Issue #51
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This week in WordPress

Is Visual Composer for sale?

"Who wants to buy a WordPress plugin that generates $182,484 in net-profit per month? Only $12 million!," tweets WebDevStudios CEO Brad Williams, adding: "It's most likely Visual Composer."

He links to a Flippa ad for a Well-known, established and highly-respected WordPress Plugin. The reactions to the ad — if it is Visual Composer — probably go some way to explaining why the listing has since been taken down.

"If it is Visual Composer I can't see this being a wise investment when you look at the current Page Builder landscape especially with Elementor and Beaver Builder and that not including Gutenberg," tweets WordPress security consultant Tim Nash.

In the latest MasterWP newsletter, Alex Denning, who runs Ellipsis Marketing, tells readers "It's been a rocky few years for Visual Composer." For many years it was the go-to drag and drop builder for WordPress and its bundling with a huge number of themes on ThemeForest helped catapult its success. But in recent years, as Alex writes, "…it's been more difficult sailing." The product was rebranded to WP Bakery and then back again, it was plagued by security issues and, as Tim points to, competition from other new and forward-thinking page builders has changed the landscape.

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WordPress 5.6 release candidate now available

The first release candidate for WordPress 5.6 is out. Josepha Haden, release lead and Executive Director of the WordPress project, tells users "It's an important milestone in the community's progress toward the final release of WordPress 5.6" on 8 December.

"Test all the things," tweets the folks at video streaming app Hapity, reminding users to help test the release candidate via the WordPress Beta Tester plugin or by directly downloading the release.

Conservative Treehouse kicked off WordPress.com for violating terms

The Conservative Treehouse, a political blog hosted on WordPress.com for the past 10 years, has been forced to find new hosting after violating Automattic's terms of service, reports Sarah Gooding for WPTavern.

The site's anonymous owner, who has previously been identified as Florida resident Mark Bradman, claims the Treehouse has been deplatformed and "…the big tech control mechanism to shut down speech & assembly has now arrived on our doorstep."

Mark says he received the TOS violation notice after publishing COVID-19 IS THE AGENDA. While Automattic hasn't provided details of how its rules were violated, Sarah says the post in question includes an image of a knife with the word "resist" written on it, followed by the words "whatever it takes."

In an update about Treehouse 2.0 published yesterday, Mark says the blog will be moved to a new, yet-to-be-determined platform before its "eviction" on 2 December. He says scale will be a priority due to the blog's 500,000-1 million daily unique visitors.

Gatsby chooses WordPress for its blog

In what might come as a surprise to those who were disappointed the new W3C site won't be built on WordPress, the team behind Gatsby, a React-based open source framework for building sites and apps, has chosen WordPress to power its blog.

"✨Initially, Gatsby produced our content in a public GitHub repo. As our team grew and added staff from different disciplines, this workflow became less ideal. 💬After some lively debate about which CMS to adopt, here's how we landed on WordPress," tweets the Gatsby team, linking to Senior Product Marketing Manager Hashim Warren's post about why Gatsby chose headless WordPress for their blog.

"Best choice. After trying multiple data sources compatible with Gatsby I did the same choice. Great flexibility, many things available out of the box or with plugins, huge community," tweets Pixel Point CEO Alex Barashkov, while Facebook frontend developer Daniel Lo Nigro tweets, "One thing that's not really mentioned in the article is that WordPress has fantastic UX for non-technical users. They do a lot of usability studies and it really shows."

A different spin on Black Friday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren't just about queues, fights in aisles, or chaos caused by discounted Nutella (you might want to google that one), they're also a big deal in the WordPress world. So this year at Weglot, we took the time to really think about what we wanted to achieve in what can only be described as a pretty different year for all of us.
So, for 2020, there'll be no discounted Weglot plans.

Instead, 50% of all sales made on Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be donated to global and local organizations, helping to make a difference for those impacted by the pandemic.

Being among the fortunate businesses still running, we wanted to contribute (at our scale) to a number of different causes such as hospitals, researchers and organizations helping with ongoing issues, including poverty and hunger that has increased due to the pandemic.

So, on the 27th and 30th of November, whether you're a new or existing Weglot customer, you'll be helping to play a role in supporting several good causes. We'll detail the full list of organizations we will be donating to afterward.

Read more about the initiative from our co-founder Augustin Prot on our 👉 blog.
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In other WordPress news...

  • Millions of WordPress sites have been hit in wide-ranging attack, reports freelance journalist Barclay Ballard for TechRadar. On the Wordfence blog, threat analyst Ram Gall gets more specific: the security company noticed a large-scale wave of attacks against recently reported function injection vulnerabilities in themes using the Epsilon Framework. So far, the team has seen a surge of more than 7.5 million attacks against more than 1.5 million sites targeting these vulnerabilities.
  • – Enterprise agency 10up has announced some updates to its ClassifAI plugin, which augments WordPress sites with artificial intelligence and machine learning services. ClassifAI 1.6 integrates the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) scanning of screenshots and other imagery. As 10up's Open Source Practice Manager Jeff Paul explains, ClassifAI 1.6 launches on the heels of Facebook and Instagram dropping support for open embeds. The OCR technology in the plugin makes it easier to display social media posts on WordPress sites without compromising accessibility.
  • WordPress Core Team rep Francesca Marano, who's also Core Team Lead at Yoast, seeking more feedback on her proposal to align the WordPress release cycle with the industry standard. "🗣️Voices in the comments are not representative enough for me to feel comfortable about bringing the proposal to WP leadership," she tweets. The deadline for feedback has been extended to 2 December.
  • WPGraphQL 1.0 Released, Now Available in WordPress.org Plugins Directory, reports WPTavern's Sarah Gooding. WPGraphQL is a free, open-source WordPress plugin that provides an extendable GraphQL schema and API for any WordPress site. The release comes nearly four years after the project launched in November 2016. It's already had quite a lot of real-world usage ahead of its first stable release, Sarah explains, counting QZ.com and Denverpost.com among the high profile sites it's used on.
  • Joe Casabona, who helps people launch and grow podcasts, has written about How Virtual Events are Changing the WordPress Event Landscape for Torque. His key takeaway: virtual events are here to stay and in 2021 and beyond, we'll see a healthy mix of both virtual and in-person events. "And hearing from more voices in the community is a great thing," Joe writes.
  • – ICYMI (because we did!), The Repository turned one year old last week. Happy birthday to us! A big THANK YOU to you, our amazing subscribers. We appreciate your tweets, email replies to our issues (we love feedback!), and all-round support of this newsletter. Here's to another year bringing you WordPress news and views 🎉
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