WordPress.com is finally giving its bloggers the opportunity to earn a little revenue from their well-crafted words, and taking a jab at Google simultaneously.

Introducing WordAds, a Side of Bitterness

The WordPress.com blog has revealed a new feature of WordPress.com -- WordAds. WordAds will allow bloggers to monetize their blogs with advertising, something that has long been requested by WordPress.com users. WordPress.com is partnering with Federated Media to provide the functionality.

The announcement is big news. Tens of thousands of WordPress.com blogs are created daily. (Yes, most of them are abandoned by week two, but let’s put that aside for now.) Many of these writers eventually have large followings, but no simple option for capitalizing on the value of their content. However, the marketing value of adding a new, widely requested feature was not enough for the WordPress.com team. They “took it up a notch” and attacked Google AdSense. The WordPress.com announcement didn’t waste time on pesky details like features or a product description. Instead, it shifted between user flattery like,

As a WordPress user you’re breathing rarefied air on the internet: the Creators, the Independents. Creative minds aren’t satisfied being digital sharecroppers on someone else’s domain, and you want to carve out your own piece of the internet and have a space that you’re proud of because it’s so… you.”

and competitor jabs that would make TMZ or Larry Ellison proud such as:

We’ve resisted advertising so far because most of it we had seen wasn’t terribly tasteful, and it seemed like Google’s AdSense was the state-of-the-art, which was sad. You pour a lot of time and effort into your blog and you deserve better than AdSense.”

I sincerely hope this is not the future of technical product releases.

Getting Into the Program

WordPress.com is accepting applications now. Completing the application does not enroll users in the program. It just signals interest. In another nod to celebrity culture, the program doesn’t just let any old blogger participate. It’s exclusive. According to WordPress.com, the selection process will be based on level of traffic, content and language used on the blog. Additionally, the blog must be public and have a custom domain, which costs US$ 17 per year.

There is a lot of chatter on Twitter about the announcement. Predictably, more is about the “beef” between WordPress.com and Google than the actual product, but all press is good press, right?