I recently discovered that WordPress effectively hijacked WriterInSoul by, without either asking or telling me, sticking a post of their own into my blog. It appears just before my own last post, “Short Thought” dated 3/14. I found the intrusive post by happenstance; it doesn’t show up “behind the scenes”, only on the public blog itself. I even logged out of my blog and took a look just to be sure it wasn’t something only I saw. Labeled a “Sponsored Post,” the text peddles some WordPress blogging course, one I will not be linking.
I’ve now had this blog 7 years and nobody but me has ever written anything on it so I was very taken aback to see this ad-posing-as-a-post dumped in my blog. The more I thought about it, the more pissed I got. I understood fine at the outset that, in order to have a free, no cost blog, I’d have to accept that WordPress would tack ads onto my blog; I even mention this in my introductory page (so no one would think I was injecting said ads). The terms were clear. Allowing “fake” posts to be stuck in my blog is something else entirely. Moreover I didn’t allow it. I wasn’t even told.
Two weird ironies if you will. My very last post, one I wrote before seeing the WordPress spam was about this very issue, namely when the other party you’ve been in a relationship with changes the rules of engagement without consulting you (or expecting consequences from you). The second irony? Today completes 7 years of writing this blog and WordPress DID see fit to send me their auto-generated message, “Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!” Aww gee, I am so touched.😕 Now get your stinking, grubby fingers the %#&@! off my blog.
Here’s the thing. If, without asking or telling, WordPress is willing to stick posts on my blog, what else are they willing to do? Edit my posts? Stick words in my mouth? Delete posts? See, I just don’t know. I am a tiny, tiny, non-paying fish in this Land-o-Blogging. I have either no or very little power. But the blog is something a person, this person, does (or did) out of passion, love of writing, and so on. My blog has been very honest, my truest self, my writing self. To my thinking the hawking WordPress post sullies it. Worse, the WordPress content, what with its “Sponsored” business suggests I sponsored it, that I am in collusion, and/or that I possibly got a kickback for it. I’ve never asked for a DIME on this blog, not for me, not a cup of coffee, not for a cause of any kind. Yet WordPress sees fit to shill for their business on my platform, effectively posing as me, or minimally implying my permission. Not okay.
I told you I was pissed. This is me pissed. I’m putting this post here for a couple reasons. I don’t think I see the point in complaining directly to WordPress or only complaining to WordPress. It’s not like we have any interactions, any sort of ongoing conversation. And with this move, one that trumps previous WordPress moves like changing behind-the-scenes features (such as recent “improvements” to editing capabilities), WordPress is strong-arming me. They’re changing the rules. They’re monkeying with the blog proper, by-passing me, not even telling me. It changes how I feel or pushes me further in a direction I was already going. This does NOT make me want to embrace WordPress. It makes me distrustful.
I wonder now if they’ve done this before and I just missed it. I’m not ruling that out but I’m disinclined to think so.
I have, already, dialed back on this blog, but I’m still here. One doesn’t get the cryptic message about the blog having been deleted, or gone private when you type in WriterInSoul, a message that you find when a blogger has decided to go away. I just snorted thinking what if I write no more posts but WordPress keeps at it? No more photos of my garden or living room, or smart remarks, or reflective essays, just post after “Sponsored” post peddling stuff. Um, who reading this post wants to take a WordPress course on blogging or needs to find info about such things on my blog?? 😐
What bothers me may well bother others equally and yet others either not at all or not much. I recognize that. But what WordPress did by dumping into my blog gets me where I live. This was mine. And whatever I do or don’t do with MY BLOG going forward, I wanted to tell you all this.
UPDATE 9/17/21: If you’re reading this post as of this date, the “sponsored post” which got me so riled is no longer here. It showed up mysteriously & went away the same. WordPress never contacted me about it in any fashion. I did, earlier in the year, attempt to contact them only to find that wasn’t really possible (for me and likely other bloggers using the free, as in no cost, platform). I did find an online forum where one might post questions and discovered another blogger had already posted about the matter, wanting to know why the “sponsored posts” had been injected into their personal blog and asking how they could be removed. The public response from the WordPress rep was boilerplate PR fare which explained that WordPress was more or less conducting an experiment by sticking their commercial posts into non-paying bloggers ‘ sites. The WordPress response was not satisfactory and it was certainly not apologetic. The platform has increasingly gone commercial in its bald attempts to shake money out of people, not least of all its bloggers. I still feel as I did when I wrote this blog entry 6 months ago, namely screwed over by WordPress. At the very least, they should have asked or informed prior to putting their post on my blog. Doing what they did introduced mistrust into my dynamic with them not to mention the potential for other unwelcome, uncondoned intrusions. I couldn’t stand for this one; I sure don’t want to set myself up for more.