CoPress is closing down operations

After over a year of offering a unique approach to hosting and support for student news organizations, the CoPress team has decided to close down its operations. The decision to do so has been tremendously difficult, but we’ve come to realize that now is the best time for this to happen.

First, we’ve struggled with making our business financially viable while at the same time offering prices that reflect an understanding of the financial situation many student news organizations are in. This is even more apparent in that we’ve had to change our pricing structure twice in the past months.

Secondly, without the revenue to pay our team full-time, we’ve become dependent on the generosity of committed students to offer our 24/7 support. In addition, the nature of our hosting and support business is such that we encouraged publications to tinker as much as they want with their site. What this ultimately meant was a rapidly growing number of emails for us to answer. Needless to say, it’s become difficult to make this scale in any meaningful way. Our eventual goal was to build software for distributed support, but the resources required for hosting and support severely challenged our ability to make headway on the project.

By now, we’ve contacted all of our existing clients about this decision. Because of the way we’ve structured our Managed Hosting since August 2008, the transition for most will be as easy as changing the credit cards on their third-party hosting account. We intend to migrate the other sites from the servers we maintain to third-party hosting services like WebFaction and Slicehost.

Going forward, we also intend to reopen our list serv as a place for the community to ask and respond to more general support questions. We also hope to put together a list of WordPress consultants you can hire to help with more technical issues or extended projects. Lastly, we’re going to open source our database conversion script which makes it a lot easier to get archives of various form into WordPress. If you’re interested in being on this list of consultants, please contact us.

We think that story of CoPress highlights some of the most important needs for college media, and the news industry in general. Primarily, this is a willingness to experiment, iterate, and try new things. As such, we’d plan to post in the coming weeks as much as we can about what we learned along the way with the sincere hope of teaching what lessons we can to the next round of entrepreneurs.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments or contact us privately. We’ll be holding a public Skype conference call that anyone is welcome to join sometime early next week.

On behalf of everyone on the team, I’d like to thank everyone for the support of our efforts. We couldn’t have accomplished any of this without the tireless contributions of too many awesome people in the community to count.

Daniel Bachhuber
Executive Director, CoPress
daniel@copress.org

18 comments

  1. Brandon says:

    I never used CoPress myself but they were definitely one of my inspirations when I was looking to rebuild http://www.thelewisflyer.com from College Publisher to WordPress last year. Thanks for all that you’ve done.

  2. Caleb Williams says:

    Will the Edit Flow Plugin still be developed?

  3. Our pleasure, thanks for the kind words Brandon. Your new site looks great.

  4. Caleb, Edit Flow will continue to be developed. It’s a community open source project that several of us are working on, and we actually just had a planning call about it yesterday.

  5. Caleb Williams says:

    That’s great know. I think it’s a good tool in the time I have spent with it.

  6. I also didn’t use CoPress directly, but took great pleasure in watching the work you did. As a graduate journalism student, I know we need to be supporting the future and that is exactly what you were about. Please know that you’ve inspired me — and I imagine countless others — to try something new, instead of sticking to the same-old, same-old. And we absolutely need that innovation!

  7. Sorry to hear that, but you have done great work. Best of luck in all your future endeavors.

  8. Zack Rosen says:

    Although we, too, never used CoPress, I’m sorry to hear that it will be closing down operations. My best goes out to the team and all work you will accomplish in the future!

    Zack Rosen, Editor-in-Chief
    The Charger Bulletin

  9. Wow, I am sorry to hear that guys. My only direct experience with CoPress has been recently when they converted our CP4/CP5 data into WordPress, and they did a bang up job of it.

    I am really glad we decided to do everything in house at The BG News, but I know that the majority of schools do not have a dedicated web monkey, CoPress was the perfect solution for that.

    Before I made the decision to go with Movable Type Pro, I had thought strongly of WordPress and WordPress MU, and the CoPress name kept coming up.

    Good luck to you all.

  10. Good luck in the future guys. You had a pretty good product going. Hopefully someone fills the gap that you are leaving because there are a lot of college newspapers that could benefit. I know http://www.dailywildcat.com is looking for a good alternative

  11. [...] to talk about their work with college publishing. Unfortunately, news has come out today that CoPress is shutting down operations. The two major reasons cited for the closure are lack of financial sustainability and a support [...]

  12. [...] In the closure announcement posted on its site earlier this week, founder Daniel Bachhuber writes with elegance and appreciable candor about the realities of running an organization high on idealism but low on profit and with hard-working staff stretched beyond their breaking point. ¬†As Bachhuber admitted, “[W]ithout the revenue to pay our team full-time, we’ve become dependent on the generosity of committed students to offer our 24/7 support. In addition, the nature of our hosting and support business is such that we encouraged publications to tinker as much as they want with their site. What this ultimately meant was a rapidly growing number of emails for us to answer. Needless to say, it’s become difficult to make this scale in any meaningful way.” [...]

  13. [...] control (or, “hack the future of journalism,” as they put it) discuss the recent announcement that they’ll be halting operations next month. Founder Daniel Bachhuber started CoPress while [...]

  14. I’m saddened to hear that CoPress is, in some sense, shutting down. As the lead Web developer for a college newspaper, I’ve respected CoPress’ ingenuity and innovation as long as I’ve been aware of the project.

    The number of clients this project has accumulated in its short lifespan is very impressive; that number is as much a testament to the talents of CoPress’ team members as it is a reflection on the downfalls of other current online solutions for college media.

    Although our paper has never been a direct client of CoPress, we have been very involved with discussions led by its team. I hope that in the weeks and months ahead, these talented individuals will continue to engage the community of college news organizations and their Web staffs, a community that CoPress had a big role in bringing together.

    Thank you all for your hard work. It is certainly appreciated and respected within the community. Good luck to you in your future pursuits.

  15. Thanks for all you guys did… I only worked with CoPress for a short period (while working for my school newspaper), but even in that short period I can honestly say you guys were extremely helpful. Wish you guys the best of luck in the future!

  16. [...] on the resources (people, wikis and forums) and ingenuity of CoPress. Earlier this week, they announced they were shutting down. Sad. But I was a free rider on their train of open content and free online resources to those of [...]

  17. Ed Gray says:

    Sorry to hear that CoPress is ceasing operations as a business, but I hope that this web site can continue in some form or another as an online community. Maybe a former college client will be willing to host it for free and allow other student newspapers to utilize it as a resource. I think the wiki has some great content and has the potential to continue expanding as more newspapers add profiles and their stories of how they use WordPress, Django or Drupal.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.