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Anti-Splog
[resolved] Pay For Usage? (11 posts)

  1. kirkward
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I don't mind paying to be able to use a Premium Plugin, when that plugin is advertised and sold openly. I do think it is a violation of the spirit, if not the terms, of WordPress, to require payment for an essential component of a plugin in order to enable it to function.

    Requiring a paid membership in WpmuDev in order to get the API key for the Anti-Splog plugin to work seems to me to be an attempt to do an end run around the TOS here.

    Sure, the plugin is open source, but it will not work unless a required component (the API key) is purchased. That makes the plugin "RansomWare."

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/anti-splog/

  2. cubecolour
    ɹoʇɐɹǝpoɯ
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I respectfully disagree. I have not used this plugin (or any product or services from the company providing it.)

    Looking at the plugin details, if the description is accurate I do not think it does violate the GPL or attempt to run around the TOS. The plugin itself is free and the API key is required to use a paid remote service which the plugin links to.

    According to the faq, the signup protection functions provided within the plugin itself do not require an API key.

  3. kirkward
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I will retract my claim if you can tell me how to enable all of the anti-splog features described on the "Features" page without purchasing a subscription from wpmudev.org.

    From the features page ...

    This plugin goes way beyond any existing splog plugin for Multisite because at its core is the new Anti-Splog API service hosted at WPMU DEV Premium. This means that Anti-Splog not only prevents/limits bots, it also identifies human and existing spammers automatically and with great efficiency.

    The plugin is free. It has some spam blocking features which are otherwise available from their respective sources.

    But, as you can see, these features are not the focus of the plugin feature page "advertising." The advertising gives a "sales pitch" emphasizing the API service. which is a classic bait and switch tactic.

    The plugin is useless as an anti-spolg monitor without access to the database which is only provided by having an API key which is only available through a paid subscription.

    Yes, the faq are clear that the paid subscription is required in order to use the anti-splog reporting database. But, the primary marketing focus emphasizes that the API is a part of the plugin, not that it is only available with a subscription (which is rather expensive, by the way).

    Perhaps they might have been more clear if they had labeled it "Almost-Anit-Splog" and not made the focus of the entire first page a sales pitch about how well the API worked. It would have been clearer if the "Features" pages only talked about what was available without a paid upgrade, and then added a sales pitch for an upgrade somewhere else.

  4. WPMUDEV
    WPMU DEV Support Staff
    Plugin Author

    Posted 1 year ago #

    Please refer to the items listed below Anti-Splog Features on the plugin page.

    The first Signup Prevention listing states:

    Signup Prevention - these measures are mainly to stop bots. User friendly error messages are shown to users if any of these prevent signup. They are all optional, require no API key and include:

    Please note the mention of: require no API key

    The second feature listing The API states

    Since the blog was actually created, it will still show up in the super admin area (as spammed) so you can unspam later if there was a mistake (and our API will learn from that). Note that this service requires an API key.

    Please note the mention of: Note that this service requires an API key

  5. cubecolour
    ɹoʇɐɹǝpoɯ
    Posted 1 year ago #

    For the benefit of people who skim-read &/or don't look at the faq tab, perhaps you could add a word like 'paid' to that phrase to clarify that the API key needs to be purchased? It might prevent more topics like this one being started, however I wouldn't bank on it.

  6. WPMUDEV
    WPMU DEV Support Staff
    Plugin Author

    Posted 1 year ago #

    The copy I referred to is on the front page of the project description.

    At some point the user is responsible for reading the copy about any plugin they download, not just this one.

    I will pass on your suggestion to the proper folks.

    Thank You!

  7. kirkward
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    For the benefit of people who skim-read &/or don't look at the faq tab, perhaps you could add a word like 'paid' to that phrase to clarify that the API key needs to be purchased? It might prevent more topics like this one being started, however I wouldn't bank on it.

    @cubecolour - FAQ are usually reserved for operational nicites and would be an acceptable place for the developers to attempt their upsell.

    I did an analysis of the Features page, and according to my word count (based on total paragraphs devoted to a feature), 77.8% of the Features page was devoted to a discussion about the usefulness of the API key. Even for careful readers, it is easy to overlook the purchase requirement.

    The copy I referred to is on the front page of the project description.

    At some point the user is responsible for reading the copy about any plugin they download, not just this one.

    @wpmudev - Please see my note about about the focus of the written copy of the Features page. A reasonable analysis of the copy comes up with over three-fourths (77.8%) of the text being a sales pitch devoted to the API.

    Your "At some point" comment works both ways. Sellers are even more liable under the requirements set forth by the FTC.

    Users are inundated with promotional advertising, and slipping in a single statement about there being an additional cost is not enough. According to the FTC regs, the disclosure must be noticeable and obvious on the "sales" page, which is certainly what the Features page has become.

    I do like WpmuDev plugins, and although I find some of them to be clunky to use, they solve problems that are not readily available from other sources, and they are updated for each new version of WordPress, which is no small feat in and of itself.. I will continue to selectively use them, unless I am banned because I complained, on a going forward basis.

    Because I had used Anti-Splog before, and was familiar with its operations, I got excited when I saw it available in what was originally a repository for free plugins. I felt blindsided when I came to the API purchase requirement in order to get the features that were so described on the Features page.

    If I had been totally wrong, I would have slunk away in silence. But, with the amount of text devoted to the API, I didn't see where I was mistaken. I still don't.

  8. WPMUDEV
    WPMU DEV Support Staff
    Plugin Author

    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thank You so much for your valuable feedback.

    I think you are within every right to feel this way, especially with the advent of many "bait and switch" type plugins in the repository here. And I believe it's this change in culture that has made our sales copy, which was once wholly adequate, now seemingly deceitful.

    It used to be that Free was hard to find. Anyone sharing a Free plugin, or a paid with Free features, was participating in the spirit of what WordPress represents (this plugin was first shared over a year ago). Now, there are so many paid and Free options, many pervading once exclusively Free resource pools that the tide seems to have turned. Anyone offering something Free now seems to be trying to dupe users. And understandably so! There are many who offer ONLY Free install of the plugin, no Free Features to be had!

    I do not mean to imply that you are accusing us of this, I'm only trying to offer some perspective perhaps. I will, as stated, take this up with the copy-writers and see if we can't "get with the times", after all this one has been around quite some time, which means the copy is equally as dated.

    You will not be refused any DEV plugins :) On the contrary, your feedback would be invaluable on any plugins you would like to comment on. Hope to see you around our community! :)

    Kimberly

  9. kirkward
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thanks for your response Kimberly,

    I was hot under the collar when I ran into the API purchase requirement, as I had read the features page reasonably carefully. I was fully aware that the Anti-Splog plugin a purchased service when I used it through WpmuDev. I did not check the FAQ, as I saw no reason to when the Features page seemed to answer my questions.

    I think the key for your copywriters is the absence of a prominent and obvious mention that the API features must be purchased, especially in light of my calculation that over three-fourths of the copy on the Features page was devoted to promoting the API service.

    Alternatively, a Features page that almost exclusively discussed the free services of the plugin, and mentioned that a "Pro" upgrade, or some such thing, was available that offered enhanced services may be easier to understand.

    Anything that makes it obvious that a user will only get the more powerful features by upgrading would be acceptable in my mind. The only hint of it on the features page is ...

    Signup Prevention - these measures are mainly to stop bots. User friendly error messages are shown to users if any of these prevent signup. They are all optional, require no API key and include:

    and

    Note that this service requires an API key.

    To me, neither of those is hardly an indication that the API costs.

    I don't think it is a matter of getting with the times, rather a bit of being more clear. Which is something I've never been accused of being ... clear.

    Thanks again for your time.

  10. kirkward
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    If the WPMU copywriters are stuck, a good example might be White Label CMS

    That plugin clearly leads to an upgrade option, but they meet what the FTC considers okay because they are not pushing or promoting the paid feature as if it is included.

  11. WPMUDEV
    WPMU DEV Support Staff
    Plugin Author

    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thanks for the reference :)

    Kimberly

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