PSA: #WordPress – Whoring Out the Free Blogs

Yep, it’s official. Time to bend over Free WordPress Users, Big Daddy Pimp has shown up. We all know that the free blogs have ads on them but if you have an ad blocker you don’t notice. Big Daddy has decided that it’s time to take things up another notch however. Introducing, Native Sponsored Posts!

Yep, ADS are now going to full on posts inserted into our free blogs. If you read the above article closely, you see that right now it is just for WP’s use but they promise that eventually these sponsored posts will be available for use to others. So get ready to be gang raped by proxy.

And they lie their asses off about it on the official forums: My Website has been taken over/hacked by an ad. In particular, please note Quote ##3610590 by JerrySarcastic. He states that “As long as one post is published on the site, this sponsored post is not shown.” That is a complete lie and Jerry is an official staff member on the official WordPress.com forums.

I can testify that I have seen these native sponsored posts on extremely active, but free, sites. I’ve seen them at BookWyrmReads and EarnestlyEccentric. Unfortunately, I did NOT take a screen shot. Thankfully, and I have permission from Alex to use his address, I did catch a screen shot of what they look like at AlexonFilm.com. Alex, while using a dotcom address, is using a free wordpress.com plan.

The reason I’ve included this screenshot is because these “posts” are a moving target. They don’t stay there. They’re inserted and then randomly disappear. So you can go visit Alex’s site and chances are you’ll never see that post at all. I want a record because if anyone brings up the issue on the forums I fully expect Jerry and his ilk to backpedal and lie again.

I’ve deliberately used inflammatory language throughout this post. That is because I’ve only got words to use. Make no mistake, this isn’t some Call to Action, or to Boycott WordPress.com or to leave or to take ANY action at all. The truth of the matter is, there isn’t anywhere else you can go for free (and remember, if you’re not paying for it, you are the product). Over the last year WP.com has been actively and I might say, hostilely, doing everything they can to monetize their services and make using the free option as painful as possible. What this post is is a call to awareness. You need to know what is going on on your own blog and then make the choice what you’re going to do about it, even if that choice is to do nothing, like me.

I have decided to do nothing for now. But being aware of this, I’ve decided where my Rubicon is. If WordPress starts inserting posts sponsored anyone other than WP.com then I’ll have to leave the free plan. Whether I leave WP or just upgrade to the personal plan (ie, dotcom) I have not decided yet.

In closing, please give this a minutes thought and at least decide if this is an issue or not for you.