Trust in the WordPress Community

Posted by Darryl Schmidt on December 5, 2021 at 1:23 pm
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In a community where there’s people creating something that is going to be used by other people, there needs to be trust. Not only trust of the creators, but the community must reciprocate.

Whether there’s a cost to the product or service or not, the users need to be fair to the creators. If there’s a cost, then users need to pay that price. If there’s usage restrictions, then those restrictions must be honoured.

A community can’t be all give, nor can it be all take. If there isn’t trust on both sides, the community will start to break down.

Trust with Pricing and Policy

Recently I was dealing with one of the several hosting companies that I use. They’re in the process of doubling their prices after reducing service. Their concession was to only raise the price 30% the first year, then go straight to double. As my needs haven’t changed and the service they are providing me has decreased (added usage restrictions), I questioned the increase.

Rather than just say that they’ve changed their business model and don’t want me as a customer anymore, I received a flurry of self-serving marketing speak. A company has the right to change their direction but being dishonest about it means they don’t deserve the trust of their customers.

My trust level for this company has been damaged to the point where I no longer want to do business with them. To be clear though, at no time was I told by the hosting company that I would having hosting with them forever with only minor price increases. It’s up to them if they want to drastically change their business model and shed all their existing customers. With the number of hosts available, there are plenty of other options, so I can just take my ball to a different playground.

Fair and Transparent Promotion and Messaging

If you’re involved with WordPress related Facebook groups or follow a lot of people in the WordPress community, every now and then you’ll see someone asking for recommendations. As a community, the WordPress people are typically a helpful bunch. A request for recommendations will usually result and an extensive list of suggestions for products/services that people use and enjoy.

On occasion, you’ll see a pattern emerge where quite a few people recommend a specific service. This would usually be an indication of a superior service, but it’s worth it to take the time to do a little research. Sometimes you’ll see employees of that company pretending to be customers and not disclosing that they are recommending the company that they work for.

From the sheer number incidents and employees masquerading as customers, it’s unlikely that this isn’t a coordinated effort. This results in skewed untrustworthy recommendations that aren’t earned. Your request for help was met with deceit by the very people that you need to trust.

If a company chooses to use their employees to produce fake recommendations, can you trust them?

Do Acquisitions also Acquire Existing Licenses?

With the numerous company acquisitions in the WordPress sphere, do the new owners of products and services need to honour existing licenses? What if these licenses mean that the new company will be required to provide support for customers that haven’t contributed to their bottom line?

During the most recent drama with Delicious Brains and ACF, I think Paul from WP Tuts said it best in a video on his YouTube channel

Even though Delicious Brains keeps saying that they will honour the lifetime licenses, does this behavior effect your trust? Are you going to feel safe buying future products from them?

If a company with lifetime customers is acquired by another, those lifetime licenses are also part of the deal. When the purchase is made, the purchaser should know exactly what they’re buying.

There are diverse ways of viewing lifetime licenses and it’s up to the servicing company to make the most of them. If you treat your lifetime license holders as a drain on your resources, that is on YOU.

A smart company would see a group of customers that have already made a commitment to their platform. Creating additional related products and services that would benefit the existing customers is only one way of generating addition revenue.

Division Within the Community

Creating groups with the intent of keeping some people out, goes against the spirit of the WordPress community. When people considered to be community leaders self-declare themselves as “Gatekeepers”, they’re saying that they are better than the rest of us.

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