Longreads’ service basically grabs long-form written content from across the Web and gathers it in a single place for you to read via email subscriptions. For Longreads to notice a piece, it must be at least 1,500 words long. That’s a pretty effective way to easily filter out in-depth pieces that frequently have more context than shorter articles carry.
“We see a huge opportunity to go deeper with our mission, both through Longreads and WordPress.com — to find undiscovered talent, to celebrate the work of writers and publishers you already love, and bring even more of the best storytelling onto the Internet,” said Longreads founder Mark Armstrong in a blog post. “The WordPress.com editorial team is growing, and we’re excited to now be a part of it.”
The two companies, Armstrong said, have goals that complement each other, which is part of why the acquisition makes sense.
“We are entering a new era for independent writers and publishers to embrace depth and quality, and WordPress.com is committed to empowering these creators,” Automattic’s Raanan Bar-Cohen said of the acquisition in a separate post. “… not just through tools and services that make the most of these evolving formats, but through community, distribution, and new ways to have your best work seen by millions of people across a wide range of diverse tastes and topics.”
Longreads said that although the service now has a new home with Automattic, it intends to continue its subscription service for those that donated or paid for it previously.
The acquisition of Longreads may help Automattic bridge the gap between amateur writers with blogs on its WordPress.com platform, small or indie publishers, and larger publications using the company’s premium WordPress VIP service. It also may help Automattic keep its best creators from fleeing WordPress in favor of up-and-coming publishing platform Medium, which has become popular among tech hipsters over the last year.