Support » Plugin: WP Customer Reviews » Plugin requires email address to enable settings tabs and to view short code

  • First, I’m very disturbed by this plugin author requiring your email address to enable all the Settings tabs in the Lite version of the plugin. I think that’s in really poor taste. If you want my email address, provide a form and ask me if I want to receive updates, but DO NOT force me to give you my email address to simply use additional features of the plugin.

    This is the very first time I’ve seen any developer do this and I’ve been using WordPress since for 10+ years. I speak at WordCamps. And, I am the organizer of WordPress Chapel Hill Meetup.

    This really, really made my unhappy Sorry, just saying.

    You don’t do that. You don’t force someone to give you an email address to simply understand how the short code works. And, you don’t provide a reference to the short code settings on your website. This is done purposely to harvest email addresses and I simply don’t like it.

    Second, the plugin author provides a short code, but the short code does not display the form for the user to leave a review, even though the form display is set to on. Nor does it populate reviews from the page ID per the instructions for the short code you can only find if you give this plugin author your email address for updates.

    Lastly, if someone leaves reviews on one page, while you can seemingly use the shortcode to port your reviews to another page, some of the short code features are not working correctly, so the short code will not display the reviews from the Page ID you set.

    Regardless, the on-page panel in the pages admin is where the plugin provides a check box to enable reviews for that page. But, if I want to call in reviews from one page to another, I have to use the short code, which doesn’t work properly. There should be a “Pages” drop down in that setting panel that one can select to pull in all reviews from another page.

    The problem with this is, because there is little documentation, if any, on the developer’s site, you choose this review plugin because it seemingly works. But, then you find out that it’s not working perfectly AND you are forced to give your email address just to open up the additional tabs. If you’ve already got reviews, then you have to figure out how to implement a new plugin and add your old reviews to it.

    I really should have just used Google Reviews and found a way to display those instead of dealing with this unethical method of getting my email address.

    Lastly, I’m looking in the support que and it’s taking up to 6 days to get a question answered. I really should give this plugin one star, but I’m giving it two because some of the features do work as intended and it’s not a bad plugin. What’s bad is the UNETHICAL nature of asking for my email address just to show me how to use the short code.

    Not cool.

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Moderator Jan Dembowski


    Forum Moderator and Brute Squad

    First, I’m very disturbed by this plugin author requiring your email address to enable all the Settings tabs in the Lite version of the plugin.

    Wait. What?

    *Installs plugin on test site*

    Oh yeah. It appears to do that. That’s seriously not cool.

    Screen Shot

    I put in and I was able to get around it. That sort of data collection is not necessary and in the future you can report that to plugins [at] but don’t in this case. I just did.

    The plugins can ask if you want to join a newletter. That part is alright. But that dialog makes it appear that the user must submit their email and that can get the plugin author into real trouble.

    Thread Starter Tony Zeoli


    Hey Jen,

    Thanks. I’ve been a WordPress user, speaker, and meetup organizer for many years and this is the very first time I’ve seen this. You’re right. Seriously not cool. Thanks for reporting it. Much appreciated.

    And thank you both for reporting it…we’ll make changes as to not offend anyone. We actually care what you and others think.

    To be clear, this is not meant for anything but to keep in contact with users. The one and only time we’ve emailed folks was to get beta testers for the major upgrade to version 3.0 last year.

    Now that you’ve shared, so will I. I would have loved to hear your concerns as constructive feedback instead of ripping our support, telling what’s wrong with your plugin, and that we are unethical. You, sir, are not very nice, and I don’t give a crap how long you’ve worked with WordPress, how may meetups you attend or conferences you speak at (funny how you keep bringing that up). We are a couple of working guys that put a plugin out for FREE, support it in our spare time, and actually thought sharing something cool we created for ourselves was a nice thing to do. We didn’t create this thing to make any money here. Maybe we’ll get around to a paid version someday, but I doubt it.

    We are already addressing the email prompt. Next time, since you clearly have so much knowledge, maybe you’ll consider HELPING instead of tearing someone down.

    BTW, the plugin IN FACT does not require an email address.

    You simply have to click Yes or No when prompted as whether you want to display the “powered by” info. Whether you enter an email address or not, the settings appear. Here’s a handy screenshot for you to reference, just in case we’ve already changed it:

    Since you’ve reported it to WordPress, they determined the plugin is does NOT violate their policies. Here is what they said:

    “When you install and activate the first thing it asks is if you want to embed powered by links or not.

    That’s okay (if annoying), HOWEVER the way you’ve written it makes it look like the email is REQUIRED.

    We would you like to make that a little more clear that the email is optional. Users have complained to us that you’re violating the rules, which you’re not, but since you are giving the appearance that you are, you should correct that.”

    @tonyzeoli and @jan Dembowski, shame on you both for not having your facts straight. Especially you Jan – as a Mod you should know the difference between “Oh yeah. It appears to do that” and no, that does NOT actually do that.

    Again, thanks so much for your help. It’s comforting there are people out there so willing to lend a hand by writing a civil note instead of posting half-cocked, blatantly incorrect posts because they were too f’ing lazy to get their facts straight.

    Plugin Author Aaron Queen


    We’re looking into a better way to perform the initial plugin activation. I agree that it is confusing and appears to require you to enter an email address, which it does not.

    While it states to enter your email address <b>if</b you want to receive updates, the flow is absolutely confusing. I’m looking into a method to make it multi-step, better wording, or some type of separation to make it more clear.

    What we don’t want is for people to believe they are required to enter an email address, or display a “powered by” link to use the plugin. While we’d love everybody to choose both options, it’s never been required.

    Thread Starter Tony Zeoli


    Okay, here’s my response to this insanity.

    First, all plugins are open to being reviewed. That’s why this area exists. I am providing an honest review of this plugin, which is my right.

    Let’s be clear here. bompus admits the area is confusing the user. By updating the plugin and adding the new admin notification at the top of the page, gowebsol also admits this is unclear and there is an attempt to fix, but it does not go far enough.

    Don’t try to play me. I am a Vice President of Product and have worked on multimillion dollar projects with thirty developers, designers, and other team members. Never would I ever authorize placing an email field inside a feature for plugin activation. I can imagine that this is also against the Can Spam act, because there are no clear terms and conditions for how you will use my email. Nor would I ever require plugin activation in a free plugin, because the tabs are supposed to be present when you initially activate the plugin in the plugins manager in the first place.

    You both know it looks confusing. While it doesn’t say required, it sure looks like it. And, with the new screenshot, it looks like you are still going to keep that email field there, where it should not be.

    It is confusing, because if I entered my email address, then many others did as well. And, no where to you have a terms and conditions on how you’ll use my email address.

    So, when you say I should have contacted you to discuss, well, you’re both now embarrassed that someone called you out on this and you both admit it’s confusing and needs changing.

    So, you know what to do, remove the damn email field from the Plugin activation area and put it in its own area called “Get Our Newsletter Updates” or something like that.

    Your response is exactly why I didn’t contact you. Instead of admitting you were slyly trying to capture email addresses from users of your plugin, you’re blaming me for calling you out on doing something that’s not cool.

    Take the email field out of the Plugin Activation area and make that separate, like it should be. Then, take away the Plugin Activation panel altogether, because when I click Activate in the Plugin manager, I should see all the panels. I shouldn’t have to activate the plugin twice – especially to get information that should be on the primary screen.

    If you want to do something like that, then you require an API key with a paid upgrade. Even still, you tout the plugin has a shortcode, but no where can you find it until you click the Yes or No.

    Why isn’t there just one button that says, “Activate,” instead of Yes or No. So, if I say No, then what happens? I don’t know, because I said “Yes,” since possibly saying no would elicit a negative action.

    This is user experience design. You guys are developers. You have to put the user first and not your own ideas of what you think is the best way to activate the plugin. Again, it should be activated in the first place. And, it should not be a “Yes” or “No” question. It’s either Activate or Cancel. But Activate shouldn’t even exist, because you already Activate the plugin in the Plugins panel.

    I’m not going to argue this any more. I want to support you guys and use your plugin on all my client sites, but you’re ultimately responsible for making sure the user experience is tight, logical, and reasonable. Here, it is not.

    So, gowebsol, shame on your for trying to play all your users. A WordPress moderator and a 25-year veteran product develpment executive are both calling you out on your poor choice of user experience – but you’re the one at fault, not us. You fooled us both into thinking entering an email was required and you did it purposely by desiging this screen in that way. Don’t try to bullshit me. I’ve been around and worked with hundreds of developers and none of them would ever attempt to run this past me, because they would have been told to find another job.

    Plugin Author Aaron Queen


    We’re working on it. I’ll try to have an update out soon. To put it in context, we’ve had one user complain out of 300,000 downloads.

    In v2, it was easier to understand. In v3, I rewrote the entire plugin. Design is not my strong suit, and I changed some of the activation process. I actually installed a plugin (very popular one) last night which forced me to enter an email, just to activate my free api key. I did not like it, but I didn’t mind either. I understand where you are coming from, and I’ll try to find a middle ground.

    Plugin Author Aaron Queen


    Just released 3.1.2 to address this. Thank you @tonyzeoli for nudging us in the right direction on this. I’m very satisfied with the update and it makes it much easier and less confusing to get started with the plugin.

    Settings screenshot :

    Thank you for your response Tony. It makes my point nicely. We’ve gone ahead and released a newer, clearer version. In behalf of bompus and I, thank you for all your generous contributions to our plugin and the WordPress community.

    Thread Starter Tony Zeoli


    bompus, I have no issue with your replies. You were fair and understanding, then took action to resolve. Thank you for addressing my concerns.

    gowebsol seems to want to stick in one last insult to a customer. Not cool. gowebsol, you’ll learn the hard way that blaming the customer for your shortcomings is where you’ll have issues in the future.

    I’m addressing you directly: your plugin tricked users into giving email addresses to activate, period. It’s was your fail point. You should own it and apologize, instead of pointing the finger back at me.

    I’m going to look at this now and see what’s changed. I hope this is resolved.

    Thread Starter Tony Zeoli


    Okay, I’ve taken a look.

    Much, much better.

    bompus, thank you for listening to me.

    To anyone who is reading this, this issue is resolved. I can now comfortably say that the developers listened, made improvements, and change the way the plugin activation process works. When you activate the plugin, you can see all the screens. And, they’ve change the email newsletter signup box to indicate that you are not actually activating the plugin when you add your email address.

    I appreciate that they listened and took action.



    Hi Tonyzeoli.
    Well spoken. Reason for this reply is maybe devs will learn something about PR.
    1 Month ago the gowebsol claim ‘Maybe we’ll get around to a paid version someday, but I doubt it.’ has now changed to limiting features so that you can get the Pro version which doesnt exist yet.

    I’ve been a programmer in assembly, C and 7 different hardware and software programming languages, and developed small systems hardware over the years but never got aggressive to users despite a plethoria of stupid questions.
    There is usually something constructively rewarding buried in a users critic if the developer is prepared to bury the ego and look at the bigger picture.

    [ Signature moderated ]

    Plugin Author Aaron Queen


    @alistairg – Going from v2 to v3, we did not add any limits to features. All previous features remained in place, and we just added placeholders for features that we intend to support if/when we do release a Pro version.

    I wanted to clear that up for anybody reading this.. we did not purposely add limits to certain features to be a hindrance to anybody. We did not code those features before, and we don’t have them now. They are simply placeholders for features which we intended to support in the future.



    Hi Bompus,

    Quite an individual – In your correspondence here, you have raised the bar for this project.

    Hi there Tony, you have articulated what represents good practice.

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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