Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Wix Is Running a Bizarre Ad Campaign Mocking WordPress

Matt Mullenweg:

Wix, the website builder company you may remember from stealing WordPress code and lying about it, has now decided the best way to gain relevance is attacking the open source WordPress community in a bizarre set of ads. They can’t even come up with original concepts for attack ads, and have tried to rip-off of Apple’s Mac vs PC ads, but tastelessly personify the WordPress community as an absent, drunken father in a therapy session. 🤔

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Wix is a for-profit company with a valuation that peaked at around 20 billion dollars, and whose business model is getting customers to pay more and more every year and making it difficult to leave or get a refund. (Don’t take my word for it, look at their investor presentations.) They are so insecure that they are also the only website creator I’m aware of that doesn’t allow you to export your content, so they’re like a roach motel where you can check in but never check out. Once you buy into their proprietary stack you’re locked in, which even their support documentation admits.

Much like those recent Intel ads that also parody the Mac vs. PC campaign, Wix’s ads do not make much sense if you give them even a little extra thought. Take the one where a low-budget Bryan Cranston, playing the part of WordPress, collapses to the floor under the weight of forgotten maintenance and implores the site owner to switch to Wix. Sounds promising, except it is comparing a self-hosted software package to a managed platform, so it is not honest. Maintenance is not inherent to WordPress and, if you would prefer not to deal with it, there are managed options available through Automattic and many third-party providers.

If these ads are merely comparing the ease of a managed platform against something self-hosted, there’s no shortage of those, either. Squarespace is a pretty good choice, Shopify is terrific for commerce, and I have heard good things about Webflow. But the advantage of all of those — and WordPress.com — is that they let you take your website with you if you would like to switch to another platform. Wix does not.

I am not sure what these mean-spirited ads are supposed to achieve, but they do not make me want to recommend Wix to anyone. Quite the opposite. Other platforms are for nice people.