Is It Okay For Plugins To Promote Themselves?

| Created: September 5th, 2007
WordPress Opinion 18 Comments

The upcoming release of the DualFeeds plugin for WordPress includes an optional feature which promotes the plugin by displaying ‘Powered By DualFeeds’. I want to know what you think about this – is it okay for plugins to promote themselves?

The feature in question is the DualFeeds sidebar widget, which provides links for the reader to subscribe to the Full Post, Summary and Comments Feeds. You can see an example of it in my sidebar – the bright orange one!

The user does not have to use this feature. They can set the sidebar widget to use text links, or they can manually setup links to the feeds in their theme.

I stopped short of adding a link to the plugin home page (though I was tempted), because it was too close to the Comment Feed link. I didn’t want people accidently clicking the DualFeeds link by accident.

Some plugins, such as the excellent Lucia’s Linky Love do add a link (it can be turned off), but most plugins don’t promote themselves at all.

What do you think – is self promotion by a plugin okay? Please let me know in the comments or via the following poll:

Is it okay for plugins to promote themselves?

View Results

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I appreciate that the circumstances have a bearing on whether it is acceptable or not, so I’d be grateful for any specific feedback on the “Powered By DualFeeds” statement.

18 responses on “Is It Okay For Plugins To Promote Themselves?

  1. Lucia Liljegren

    Interesting question. I’ll have to see what others think.

    I voted. But you already know what I think. 🙂

    I think people should get full functionality and all features whether or not they post a link to the plugin. SpamKarma does this also.

    The unfortunate fact is that if your hook for visitors is a service like plugins (or really nearly anything), you sort of have to beg for links and also for people to publicize the plugin. One reason is that , generally speaking, dicussing plugins is not in a particular persons blog niche, so they don’t mention they are using it!

    The alternative is having plugin authors request donations (which they could either use to buy beer or spend at pay per post!)

  2. Slevi

    I think it should be completely optional, without the ability to turn it off I wouldn’t even be using a plugin. Just imagine if you’d be using 7 plugins which all would be placing some sort of sponsor link on them, it would end up looking more like you’re advertising a bunch of plugins than anything else.

    Usually I change plugins at a redesign of my blog mainly with here and there sometimes a minor exception, but since it’s all in one time I tend to write a little post just to show gratitude to those who wrote the plugins and saved me a heck load of time :P.

  3. Stephen Cronin Post author

    Lucia, for what it’s worth, I agree with you and I think the way you’ve done things with Linky Love is absolutely fine.

    I’m having a little trouble with getting the word out about DualFeeds (152 downloads in a month isn’t terrible, but it could be much higher), which is why I’ve gone with the Powered By DualFeeds thing. I’ve tried to keep it low key so it doesn’t annoy people, but I’m just trying to find another way to promote it. Maybe we should start a plugin awareness link exchange!

    I’ve gone with Buy Me A Beer, but I think I’ll beg for links as well – I’m greedy! 🙂 No donations so far – I’m not really expecting any, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens. I’d like to know what results other people using Buy Me A Beer have got. I suspect it’s a very popular plugin with site owners, but not with site visitors.

    Slevi, thanks for your comments – I see your point about lots of plugins all promoting themselves. That would be unacceptable. And really I would be happy if everyone who used my plugin just wrote a post about it. It’s just tough to get the word out in the first place.

  4. Lucia Liljegren

    My theory about asking donations was that I’d get practically none. But if nudged, people who like your plugin will often blog about it. (And if they don’t, that’s ok too.)

    In the case of “dofollow”, I also have motives other than simple self promotion. I know that if the dofollow bloggers are using my plugin, it will be much more expensive for human comment spam companies to operate.

    Given prices for V7N, PayU2Blog, Blogitive, making it cost $10 in labor to get a spamlink to stick means the spammers are better off just hiring one of the bloggers who is willing to post back to back links!

    That would be much less aggravating for the rest of us. (You’ll notices I don’t beg for links on all my plugins!)

  5. Stephen Cronin Post author

    Lucia, I think you are probably right about the donation issue. I also know you have motives other than self-promotion – it comes through in your writing. For what’s it worth, I agree with you!

  6. Lucia Liljegren

    I didn’t mean to suggest you thought my only motive was self-promotion. 🙂

    The fact is, if you think you’ve created something that helps people in someway, then to actually help, you usually need to make them aware of that item. If the people you help are bloggers and you are a blogger, then for better or worse, publicizing your item effectively generally involves some self promotion.

    ( Conversely, it’s hard to self promote without at least trying to help people in some way. So, I guess things work out fairly!)

  7. Stephen Cronin Post author

    Lucia, that makes sense… Some self promotion is necessary (or you may as well not bother trying!). The issue then is making sure you don’t cross the line and promote to the point that it drives people away. I guess that’s what this post is all about.

    I comfortble that neither of us is crossing that line! 🙂

  8. Opal Tribble

    I don’t see anything wrong with promoting what you’ve accomplished. It’s the least I can do since essentially I’m using that plug in for free. It took time for you to create the least I can do is let you promote what you have accomplished. I use plug-ins and I have started sending donations the to author.

    I also have a Word Press Resources Page plug-in page where all the plug-ins I use are kept. I try to give a brief summary of every plug in that I us or have used. Occasionally in my posts I direct my readers to that page. I know in some cases it has been helpful especially when my readers contact me personally via email about something they’ve seen on my blog that they wanted and yes in my posts I usually suggest some type of donation to the Plug In creator. 🙂

  9. Stephen Cronin Post author

    Hi Opal, Thanks for your input on this.

    As a plugin writer, I wish everyone had the same ideas as you about donations. 🙂 However, I don’t mind if people use my plugins without donations, I’m just happy that they are using the plugin. Donations are the icing on the cake.

    I have plans to create a page listing all the plugins I use – everyone should really have a page like this. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been at a site and have been thinking ‘what plugin do they use to do that’.

    Damn, You are quick! I just had a look at your WordPress Resources page and saw DualFeeds on there already, before I could even answer your comments! Thank you very much for listing it there! I think I’ll check out some of the other plugins listed – there are some I haven’t heard of.

  10. Opal Tribble

    You’re welcome! I actually need to go and add the names and links to the homepage of each Plug In that I’ve listed. If you notice yours is the only one that has this. I realized that I did not do this when I added your information. I’ll try to knock that out of the way early this week. I also noticed I forgot a few. I don’t use them all listed on that page now but once I’ve used them.

    I think some people honestly don’t think about the time that might go into the plugins. 🙂 Occasionally I think it is nice, for me, to gently point it out. A few of my blogging buddies do the same thing.

    It’s a great way to market your fabulous website by offering a free plug-in. I visit often it’s usually via my RSS Feed.

  11. Stephen Cronin Post author

    Opal, I think it’s great that you’re listing the plugins – it can be very hard to get the word out about your plugin, so if people list them and link to them like you do, that really helps.

    Also, it does take a lot of time to write plugins, test them, create documentation, support them etc, so thanks for pointing that out to people.

    I also have your site in my RSS feed. I think your site is great and I read it often.

  12. robwatts

    I voted with the only IF they can change option. I do similar with a plugin of mine. It’s not so bad to ask for a little link equity, I guess it depends on whether its demanded or requested really. Choice is where it’s at 😀

  13. Stephen Cronin Post author

    Hi Rob, thanks for your input. It seems most people, including myself, think the same way.

    I’ve been to your site quite a few times (through the Bumpzee feed), but I never realised you had a plugin. I guess I got distracted by that hat of yours 🙂 I’ll have to check it out (the plugin not the hat).

  14. Jason

    I agree with most in that it is fine to do so, provided it is easy to turn off. A few of the WP plugins I use are built that way. Of course, I have turned all of those features off. 🙂

  15. rob

    @ Stephen, my daughter told me I looked gr8 in that, I only wish I’d bought it now!

    @ Kamy – absolutely. My view is thats its great to get a little recognition; a link does just that.

  16. Stephen Cronin Post author

    Jason, good point! I think most people would turn it off. Having said that, it seems there are quite a few people who would leave it on, people like:

    Kamy and Rob, I agree of course. Its a great way to promote a plugin and it’s a great way to get some recognition for creating something to help others.

  17. Jason@ENT Doctor

    Many plugin developers add advertising information. Just like KeywordLuv or the others but it’s not really a bad thing. There’s no free lunch anyway.

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