Issue #42
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This week in WordPress

GoDaddy acquires ecommerce company SkyVerge

This week in "which big company has acquired a smaller WordPress company"... GoDaddy + Woo + SkyVerge = 🤩" tweets GoDaddy Pro Senior Community Manager Andy McIlwain, linking to the news that SkyVerge is joining GoDaddy.

GoDaddy has acquired the seven-year-old WooCommerce company's team of 34, its 66 extensions, and its popular email marketing platform Jilt for an undisclosed sum.

For GoDaddy, who announced this week it has acquired SkyVerge to help everyday entrepreneurs sell online with WordPress and WooCommerce, the deal bolsters the web host's WordPress ecommerce portfolio. For SkyVerge, it's an "opportunity for us to continue our mission to level the playing field for millions of small eCommerce businesses," writes co-founder Max Rice in We're joining GoDaddy.
It's not clear what GoDaddy plans to do with SkyVerge's products in the long-term, though Max hints his team will "be building something new at GoDaddy."

WP Tavern's Justin Tadlock delves into the details of the acquisition in GoDaddy Acquires SkyVerge, Creator of Over 60 WooCommerce Add-Ons.
Post Status' Brian Krogsgard tweets: "SkyVerge has amazing engineering talent, and the most impressive organizational and ops setup I've seen in any small company. I knew for a fact how interested GoDaddy was. I'm mostly surprised they could convince them to sell. Well done all around. I see many opportunities."

"A massive congrats to the whole @SkyVerge team on joining the @GoDaddy family. I'm so looking forward to joining forces! 💪🏼" tweets Rich Tabor, Senior Product Manager for WordPress Experience at GoDaddy and co-founder of Iceberg.

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Facebook API change set to break millions of websites

In an "extraordinarily inconvenient API change" that is expected to break content across millions of websites, Facebook and Instagram will be dropping unauthenticated oEmbed support on October 24, writes Sarah Gooding for WP Tavern.

The change will force users to generate an app ID with a developer account in order to continue embedding links via oEmbed. In response, WordPress will be removing Facebook as an oEmbed provider in an upcoming core release.

"Say it with me...Don't trust content you don't control!" tweets WebDevStudios CEO Brad Williams, while freelance web developer Dane Morgan comments, "I'm so done with Facebook. I deleted my account a couple of months ago, and I'm certainly not diving back into that swamp to make links to it prettier. I think I may scrub my site to make sure there are no links to it at all."

Gutenberg 9.0 now available. Plus, why do so many people hate it?

Gutenberg 9.0 is out and focuses on improvements to the Navigation Screen and the Query block. Frontend designer/developer and core contributor Isabel Brison shares the full rundown in What's new in Gutenberg? (16 September).

Meanwhile, "Why does then WordPress #gutenberg Block Editor get so many 1 Star reviews? My review of the reviews," tweets Pootlepress founder Jamie Marsland. He links to his video, Why does the WordPress Gutenberg Block Editor get such bad reviews?
As Jamie highlights by clicking through several reviews and answering user painpoints, Gutenberg has fundamental usability and discoverability issues. A sentiment Pro Theme Design owner Ben Gillbanks echoes in the latest MasterWP newsletter.
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"I wish I'd thought about doing this: not the video, but looking through the Gutenberg reviews and working out what people have against the new editor," Ben writes. "…I do think that, if you read between the lines, there's quite a lot to be learnt from the negative reviews and with some improvements to the UX a lot of the complaints could be reduced."

Epic deep dive into WordPress.org theme and plugin data reveals eye-opening statistics

The other half of MasterWP, Ellipsis Marketing owner Alex Denning, tweets "Some really interesting data in this post from @dumitru…" He links to web developer Dumitru Brinzan's epic article The State of Themes and Plugins on WordPress.org in 2020.

Alex shares his takeaways on Twitter, adding "it's the outliers which are most interesting":
  • There are 3x more plugins with "woocommerce" in the name than anything else on WordPress.org.
  • 44.83% of plugins have no ratings.
  • The Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons plugin is way outside the top 100 for active installs (200k), but is the 8th for number of reviews (??? – need to look into what they're doing).
  • Yoast is the most reviewed plugin and has over 3x as many reviews as the next highest.
  • The standard for plugins is pretty high, at least according to reviews. The 100th worst-reviewed plugin has a 3.5 star score. So, 99.7% of plugins have a score of 3.5 stars or higher.
  • Only 16% of plugins (6,414) have never been updated since their initial release.
Dumitru sums up his findings in an 11 minute video, which is well-worth watching if you're a theme or plugin developer. As he summaries at the end, "If you want to build a new business around WordPress, themes should probably be at the bottom of your ideas list."

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In other news...

  • – The WordPress Themes Directory is adding a new "delist" status for non-compliant themes, reports WP Tavern's Sarah Gooding. The move follows the suspension of the popular Astra theme in August for breaking the directory's ban on affiliate links, which put over a million users at risk of not getting updates ahead of the WordPress 5.5 release. The new status will allow the Themes Team to temporarily hide a theme from search on WordPress.org while still making affected themes available directly.
  • – Sarah also reports that WordPress' Support Team contributors are discussing how they can curb support requests for commercial products on the official WordPress.org forums. She explains that users sometimes seek help for commercial product upgrades on the forums of the free version, not knowing the moderators' official policy is to refer them to the extension's commercial support channel.
  • Wordfence is continuing to monitor a vulnerability in the free File Manager plugin that allows unauthenticated users to execute commands and upload malicious files on target sites. In Attackers Fight for Control of Sites Targeted in File Manager Vulnerability, QA Engineer and Threat Analyst Ram Gall says the security company recorded attacks on over 1.7 million sites by 4 September and that figure increased to 2.6 million sites by 10 September.
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