David (or more likely a robot from nrelate) has been posting to my client’s blogs with the following email:
From: David Boudreau <email@example.com>
Date: May 6, 2011 5:17:41 PM EDT
To: —— hidden ————
Subject: WordPress plug-in for your blog!
My name is Dave and I work for a small startup that makes WordPress
plug-ins. Our plug-in has been installed by over 5400 members of the
WordPress community to increase their pageviews and reader engagement
by displaying related picture thumbnail links and text links at the
bottom of each post. It’s completely free and websites LOOK GREAT with
You can learn more about the Plug-in here in the WordPress Plugin Directory:
Installation is quick and easy! Our goal is to make the best product
possible so please let me know if you have any questions or
suggestions. I am happy to help out in any way. Thanks again and have
a great week!
Give them a call, this info is on the whois record, they actually answer the phone, so you can complain:
160 Varick St
New York, New York 10013
+1.9174639890 Fax —
Hi Mogmismo and Esmi,
I am sorry if our outreach upset you. I wanted to clarify a few things and we are happy to also email firstname.lastname@example.org about this.
First off, David is definitely a real person. (He is not in yet today, but I wanted to respond)
We are a small company , and we work really hard to improve and support our free plugin.
We made a list of sites using WordPress and we contact these sites to see if people would like to try out the plugin. We do not email the same address twice, and if we did, then this was a human error (yes, we are humans)
We are happy to discuss any of this with you, and hope to continue this discussion.
We don’t send out bulk emails, and we don’t use a robot. Please let us know what you think we are doing that is unethical.
You are sending unsolicited emails to multiple WordPress site owners. Which part of that isn’t spamming?
Not only emails, but comments on peoples blogs, too:
We all write plugins, but we don’t shove ads everywhere on the web. I’d reconsider your business practices, nrelate.
Wow, we weren’t aware that comments were being sent, that will stop immediately. Thanks for letting us know.
Back to your point Esmi, We agree the emails are unsolicited, but we do not think they are bulk. (A human is sending these after visiting sites). A bulk mailer can send out 1,000 emails in minutes, while that would take Dave days and days.
Again, sorry for the commenting, that is inappropriate.
Whether it’s thousand, hundred or dozens of emails is immaterial, to a large extent. To my knowledge, this has been going on for at least 3 months – despite complaints.
We have received 5 complaints total, I believe. The vast majority of people we get in touch are overwhelmingly positive and friendly.
I think we probably will not agree on this issue. It is worth noting the following:
1. We do not email the same address or site twice
2. We do not send out emails in bulk
3. We did not buy a list, we do this manually
We are sorry that we upset you, so we actually spoke to a few other people to get their opinion. They all said they get many emails a day and don’t mind. They also said, that they have emailed people initially for work or personal reasons many times unsolicited.
We are happy to continue this discussion in a public forum, and are also happy to talk via phone or email.
The plugin has had to be withdrawn though probably temporarily.
In the terms which users must agree to it says:
“* Service Description. When deploying nrelate widget on your site, you agree to display the nrelate Icon logo and to add the following descriptions next to the logo”
If the plugin is GPL as it states you cannot impose that condition.
You cannot display an external link or logo without asking the blog owner first. Any link/logo must be Off by default and the blog owner must check a box to enable that link to appear.
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/about/ point #4.
It also states:
“* nrelate maintains the right to modify the widget user interface as it feels appropriate. This may include adding quadrants, changing colors, font sizes, content sources or sponsors”
If you are going to change content on someone’s site you should be making this very clear indeed and not bury it inside terms.
I haven’t fully scrutinised the code but I’m sure someone else now will.
Lastly plugins will be removed – and have been – for spamming outside the directory. Please don’t do this.
I will email this post to the plugin authors.
Thank you for protecting end users who wouldn’t have a choice in what happens when they visit a blog.
Sorry for the issues, our terms of service were not accurate and have been updated.
We allow the site owner complete control of the styling and the logo can be turned off. In fact, that is what people like about our version instead of the others out there. In the next version, we will make the logo opt-in so that by default it is turned off. For the current production version, we completely removed the logo now.
Also, “If you are going to change content on someone’s site you should be making this very clear indeed and not bury it inside terms.” – we don’t change any content on someone’s site, so we removed that from our terms.
Sorry but this is a case of the terms of service not being accurate against what we are delivering now. We always give users choice in the plugin, almost every feature is an option and that is what has help make the plugin popular. Hopefully with the changes to the TOS, all is OK, let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
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