Here it is! I have finally written the post that will explain how to improve your chances of being Freshly Pressed. Having recently noticed a blog being Freshly Pressed twice in four days, I was rather curious about how something so mathematically improbable could happen. (In case you’re wondering, it was the Quartz blog. One post covered the definition of cancer and the other dealt with Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post.)
I also noticed that the Quartz blog uses WordPress VIP, which means WordPress probably gets a lot of money from Quartz for various services. I wondered to myself if VIP customers are permitted to buy a spot on Freshly Pressed. I still wonder that.
This inspired me to perform a non-scientific study of the most recent 100 posts to be Freshly Pressed; this comes out to about 17 days’ worth. I wanted to learn if a disproportionate number of selectees are paying for one WordPress upgrade or another. I should warn you that there are limitations to this study: I could only count blogs that use VIP services, custom domain, custom design, or premium themes. The other services and products WordPress sells are not immediately discernible from viewing a blog. (I also failed to record one entry along the way, so I counted it in the “spends no money” category. Because of how I collected data, this was almost certainly an accurate guess.)
And let me also remind everyone that WordPress is a business and therefore they would be justified in giving some extra preference to the people who keep their company afloat. Those of us who spend no money are a financial liability to them. Nevertheless, they advertise Freshly Pressed as something everyone can aspire to and they ought to be held to their word.
Out of 100 blogs, 47 pay to use a custom domain. Some of these may also pay for other upgrades; I didn’t check. (Technically, there were 99 blogs because Quartz appeared twice. However, I counted Quartz twice because they had two posts.)
Another 2 purchased the custom design upgrade. (Overall, there may have been more than 2.)
Another 1 uses a premium theme. (Overall, there may have been more than 1.)
Any VIP blogs in the lot were not noted because their custom domain already counted towards “pays money.”
According to these numbers…
WordPress is currently receiving (or has received) money from at least half of the last 100 Freshly Pressed inductees. Although my study came out with an even 50-50 split, I would remind you that there are still VideoPress, Ad-Free, Guided Transfer, Redirect, and Extra Storage services that I could not account for. Therefore, the percentage of Freshly Pressed inductees who are paying customers may be significantly above half.
It’s impossible to say with 100% certainty that there’s disproportional representation of paying customers on Freshly Pressed because we do not know what percent of bloggers purchase upgrades. Based on anecdotal evidence, the 47% figure for custom domains seems awfully high, though.
So if you want to be Freshly Pressed, an effective first step might be to buy a custom domain.
The tendency towards paying customers might partly explain why so many of us are often less than impressed with the results of browsing the Freshly Pressed selections. (“Less than impressed” does not mean “we don’t like them.” One can be impressed with something that does not suit one’s tastes.)