[wp-hackers] Advertising on Plugin Option Pages

Glenn Pegden glenn at pegden.com
Thu Sep 8 22:09:33 UTC 2011

Whilst I agree this is pretty shady practice (and I welcome plugins doing it
excluded from the svn repo), I'd still like to see things like this
documented so that plugin developers don't have to sit on lists like
wp-hackers and/or submit plugins and wait to see if they pass/fail just know
"the rules" for inclusion in the svn repo.

Despite the only documentation I can find (
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/about/) not mentioning them in the
restrictions, a quick google has brought up :-

a. Any commercial plugin (even if GPLed) that doesn't have sufficient
functionality without paying.
b. Anything that contains obfuscated code (through weirdly PayPal buttons
seem exempt).
c. Anything that contains third party advertising (unless off by default).
d. Any plugin written solely to promote a third party service.
e. Anything that adds affiliate links / advertising (presumably unless it
expressly states it does ?).
f. Any forked project that isn't sufficiently different from an existing

Is there anything else we should be aware of ?

Also, if third party behaviour tracking scripts in the admin area are now
frowned on, can we blitz all those plugins that spam the dash board with
content from an RSS feed on the authors website (the call to which I assume
is used to track usage at the author's end) ?


On Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 10:11 PM, Jackson Whelan <jw at jacksonwhelan.com>wrote:

> On 9/8/11 4:06 PM, Otto wrote:
>> On Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 2:32 PM, Jackson Whelan<jw at jacksonwhelan.com>
>>  wrote:
>>> I stumbled across a plugin from the repository today with Google AdSense
>>> banners on the options page. With a call to action above it - 'Click here
>>> if
>>> you like this plugin.' - to boot!
>>> Obviously this is a little tacky (aside from violating AdSense's TOS),
>>> but I
>>> was just wondering if there's a policy here? Or maybe this is more common
>>> than I realize.
>>> Not trying to rat anyone out, just genuinely curious.
>> In general, things like banner or text link advertising should not be
>> anywhere in a plugin, including on its settings screen. Advertising on
>> settings screens is generally ineffective anyway, as ideally users
>> rarely visit these screens, and the advertising is low quality because
>> the ad-systems cannot see the page content to determine good ads. So
>> they’re best just left off entirely. Putting links back to your own
>> site or to your social-network-system of choice is fine. Furthermore,
>> if the plugin does include advertising from a third party service, it
>> must default to completely disabled, in order to prevent tracking
>> information from being collected from the user without their consent.
>> TLDR: No, it's not kosher.
> Thanks for the replies.
> I'll go ahead and drop a line to plugins at wordpress.org.
> This one* in particular does indeed load working AdSense banners on the
> option pages, without the ability to disable.
> I for one don't enjoy seeing behavior tracking scripts from third parties
> loaded in my wp-admin
> - Jackson
> * http://wordpress.org/extend/**plugins/highslide-integration/<http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/highslide-integration/>
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Tel: 0113 815 3777
Personal Website: http://glenn.pegden.com
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