Enemy of the (business) people

low-angle photography of man in the middle of buidligns

Positions such as yours take [away] even the slightest incentive for plugin creators to create great plugins for free

This was feedback given to me in the WordPress.org forums after I left poor feedback for a plugin. I’ll write about the specifics of this separately, but essentially a plugin was doing some particularly nasty advertising practices which, I believe, are against the guidelines. It’s also been reported to the Plugin Review team so I’ll leave it up to them to be the final arbiter.

But, yes, the developer didn’t take the review well.

He was also aware of my recent past…

I can see that this topic is close to your heart, as you also spoke at WCEU about related topics as plugins’ notifications on the WP Admin Dashboard.

Except, he obviously didn’t actually see it as I addressed this in the Q&As at the end.

Look, let’s get to the point. I work for a company that has free plugins, makes money from selling upgrades and does various forms of marketing and advertising to push that – and, yes, I don’t always agree with them. I’m not involved in them, and it would be a boring company who only employed people that 100% agreed with everything they did.

So, away from that Q&A, let me make my views clear.

I am NOT against people making money from WordPress plugins, and advertising is a key part of getting people to your product. Banners ads and the like are here to stay – but it’s HOW you implement it that counts. Overly obtrusive, annoying or spammy practices aren’t going to win you any customers and ends up polluting the WordPress environment.

And we’ve already seen what happens when left unchecked. Let’s look at website advertising (as in, front-end, viewing websites). Some – and it is just some – websites abuse it and you’re presented with a site that’s unusable. Here’s a screenshot I recently took of one such site…

That’s hideous. As a result, everyone turned to ad-blockers. And they don’t block just the bad sites, but all sites. Even browsers are starting to bake this functionality into themselves. The result – the free web is crumbling. Websites either disappear or put themselves behind a pay wall. Although caused by bad actors, it’s the consume that ends up suffering.

If we go in this direction with WordPress plugins, action will occur. Already the Feature Notifications project is talking about separating out ad banners – one step away from someone implementing a way for them to just be excluded. When a minority don’t play well, it’s the majority that usually end up paying the price.

My issue is not with the majority, but those minority. Advertise your product, yes, but do it respectfully. I’m not asking for much am I?

Talk to me!

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