WordPress.com owner Automattic acquires journaling app Day One

·3-min read

Automattic is expanding its lineup of online writing platforms with its acquisition of Day One, a popular journaling app for Mac and Apple mobile devices. The app has been downloaded more than 15 million times since its March 2011 launch on the Mac and iTunes App Store, offering users a private place to share their thoughts. Since then, it's been awarded the App Store Editor’s Choice, App of the Year and the Apple Design Award, along with praise from various reviewers.

Deal terms are not being disclosed. Day One had been bootstrapped and self-funded for ten years.

The addition makes for an interesting expansion of Automattic's now growing collection of online writing tools, which today include blogging platforms WordPress.com and Tumblr -- the latter as of 2019, when Automattic took the aging social blogging network off parent company Verizon's hands for a fraction of its earlier $1 billion acquisition price. (Verizon still owns TechCrunch, too...for now.)

Unlike WordPress and Tumblr, which tend to focus on publishing to a public audience, Day One's focus has been on privacy. The app offers end-to-end encryption for all your journal entries, which can include text, media and even audio recordings. It has also offered advanced features like automatic backups, auto-import of Instagram posts, voice transcriptions, templates, rich text formatting, location history and optional printed books, as well as integrations with other platforms like Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and more.

With its addition to Automattic, Day One will allow users to choose to publish select journal entries to WordPress.com and Tumblr, and, soon, import content from either platform back into Day One, too. The app may also make sense as a way for existing Tumblr users to sync their private entries over to a more protected and backed-up writing tool -- instead of accidentally publishing them to their main blog.

Automattic, in an announcement, notes Day One CEO Paul Mayne will continue to lead the development of Day One following the acquisition. The team of 12 will also remain intact.

“We are working hard and making sure that their teams are smoothly integrated, and together we can continue to build a collective and robust culture,” Maybe told TechCrunch. He said there will be no transition process for current customers — everything will continue to work as usual.

Meanwhile, in a blog post, Mayne hints at why he sold the app, noting the deal will allow Day One access to the same technological, financial and security benefits that help power WordPress.com and Tumblr.

"This is incredibly exciting news. For the past 10 years since I started Day One, I’ve worked to not only create the best digital journaling experience in the world, but one that will last," shares Mayne. "By joining Automattic, I’m now more confident than ever that the preservation and longevity of Day One is sure," he adds.

Mayne also noted there were no current plans to change the private nature of Day One, but the app would integrate with other Automattic products going forward, while continuing to sustain itself via a subscription model. Existing customers will see no changes to pricing, we’re told.

According to data from Sensor Tower, Day One's mobile app saw 4.4 million global installs. Last year, it hit around 993,000 installs, down 10% from more than 1 million in 2019 -- but this slight dip could have been attributed to desktop downloads, as users updated their journals from home computers during Covid lockdowns.

Updated, 6/14/21, 9:43 PM ET with additional details from Mayne.

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