Issue #64
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This week in WordPress

Elementor ads highlight split in WordPress community vs ecosystem

Elementor has been criticized for using the term "Full Site Editing" in its advertising, and also undermining the WordPress project. But those in the WordPress economy — as opposed to the WordPress community — say the page building company is being unfairly targeted.

Sarah Gooding at WPTavern reports this week that Elementor raised eyebrows with its Google Ads targeting Full-Site Editing. She says Birgit Pauli-Haack, publisher of the Gutenberg Times, pointed out the ads in the Post Status Slack community.

The article didn't go down well with commenters. Site Design developer Stephen Vaughan was the first to comment: "Storm in teacup me thinks. Sounds like the Gutenberg cohort are being a bit precious. So far defined as being able to edit header, footer and body templates, well Elementor and other page builders have been doing that for a while now, and dare I say it in a more user friendly and sophisticated way."

Industry analyst and strategist Robert Jacobi explores the WordPress Community vs WordPress Economy perspectives. In other words, contributors to the WordPress project versus those who run businesses built on WordPress.

He also shares WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg's unapologetic response, also posted in the Post Status Slack community: "You're on 7M+ sites, you raised 15M+ dollars, you claim to be the '#1 Free WordPress Website Builder' — it would be a good time to stop trying to undermine community efforts in the same space, we go farther when we work together instead of engage in internecine warfare."

Robert's take? "… this is lightyears from internecine warfare. It's a shrewd move by a business. No one is going over to the Wix offices with pitchforks every time their name comes up in an ad for WordPress, why are we beating up on 'our own?'"

Meanwhile, over on Twitter, LayerWP's Ben tweets, "Can you imagine how great the JigoShop experience could have been? We did; that's why we forked it, say hello to WooCommerce.' It's all cutlery."

AccessiBe addresses fake reviews on WordPress.org

Speaking of community vs economy, AccessiBe's Affiliate Program Director Ran Regev says the automated accessibility company is also being unfairly targeted after reviews of its product on WordPress.org were removed following reports they were fake.

Ran tells The Repository AccessiBe wasn’t informed that accessibility consultant Joe Dolan had investigated the authenticity of its reviews and they were being taken down, adding “… the only reviews that were left were the 1 star reviews, which we know for a fact were not written by our customers.”

"We do find it surprising that 11 suspicious reviews made the prime headline news in WPTavern,” Ran says, referring to Sarah Gooding’s article WordPress.org Removes Fake Reviews for AccessiBe Plugin. “The article was published on the same day that the reviews were removed, which makes for questionable timing as well. And again, we received no warning or request to respond.

"We think it's safe to say that we're being 'targeted' by people who don't want us as competition. Though we stress, and will continue to stress, that we all want the same thing, which is an accessible Internet."

There was no ill intent or conspiracy on Sarah's part. She tells The Repository she was simply on deadline and didn't get in touch. She’s offered to write a follow-up story.

Joe sets out how he identified the fake reviews in AccessiBe & the fake WordPress plug-in reviews. Since the apparent fake reviews came to light, WordPress maintenance service WP Buffs has publicly withdrawn its support for AccessiBe, last week tweeting, "Recently we've taken on a few collaborations with AccessiBe, believing them to be a worthwhile tool for making the web more accessible. We are really disappointed to hear this news and regret spreading any misinformation regarding their tool."

The Repository contacted the Plugin Reviews Team to clarify its policy regarding contacting plugin developers before removing reviews but didn’t receive a response before deadline. We’ll keep you posted.

GoDaddy making Skyverge extensions for WooCommerce free for customers

Following its acquisition of SkyVerge last year, GoDaddy has announced it will make the company's WooCommerce extensions available to its managed WordPress ecommerce customers for free. That's tech writer Anthony Spadafora's story for TechRadar this week: GoDaddy and WordPress want to supercharge your ecommerce site.

The new plugin bundle includes over 75 premium extensions. Industry analyst and strategist Robert Jacobi says GoDaddy is amping up its WooCommerce offering. He interviews Adam Warner, GoDaddy Global Field Marketing Sr. Manager, who says when it comes to GoDaddy versus the ecommerce competition, GoDaddy offers for free what would otherwise cost hundreds of dollars per year.

SiteGround activates cache by default, annoys customers

SiteGround announced this week it's making changes to its SuperCacher feature that will make its customer's websites up to five times faster. But it seems the web host missed the recent backlash following All In One SEO's decision to enable automatic updates by default.

As Robert Jacobi says in SiteGround SuperCacher Rollout Issues, the web host rolled out updates to its SuperCacher feature, including activating dynamic cache on its servers by default, with "what appears to be zero notice, and depending on the type of site, a relatively awkward fix that involves editing .htaccess."

Robert adds, "I've known the SiteGround team for many years and am surprised by this kind of infrastructure push. The answer from (SiteGround's Manager of WordPress Initiatives) Hristo Pandjarov in the comments on why there is no easy switch probably irks me…”

Responding to comments beneath the announcement, Hristo also says, "All the changes [SiteGround] made were done as safe as possible… we've rolled out the update on almost hundred shared servers and got only two complaints which gave us the confidence to proceed."

What's new in Gutenberg

The Gutenberg team has released version 10.1. Automattic JavaScript Engineer Nik Tsekouras says the release includes improvements to reusable blocks, better clarity on the Image toolbar, and spacing options for social links and buttons, in addition to improvements to Full Site Editing, Widgets and Navigation screens and Global Styles.

In other Gutenberg news, Anne McCarthy, a developer relations wrangler at Automattic and program manager for the FSE outreach experiment, has outlined updates to the core editor's performance which make it faster — and are now available in Gutenberg 10.1. Robert Jacobi, who’s had a busy week covering WordPress news, says the "genius contributors" at Make WordPress Core have made an "awesomely smart update."

WP Engine announces new headless WordPress product line

"Ahead of the DE{CODE} 2021 conference today @wpengine announcing it's getting into the #WordPress headless space," tweets WordPress developer David Bisset, linking to the web host's news that it has launched Atlas, a new headless WordPress product line. The headless WordPress platform includes dynamic Node.js and headless WordPress in one package with the customer’s choice of modern framework.

Digital experience platform Crowd Favorite tweets, "Congratulations, @wpengine on the announcement of Atlas, the complete #headless @WordPress platform. #wpeDECODE

Meanwhile, Matt Landers, who looks after developer relations for WP Engine, shares how things don't always go according to plan, tweeting, "I did a fun video @wpengine for our Atlas (headless WordPress) platform launch. Here is a behind the scenes look. I call it ‘The Cost of Content’. 🔊

Meet GoDaddy Pro member Shereitta Myrick

Shereitta Myrick is the driving force behind Assured Purpose Digital Creative Agency LLC, a North Carolina-based operation that offers an array of services to empower clients' success. Shereitta works with individuals and organizations throughout the U.S., providing help that includes transformation, business empowerment, life coaching, virtual assistance, web design and content creation.

How does she manage all that on any given day? Shereitta credits the Hub from GoDaddy Pro for helping her keep things streamlined. "Business before GoDaddy Pro managing so many different tasks, clients, websites, meeting the turn around promised was impossible and definitely not profitable," she says.
"GoDaddy Pro elevated my business on so many levels. I would definitely recommend it to anyone starting as a freelance designer or starting their own agency. It changed the game for my business."

People who use the Hub report saving an average of three hours each month for every website they manage for clients. From the Hub's central dashboard, you can check on multiple websites without the tedium of logging in to each one separately. It drastically simplifies mundane tasks like running updates or security checks. That gives you more time to efficiently deliver better results to your clients. Are you ready to start taking back that kind of time? Sign up for free.
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In other WordPress news...

  • The second release candidate for WordPress 5.7 is now available. If you can, help test it. WordPress 5.7 is slated for release on March 9. If you're not up to date on what's coming in this release, Kinsta covers What's New in WordPress 5.7 (Lazy-Loading, HTTPS, UI Updates, New APIs, and Much More).
  • Enterprise agency 10up celebrated its 10th anniversary in February. President and Founder Jake Goldman takes a look at the past decade in 10 Years And Up, sharing how the company started ("… I sat down alone in a small home office in Rhode Island, and decided I was ready to start this business."), how the company's first hire, Helen Hou-Sandi, has led three releases of WordPress ("10up is one of the largest contributors to WordPress, and Helen is our Director of Open Source Initiatives."), and how these past few months, the company was a development partner for the new WhiteHouse.gov website.
  • Wordfence has warned of a medium severity vulnerability that has been patched in the User Profile Picture plugin. Threat Analyst Chloe Chamberland says the free plugin is installed on over 60,000 sites. Her colleague, QA Engineer and Threat Analyst Ram Gall, is also warning WooCommerce Upload Files users to upgrade to the latest version after identifying a potential zero-day vulnerability in the plugin. In other security news, iThemes has published part one of its March WordPress vulnerability roundup.
  • Shereitta Myrick is the driving force behind Assured Purpose Digital Creative Agency LLC, a North Carolina-based operation that offers an array of services to empower clients' success. Shereitta credits the Hub from GoDaddy Pro for helping her keep things streamlined. People who use the Hub report saving an average of three hours each month for every website they manage for clients. Sign up for free. Sponsored link
  • ICYMI, Robert Jacobi has delved into WordPress.org hosting and trademark rumors. Specifically, why the WordPress.org hosting page hasn’t been updated since 2018. TL;DR: "1. The hosting page is not pay-for-play, 2. A review of the hosting page should be forthcoming, 3. The Bluehost ad will be addressed, 4. Automattic can commercially sub-license 'WordPress' and 5. Rumors quashed!"
  • In last week's issue of The Repository (issue #63), we shared that Raidbox Internationalization & Global Strategy Lead Caspar Hübinger had tweeted evidence from 2018 that Bluehost breached the WordPress Foundation's trademark rules. To clarify, Casper's tweet was not evidence of a breach. He tells us, "Personally, I'd assume they had obtained the right to do what they did (which would make it a dark pattern)."
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