Automattic has acquired the Social Image Generator plugin, a commercial product that automatically creates social share images for WordPress content from a set of fully customizable templates. The plugin launched in February 2021, with a starting price of $39/year but is now closed to new sales. Daniel Post, the plugin’s creator, is joining Automattic to continue developing it as a new addition to Jetpack’s social media tools.
Automattic is always on the prowl for companies that are doing something interesting in the WordPress ecosystem. The Social Image Generator plugin expertly captured a new niche with an interface that feels like a natural part of WordPress and impressed our chief plugin critic, Justin Tadlock, in a recent review.
“Automattic approached me and let me know they were fans of my plugin,” Post said. “And then we started talking to see what it would be like to work together. We were actually introduced by Chris Coyier from CSS-Tricks, who uses both our products.”
The Social Image Generator plugin has always been a commercial-only product, which tends to limit a plugin’s reach within a market that has been so heavily trained on the freemium model. Its acquisition will undoubtedly get it into the hands of more WordPress users.
“I briefly considered building a freemium plugin but I decided to focus on paid licenses to make sure I could provide great support to all users and, frankly, to see how well it would be received compared to a freemium plugin,” Post said.
Current customers will be able to continue using the plugin “without any changes in the near term,” according to the announcement on the Jetpack blog. Those who have strong opinions about the long-term future of the plugin are encouraged to schedule a session with Jetpack Customer Research to open a dialogue.
“I look forward to the future functionality and user experience improvements that will come out of this acquisition,” Jetpack General Manager James Grierson said. “The goal of our social product is to help content creators expand their audience through increased distribution and engagement. Social Image Generator will be a key component of helping us deliver this to our customers.“
I would not be surprised to see this plugin available on one of Jetpack’s paid tiers in the near future, alongside the Publicize module’s other paid features (scheduling social media posts, tracking and viewing sharing history, and re-sharing existing content). Social Image Generator makes WordPress content more engaging on social media, has built-in support for WooCommerce, and can be extended for use with other plugins. It’s a strategic acquisition where Automattic gains an engineer as well as a new way to make Jetpack subscriptions more compelling.
“We are still figuring out our exact approach, but the initial plans are to integrate the Social Image Generator features with the existing Jetpack social tools like Publicize,” Post said. “The ability to see exactly what your social media post will look like before publishing it right from your WordPress site is incredible, and a big reason why I’m so excited about this acquisition.”