Yess. Yess. Yess. Automattic (a la Matt Mullenweg) has acquired Gravatar, a “global avatar service,” which has been what can only be described as a crapshoot — sometimes Gravatars went down, or at best, were really slow, and for a while there the whole Gravatar site even disappeared.

Good things are already happening. From the post:

  • We’re going to make all of the Premium features free, and refund anyone who bought them in the last 60 days.
  • Move the gravatar serving to a Content Delivery Network so not only will they be fast, it’ll be low latency and not slow down a page load.


One thing Automattic is really good at is throwing tons of servers and bandwidth at something, and that’s exactly what Gravatar needs. Just a few things though — how is Gravatar going to turn a profit, and why the hell do we now have to deal with more Snap popups?

Either way, congratulations to Matt and Automattic — hopefully this gives Gravatar the kick in the ass it needs, which will definitely benefit the blogosphere1.

Edit: As I was proofreading this post, Matt announced it on his blog.

  1. I hate that word, but still. 


  • This can only mean good things for Gravatar. It’s awesome that Automattic picked it up.

    I’m not a big fan of the word, either, but then again, I’ve never really been a fan of the word ‘blog.’ I’ve just never thought of something better and more catchy, and by this point, both words are fairly locked into the public mind.

  • I see Gravatar as a feature, so why would it need to be profitable.

    NeXT allowed avatars in email, and some address books seem to, but mostly it is still very awkward. Will WordPress and the Web show how it can be done?

  • Because Automattic is a company that, as far as I know, aims to stay afloat financially, and unless and the other services make so much money that Gravatar can just dip into that (which seems a bit odd), Gravatar has to turn a profit.

    Even if Automattic just took over, and didn’t “acquire” Gravatar’s property per se, the bandwidth and servers (not to mention storage) would cost quite a bit.