Support » Plugin: TBTestimonials » [Plugin: TBTestimonials] Tbar… Wow… that's ballsy and not in a good way…

  • Resolved Jon Brown


    I find the addition of Tbar incredibly objectionable in a .org repo plugin. A link back to the author is fine, but adding a freaking menu to the WP Admin bar soliciting work that is on by default is way overboard.

    I don’t know if I’m more bummed or offended by it… It’s your plugin, but you just ruined my fav Testimonal Plugin and all trust I had in you as a plugin author.

    Rolling back to 1.6.1 until I can migrate to something else…

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Plugin Author Travis Ballard


    Well I appreciate you sharing your opinion and I’m sorry that you feel way. I knew it would offend some people before adding but that is why there an option to disable it if you don’t want it up there.

    I offer the plugin to you for free. If a little icon bothers you then hey you’re free to make the switch. I don’t mean to be rude but there are plenty of other premium testimonial plugins that don’t even compare to TB-Testimonials.

    I put in TBar to help me build my business and make it easy for people to get in touch with me regarding the services that I offer. Times are tough ;/

    My problem with it is that you’re advertising your services ALL OVER THE SITE. It’s not like your just putting a banner in the plugin settings (see Yoast on how to go as far as humanly possible without actually crossing the line).

    You’re hijacking the top level admin bar… in doing so you’re adding your stuff totally outside the scope of the plugin you’re actually providing and affecting all users. What would happen if all plugin authors did this? Suddenly the WP Admin bar would have 20 drop down menus for developers?

    TBar would be totally cool on YOUR client’s site and I know several people that do just that with a similar bar or a dashboard widget to get in touch, but it’s just NOT cool to inject it into a plugin. Well at least not cool IMHO.

    It’s probably a great topic for wider discussion in the community. I won’t claim that the repo rules disallow it, or that somehow I’m empowered to judge. Just know I find it highly inappropriate. I recall a plugin about a year ago that I’d used on several sites (I think a FB Like button perhaps) that added a 3″ x 6″ banner at the top of the dashboard requesting donations via for the developers wedding…. needless to say I had a few clients calling me to ask WTF on that one too…

    I don’t want to see the plugin repo fall into the advertising spam heap that themes almost did several years ago before being cleaned out. I think that dashboard wide advertising has got to be off-limits.

    This could cause issues for a number of users. I work with a state governmental agency and when this popped up, it raised all kinds of red flags because it is deemed commercial solicitation.

    I can deal with some promotion in a sidebar on the plugin’s settings page but using the admin bar is bad practice.

    i’m in agreement about this

    what if all plugin developers started doing this?

    i appreciate you need to advertise your work and this plugin is free, but whats wrong with putting a page within your plugin section for the same info? rather than on every page when logged in (via admin bar)

    Plugin Author Travis Ballard


    Then it would probably get cluttered fairly quickly and thankfully that isn’t the case. There’s nothing wrong with putting the information under the plugin settings but the idea here is to stand out and it does that fairly well in my opinion.

    However I am considering the idea of a pro version that would not be free and would probably be priced at around $100 or so. This would not have TBar included with it and would also have other goodies added in as well.

    Would that be something you folks would be interested in?

    Travis Ballard

    If you’d offered a pro version I’d almost certainly bought it, but adding TBar ruined any trust I had… wouldn’t touch a pro version.

    I’ve been meaning to ask @otto42 if there were hard and fast rules on solictation or advertising inside plugins hosted by the .org repo. I don’t think there are, but standard practice seems to be adding something to the settings screen a la WordPress SEO and a hundred other plugins I could name.

    TBar reminds me of a plugin that the author updated to display a notification box at the top of the post editor soliciting donations for the guys upcoming wedding.. it’s just slimy to do it site wide like that.

    I’d be interested in hearing more thats for sure

    having tbar not even existing in the plugin would be great – at the moment it still loads the css for is despite me disabling it in wp-admin and the site optimiser in me does not like that one bit

    Travis, your first mission in life is to feed and otherwise support yourself and your family. So I say never apologize for configuring your free offerings in any way you choose. Especially when you are clearly flexible in your offering and would be happy to just get paid for a version that is more palatable to the end user.

    If anyone is frustrated with how a developer tries to monetize something that they are giving out for free, you need look no further than the refusal of the official repo to become an app store for plugins.

    People are likely not going to “donate” but are 100% likely to complain when we have to patchwork together ways to get paid for contributing.

    I would wager that if you were getting respect from the community for your work and getting paid then you never would have spend time trying to figure out how to get further in peoples faces.

    Let’s fix the way this all works so that developers get their due instead of complaining that what we get for free is free enough.

    One way to do that would be add some better official hooks to encourage plugin authors to request attention in a singular way. Say a persistent donation meta box in the admin with add_plugin_donation_request(array(whatever should be included))

    Sharing is caring and that goes for code and for money.

    @trevogre I wonder if you understand the history here, maybe you do, but it doesn’t sound like it.

    The issue isn’t .org repo plugins with advertising consulting services. Lots of plugins do that and while there are not any rules I know of, there are at least ad hoc standards on how that gets done. See Fredrick Townes’ W3TC offering configuration help or consulting ON THE settings pages. See Yoast’s WordPress SEO offering SEO consulting ON THE settings pages. It’s similarly well established that when these sorts of attributions/credit notices are global or on the front end they should be OPT IN not OPT OUT.

    The issue here is actually very narrow. Travis added a solicitation for general consulting services GLOBALLY to the WP Admin bar via a update between version 1.6.1 and 1.6.2. I’ve installed things just like this on MY client’s sites in the past so that they have an easy way to get ahold of me, I fully appreciate the value of it, but doing it from a plugin in a .x.x update it raises a BUNCH of issues.

    1) What if everyone did this? The admin bar would be a mess. That everyone doesn’t isn’t an excuse for any one person doing it any more than one person crapping in the street would be OK because everyone doesn’t do it.

    2) I installed and ran this plugin on dozens of clients sites for years. Suddenly a double point release (1.6.1>1.6.2) changes something that substantial that doesn’t just add a solicitation for consulting to the settings page, but adds to globally.

    If Tbar had been in the original 24 releases of the plugin I would have never installed. If the option back then had been to buy the plugin and not have that solicitation, I’d GLADLY have bought the plugin. If there had been some warning like, “hey in a few weeks with version 2.0 I’m adding this Tbar thing globally to solicit for my consulting services, if you’d prefer not to have that there will be a commercial version of my plugin”, I’d GLADLY have bought the plugin. If that commercial version had been the templating engine change it totally would have made sense. If you said “I’m no longer supporting or updating the .org version, please by the commercial version for future updates”, I’d GLADLY have bought the plugin.

    There are PLENTY of avenues these for plugin developers to sell plugins and get PAID for their contributions. See Code Canyon, WP App Store, etc.. As well as people and companies selling plugins independently Pippin,, Event Espresso, etc…

    Trevor if you’re actually interested in reforming how the .org plugin repo works for plugin devs you should check of Tom McFarlin’s post and discussion thread here:

    What I can say is that NO ONE wants to turn .org into a commercial repo where plugins are sold.

    Just to be clear, I really respect Travis and his dev skills. I’d have gladly referred dev work his way had I known he was looking. It’s the his ethics in adding Tbar as a x.x.1 update I find trust destroying.

    “What I can say is that NO ONE wants to turn .org into a commercial repo where plugins are sold.”

    What about me?

    I absolutely want that. Maybe the plugins are only .99 like on the iphone. So the 1500 people that are using my plugin might have ponied up and I could pay a bit of my taxes.

    The problem is that, even though you could create that on your own. Not having it in core effectively biases everyone against that approach.

    My basic problem is. Where are the ethics in using someone else’s work and not compensating them. Why do we have a minimum wage and child labor laws?

    The wordpress repo encourages people to contribute for free and then essentially beg people to value their contribution. Or artificially segment the value of their work in crazy mixed up schemes to give a bit of functionality and then try and get people buy into a paid solution that has to have all it’s own delivery infrastructure.

    What is the good argument for not setting up a market place? Do you think getting paid would lower the quality of wordpress plugins? That is completely counter intuitive.

    I pay for gravity forms, and I see zero good reason why I shouldn’t be able to install it via the repo even though it needs a code. It just makes life harder.

    I’m not buying the argument that everything has to be free. It is actually ridiculous and more than a little insulting to contributors that they have to work so hard and scheme to figure out how to monetize their work.

    WordPress needs the Apple model. Unless you are just allergic to making a living. They have free stuff there. If WordPress really wants to be the center of the universe. Enable the developers with a real business model.

    I thought twice about writing NO ONE… let me clarify it. No one I know on the core team or involved with running the WordPress Foundation or would ever let .org become a commercial market place. The subject has been brought up many many many times over the years, and the conclusion has always been the same… “no way — that’s totally off mission for .org let 3rd parties address that”.

    As I said, I personally have NO problem paying for plugins, there are PLENTY of marketplaces springing up to help devs do that.

    My basic problem is. Where are the ethics in using someone else’s work and not compensating them. Why do we have a minimum wage and child labor laws?

    This make no sense. I understand you’re passionate about plugin devs getting compensated for their work. I am too! However, .org isn’t the place for that. If someone uploads a plugin to the .org repo they are implicitly giving it away for free with no more than a “hope for donations” (which we all know are tiny). No one is forcing plugin devs to distribute their plugins on .org or elsewhere. The GPL is very clear, you don’t HAVE to distribute your code, but if you do it’s got to be GPL.

    The TERMS for the .org plugin repo are pretty clear, I encourage you to READ them:

    Again if you don’t agree with those guidelines, get them changed or distribue your go elsewhere.

    I think you’ll find very little patience in discussing the subject since it’s been so OVER discussed for so many years.


    WordPress is not anti-business. We’ve just decided to keep the Plugin Directory a hosting site for zero-cost plugins.

    Agenda for 2009/09/03 dev chat: – Discus…

    and then use the google machine for 100’s of other similar discussions and conclussions from Matt, Otto, Jaquith, Nacin and others….

    I get it, it just makes no sense. And I don’t believe that is not in some way geared to be anti competition. You can see the service offering continual expanding and the wall between what is “official” WordPress and what is not is clearly defined.

    It will keep coming up when people who are giving something away for free are criticized in any way for the form of that thing.

    I have no desire to be a bore. I just want to be convinced and I keep feeling like I’m being hit by internet trolls when people keep touting something open source and free as being great. A sustainable labor force is way more important to me than open coding.

    I suppose I don’t care that they repo is only free. But wouldn’t it be great if there was a second paid repo we could all get on board with that was installed by default.

    What is the argument against that? And how is not being in favor of that respectful of the development community. Would it harm the free portions any more than the existence of VaultPress or VideoPress?

    The reason I jumped on this thread is I hate seeing someone giving something away for free having to defend the form of that thing. It’s free. There is no reasonable expectation that it meet any criteria. It if doesn’t meet the repos criteria it can be removed. If it does than they only reasonable action is respectful request that it might be different to meet the community standard.

    My first response is always empathy. If I install a plugin and it throws something up on my dashboard, or anywhere and I don’t like it I at least understand why it is happening.

    Implying that the person is untrustworthy. That’s just nonsense.

    suppose I don’t care that they repo is only free. But wouldn’t it be great if there was a second paid repo we could all get on board with that was installed by default.

    What is the argument against that? And how is not being in favor of that respectful of the development community. Would it harm the free portions any more than the existence of VaultPress or VideoPress?

    The harm is that .org has enough weight that giving any ONE marketplace space would destroy all the other avenues. Just like the Apple App Store effectively limits non-apple approved apps, the jailbroken community exists, but just barely. It’s effectively impossible to distribute iphone apps without paying Apple a 30% cut. Is that what you want for WordPress? That doesn’t even consider who would actually manage it and get paid to manage it? Who would support the plugins sold through it? How would it not just be another Code Canyon with a myriad of plugins of varying quality with varying support with very little for consumers to judge one? BTW, my understanding is .org is managed and run mostly on Matt’s financial charity and the freely given time of several core teams and contributors (@otto42 being the primary), but with props to the theme and plugin review teams (all unpaid).

    Finally .org is a COMMUNITY resource and for the COMMUNITY resource to play favorites with one marketplace is flat out wrong and unfair. Witness the current controversy over Creative Market getting (assumed free) front page advertising just for being 100% GPL.

    I get it, it just makes no sense. And I don’t believe that is not in some way geared to be

    anti competition. You can see the service offering continual expanding and the wall between what is “official” WordPress and what is not is clearly defined.

    I understand the skepticism, but it’s fairly misplaced since both are pretty much ultimately run by Matt. For all the flack Matt gets for the conflict of interest he does a remarkable job of supporting .org while running .com. Witness Matt pretty much single handedly deciding that Creative Market should get front page billing on the .org home page or .org for launching a 100% GPL theme marketplace (Note:I’m hugely opposed to what Matt did here — see: ). Further, unless this has changed in the last year, witness Matt footing the hosting bill for .org (which I’ve heard is 5 figures a month, although don’t know if that rumor is true, but I wouldn’t doubt it). Witness Automatic dumping huge capital into funding WP Engine which is far more a competitor to .com and VIP then “” could ever be conceived to be. The examples go on, but that’s really WAY off-topic here and well discussed elsewhere.

    Implying that the person is untrustworthy. That’s just nonsense.

    It’s my opinion based on Travis’ judgement in adding Tbar the way he did. I’ve explained my opinion pretty extensively you’re certainly entitled to dismiss it.

    Respectfully, I’m done with this conversation as I don’t think I have anything more to add that hasn’t been said many times before.

    Just to be clear, I’m not on forums complaining about how they run their business. Open Source implies and comes from a place where people discuss ethics and the right and wrong of what should and show not be. That rubs me the wrong way, because once you start down the road of legally binding other people with licenses based upon your visions of ethical behavior (the gpl), you open yourself up to endless scrutiny of your own commercial activities.

    I respect your desire to be done with the conversation. I’m super tired of it myself. As a person that is trying to make a living in the web space, that values the independent lifestyle, for myself and for others. I think having source code that you can base your work on provides great opportunity to participate in the market and not have to move to a regimented corporate lifestyle.

    However, that is what I believe the primary benefit of source is, that it allows people who facilitate solutions to be able to modify those to meet the needs of customers. I don’t think free and open are equal concepts. Free devalues things that have value and at is core is lie, if something has value someone else paid for it even though you might have consumed it without paying. In most circumstances someone pretends to give you something for free while charging you a price for something else that also pays for the free thing.

    In WordPress free means that the person receiving it is just completely devaluing your contribution if they don’t donate. I find the idea that encouraging people to devalue their own work and the work of others to be weird and not in any way a moral position to take.

    I want to be convince otherwise, because I like the idea of finding the moral high ground and occupying it. So when I see people moralizing I want one of them to be without reproach so I have something to follow. And it breaks my brain when I feel like people are falling short.

    To be clear, your opinion on the appropriate place to market your plugin is not necessarily wrong in my opinion. I just think that if there is a right and wrong way to do it, we need to bake the standards into core and provide hooks to encourage that it is done in the right way. Instead of having everyone do it haphazardly because it is really not supported at all.

    I have a plugin that has some 1500+ downloads. And I’m considering updating it to include some more marketing for me. I want to find the “right” way to do that, and since so many others are in the same position doesn’t it make sense to put in place some physical code standards rather than just having track down the 1000 different ways people are addressing that problem and risk getting bad reviews because you picked the wrong answer.

    So I’m on board that it should be brought up, I just smelled an uncivil tone which I don’t response well to. Especially when I haven’t had much sleep.

    Consider the idea for a minute that maybe there should be a support status readout. So for free plugins, you could go an donate a requested amount which entitles you to some offered support. So when you go into your plugin list you can see which plugins you have support for and which you don’t with the opportunity to jump to the donation page and enable the support flag.

    That way it isn’t a paid plugin but you are able to keep track of support. So when you go to update your plugins you can be clear which ones you can update with an assurance that if it breaks you have a way to request a fix from the source.

    Again, you can clearly make and sell stuff yourself, but the real value is being able to get exposure to the millions of sites. So the good opportunities to support the development community are all in the hands of the core team. The farther away you push the call to action to support plugin developers, the more out of site out of mind it is.

    In the long run, finding a middle ground is only going to help WordPress by keeping developers away from other cms platforms. Every developer that stays away from other solutions is another coin in the pocket of Matt Mullinweg because of the Halo affect of people signing up for and using And that is biggest argument for a marketplace run by

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