I started to write a comment on BJ’s posting today on the trouble going on with WordPress, but it became so long I decided I should blog it.
If you haven’t heard yet, it’s been found out that Matt Mullenweg was covertly
linking to hosting some 120,000+ shady content pages which were created for the sole purpose of bringing in Adsense revenue for high profit keywords. Matt allegedly admitted to only receiving a set fee and all Adsense revenue went to the owner of those pages. [ read all about it ]
I think the reason why so many people are upset about the situation is because it taints the idealistic view of WordPress. I know I personally held WordPress in very high regard, not just the software, but the purpose, the drive, the community.
My personal feelings have only changed slightly in light of recent events. I still hold WordPress the software in high regard and that won’t change, I still enjoy the community, but now I’m questioning the drive and motive.
I’m not mad at Matt. Open Source Software makers generally receive no love and even less donations, so I can definitely see the need for earning some money on the side. I can’t blame Matt for that – the man cannot live on building free software alone.
Another reason why I’m not so mad at Matt for doing what he did is because I get pissy when people screw with my time and my hard work (with not so much as a thank you), so I expect all the WordPress developers and contributors to be a little pissy when people are ungrateful or don’t give back to the community in some way.
I know plenty of people who remove any and all reference to WordPress from their site, don’t donate, and don’t help out in the support forums or build plugins/themes for WordPress – not even a thank you. That, in my eyes, is just as bad (or worse) than what Matt did.
Obviously the “dark side” was offering something a whole lot better than the “idealistic views of WordPress” side was. My main concern is – what’s really going on behind the development screen? It’s like there’s some dark underbelly of WordPress that I don’t know about and that’s what worries me.
I read somewhere that the developers don’t receive any portion of the donations and people are already figuring out ways to monetize WordPress for their own benefit, but what’s the extent of it all?
Regarding the implications of his actions on the search engines, I’ve known since the moment I discovered CSS that some of the nifty tricks we use to make our lives easier could be used to abuse SEs and lead to what’s considered “shady SEO practices”.
I certainly hope that the big G doesn’t drop WordPress.org because they have a wealth of information on their site that people need on a daily basis and wouldn’t find it w/o a web search…
I honestly hope this can be worked out. My personal feeling though is that Google won’t drop WP.org from the index. They may give Matt a very stern warning, but I don’t think they’d actually drop him and I don’t think the little powered by links will affect the rank of the linking site.
On another note: I really need to figure out how to get rid of this rel=”nofollow” crap from my comments section. I know, I know, it’s there for a reason – <sarcasm>my commenters are spammers and their links should be worthless or something</sarcasm>. If I ever decide to abandon my blog, I’ll be sure to turn it back on.
If anyone knows of a quick & painless (hopefully doesn’t make me think – or better yet, logs in and does it for me automagically because it’s wrapped up in a plugin) way to remove them, please let me know