On a rainy winter November day in 2020, we noticed the custom sidebars plugin notification about it closing based on pending new WordPress features. Then we learn that WordPress.com is starting a $5000 website building service. The writing was on the wall. Automattic was taking over their WordPress community, like you would expect from a for profit corporation.
Now that developers have helped Automattic to document what customers are looking for, they have begun controlling many of the avenues once left for developers to monetize. Once upon a time, WordPress bought up their competition like Woocommerce. Now, they simply take the best aspects from their community for free and distribute them themselves for profit.
It took until 2003 before developers started raising their concerns publicly. They noticed their plugins being sold by WordPress.com VS the free distribution of WordPress.org. They also noticed cases where some WordPress.com search engine listings outranking the WordPress.org pages that the developers worked hard on.
We actually think that Automattic should continue to commercialize their products. Unfortunately, BePro Software is not in a position to contribute to their corporate goals for free. This article shares insight into why BePro Software plugins are solely distributed by BeProSoftware.com.
The WordPress.org Plugin Journey
Adding your plugin to the WordPress.org platform, used to be the best choice for getting publicity. The process was straightforward and immediately provided plugin makers with a range of important metadata.
- Number of Downloads
- Feedback via their forum
At some point, WordPress enhanced support for its plugin community by testing for errors. They would help plugin makers to understand what was wrong with their plugin and how to improve it. This obviously benefited the end-user the most. However, in hindsight, this was the beginning of the end. Around the same time, they started buying up the biggest plugins in the community like Woocommerce.
We should have noticed when the popular page and form builders avoided WordPress.org like the plague. In fact, we did notice and began to create our own plugin distribution solution, BePro Software Updates. For the first time, we separated the distribution of our plugins from WordPress.org. We decided naively to keep our BePro Listings plugin on the platform, since that was its first home.
Fast-forward almost a decade and we are saying farewell to WordPress.org. BePro Listings has been removed from WordPress.org, and we are in the process of removing all other plugins we have uploaded to their platform. It’s obvious now that WordPress has no intention of supporting the plugin makers who made them popular. Now, it’s time for the parent company Automattic to dominate. We unfortunately will not be aiding their advances.
What Is The Developer Community Doing?
For our BePro Software community, things will mostly continue as usual. Most of our plugins have been distributed via our BePro Software Updates system. We will transfer the handful of plugins that were not already on our updates platform.
Thoughts are mixed throughout the community. Some talk of 3rd world countries that operate below this budget on freelance sites like freelancer.com. They are right, cheap, and economically challenged people will have difficulty coming up with $5,000 USD. Some feel that WordPress with its 1500+ workforce cannot possibly serve their client base. With recent estimates of WordPress running 50%+ of the internet, this may be true. Others are directly threatened and are very worried.
Our team offers custom solutions starting at $10,000, so this is troubling but not terribly. Also, after seeing the success of our customers, we followed in their footsteps. We have also long moved on to building our own websites based on our plugins like:
- OutdoorPhotographyCanada.com – Photographer Directory & Booking website
- CannabisListings.com – Company Directory & Job listings website
- QuebecKayak.com – Quebec location directory
Most of the community is not this prepared and will suffer losses because of the recent WordPress/Automattic advances into attracting customers directly.
Flawed WordPress Security
One of the major reasons for our departure was the constant and unfounded demands from the WordPress team that we use their flawed sanitation functions in our most popular plugin BePro Listings. We avoided the WordPress built-in sanitation functions because we knew their approach was flawed. Now the world knows through publicized instances of WordPress vulnerabilities in 2022. However, when they were making demands in 2021 that we add their sanitation functions, we refused and had no recourse from their wrath. Regardless of how we tried to show flaws in their logic, they demanded we used their security vulnerable functions in our most popular plugin. This was the only plugin they attacked, although all of our other plugins were coded the same.
Our BeProSoftware Team takes security seriously. At the risk of losing visibility for our product and the monetary values that come with it, we decided to ignore the request of the WordPress team resulting in our plugin being removed from their platform. Our vindication in 2022 with the now known major flaws in WordPress security is bitter-sweet.
What Are The Next Steps?
If you are a plugin maker, you should seriously consider avoiding WordPress.org. There are many other platforms that won’t take your code and clients. We have serious reservations about Themeforest.com but they are an obvious example of an alternative to the WordPress platform. At least ThemeForest is designed to help plugin developers make some money. Alternatively, you could attempt to create your own plugin distribution as we did with BePro Software Updates
If you are a new WordPress customer, this is a great day. Now you have the brand standing behind its product. WordPress.com will make you a WordPress website. Once focused on just adding you to their WordPress.com platform, they will build you a standalone website on your server using their WordPress.org open-source product.
If you are a WordPress Customer that actually needs custom-developed solutions, you still need the help of a company like BePro Software. Contact us today with your goals and our team will work with you to develop and maintain your solution. As always, we support your team’s onboarding via our BePro Software learning center.
At one point, it was a great idea to get your plugin added to the WordPress.org website. It sent lots of plugin customers as well as those looking for custom development solutions. Now in 2021, the situation is very different. WordPress has decided to monopolize their system like we have seen done time and time again by other corporations. We think that’s great for them; however, it seeks like a departure from their original messaging.
Can you still make money creating a WordPress plugin today? As of right now, the platform is still open source, allowing you to create your own solutions. The lesson here may be not sharing it with them, by uploading it to their platform. Their have been major forks of WordPress like classicpress, showcasing the fracturing of the development community so far. Hopefully, there is a future where developer contributions to WordPress are welcomed.