on this site as well. I’m loving having a great source of daily WordPress news :)

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      Bronson,

      I think you’re right. What we’ve shared here is something that TONS of people have been having talks about in their own backchannels.

      And I’m glad we could stoke the fire a bit! I hope he’s got a strategy to continue to post regularly now and jump back on it!

  • http://twitter.com/thewebprincess Dee Teal (@thewebprincess)

    I got into a short twitter conversation about the magazine that ended with a tweet from wpcandy promising an email to subscribers outlining what happend… still waiting for that…

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      Same. Haven’t seen anything yet.

  • Wil

    Regardless of the reasoning behind this situation, this is a classic example of customer service failure. What makes it even harder to take is the financial transactions involved.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      were you involved in a few?

      • Wil

        Only one – the WPCandy Quarterly – but being my first transaction with WPCandy, this now leaves a bitter taste, so to speak. I’ve noticed others that have potentially lost a lot more financially.

        Really, all it would take is some transparency and openness about the situation – hiding isn’t going to get you anywhere.

  • http://imdev.in Devin Walker

    The site looks all messed up also… what happened there? The sidebar is blank on the homepage and the layout for WP Pros is all jacked: http://wpcandy.com/pros/

    I used to always go to WPcandy… then when the WP LateNight ended I thought something may be going on.

    Someone made a good point about whether there really is a market for this type of content. Do WordPress people want to read about their platform? I believe yes, but maybe the growth expectation wasn’t there? I’d like to hear more.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      I can’t comment on whether people want it or not but I can tell you that our core mission here at WP Daily as an editorial blog is quite simple:

      We believe that WordPress is taking over the world and we’ve got front-row seats. Join us – the view is pretty.

      This is via our footer – we believe that the more people know about WordPress the better for the overall community. We report on the happenings around WordPress and help to expand that global presence.

      Check out our http://torquemag.io/manifesto/ too.

  • promovareseo

    This is one of the reasons lots of us are getting behind WP Realm now. Big team of people, so no one cog can break it. rca ieftin craiova

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