Automattic, the company behind popular blogging service WordPress.com as well as the open source blogging software WordPress has recently been granted an ICANN registrar accreditation. This means that Automattic can now begin selling domain names directly to WordPress.com users.
Since WordPress.com blogs don’t have their own custom domain names, domain mapping has been one of the most popular WordPress.com upgrades. In the past, Automattic has partnered with GoDaddy for providing custom domain names for its users.
Here’s Matt Mullenweg’s announcement posted on his personal blog:
As some folks have noticed already, Automattic is now a “real” domain registrar (ID #1531). This has been a goal of mine for several years now, chiefly because I am a bit of a domain collector myself and I’ve never been completely satisfied with the domain buying or management experience on any of the usual players. Second, custom domains are a popular feature on WordPress.com and should become even more popular with some changes we’re introducing this month and it’ll be good to be able to provide a fully integrated experience for our users there. It’ll be a few months while we build all the tools necessary to begin taking advantage of our registrar status so in the meantime we’ll continue to use Godaddy, who has been an excellent partner.
This new development makes sense if you look at what Automattic has done in the past few years – acquiring several companies/Web services like Gravatar, BuddyPress, IntenseDebate, PollDaddy, Blo.gs and After the Deadline. All of these acquisitions were made to improve and add more features/options primarily to WordPress.com blogs and at the same time for self-hosted WordPress blogs.
Now that Automattic can sell domain names, the process of acquiring a custom domain for a WordPress.com blog now becomes fully integrated into the service and not via a third-party company like GoDaddy making it easier, smoother and probably even cheaper.