Some Not Happy With Greetbox Updates

WP Greetbox which is a popular plugin created by Thaya Kareeson recently went through an update that added a new panel to the WordPress dashboard which provides updates from the developers blog. This is an opt-out option but it’s also not difficult to turn it off if you don’t want to see it. There are a few people who have chimed in on Thaya’s blog telling him that it should be opt-in rather than opt-out. Thaya’s argument against this line of thought is that if it turns into something being opt-in, very few people will ever recognize the feature exists. I’m with the line of thought that something should always be opt in rather than opt out as having it any other way is wrong.

Andrew Rickmann chimed in today asking what plugin authors can do to benefit from creating plugins. I remember a similar conversation taking place on the WP Hackers Mailing list where Joost De Valk asked what people thought of him selling display ads which would be shown in the plugins options page. Most people didn’t like the idea.

It’s easy to see why a plugin author would want to do something like this because after all, links, traffic, etc. doesn’t put food on the table, money does. Donations are few and far between for just about all plugin authors so they are left with few other choices. Thaya says he needs a reason to justify him spending 30 hours a week on development and support for the plugin. I encourage you to check out the following forum thread on the tavern forum where I asked, how to make money making plugins. I think what Thaya did is reasonable and thankfully, he has provided an easy way to change the way that feature works but as an end user, what are you willing to put up with in terms of plugin authors adding these sorts of things to their plugns?

8 Comments


  1. I would be inclined to put the greetbox on the plugins admin page and if needed, have an opt-in system to allow it to be placed on the dashboard instead. That way the information is always being fed through but does not clutter up parts of the admin panel unrelated to the plugin.

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  2. I’m willing to put up with quite a bit actually. Even ads, since I use an ad blocker. ;)

    What I really don’t like I can rip out.

    I mean, realistically, plugin authors are giving away their work. I can easily see both sides of the argument, and it would be nice for the consumer to get free goods while the plugin author get paid somehow. That’s win-win to me. I think it would lead to better plugins.

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  3. @Ryan – I’m all for opt-in rather than opt-out and I can understand the reasons behind opt-out being the default choice but it doesn’t sit well with me when software makes choices for me unless I explicitly allow that to happen.

    @Andrea_R – I think there would actually either be a plugin which does what greetbox does but with no ads or someone would simply rip out the ads in greetbox and re-release the plugin. consumer gets free goods but producer still gets paid somehow. That is where the conundrum lies.

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  4. Why not set the system up like the Iphone appstore and maximize the payment to 5$ or something? I think that would be very reasonable. I try and pay something like that to most of the plugin authors when I set up a site with it.

    As long as i is not going down the joomla road, where all plugins are just too expensive… this made me quit jusing joomla completely! But small iphone app payments should be good? any comments on that?

    btw I can’t find the podcast in the istore in NL, have you set it up to be available for US only?

    cheers

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  5. I am all for plugin developers getting their word out and potentially making some money, but not at the flexibility of being forced against a site. It should be the site to determine display of content. Most industry best practices and standards are allowing of an opt-in option not opt-out “if you can catch me” approach.

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  6. I have quite strong feelings about this:
    I think foreign content in the dashboard is a security problem. On the dashboard, you are logged in as admin. The plugin developer is probably a nice guy. But if the foreign host is compromised, your own blog can also get compromised.
    With each new of these plugins you install, the probability to get a real security whole gets higher.

    Regards

    Karsten Meier

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  7. I recently tried to start a discussion on my blog, http://mywordpress.com/why-do-we-make-wordpress-admin-widgets/, about the same subject, and the few reactions vary. The contact e-mails I’ve received varied quite a bit as well.

    I don’t want to go down the road some developers do, by requiring signing up to their newsletter to even activate their plugin. That seems overly excessive for something they are releasing for free.

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