Weblog Tools Collection: Should Plugin Authors Add Links To Your Site Without Giving An Option To Disable It?

Quite recently, I was trying out a few new plugins which came across as interesting to me. As usual, I ran up my test install and installed the plugins, everything worked fine, except for one thing. Couple of plugins from the lot added linkbacks to their own site, that is fine, however, they did not provide me with an option to disable those links.

This brought up a few questions to my mind. I will list out the most important one’s below.

  • Are interesting plugins being developed to enhance SEO and backlinks to sites?
  • Why would I as a developer not want to provide an option to disable a link, when I am providing an open source software? Isn’t it curtailing choice? Which is anti open source?

I have used several plugins which do add links, however they provide users with an option to enable or disable links to their site. I usually decide to not show the links for several reasons, and instead donate to the plugin developer so that they can continue development and support for the plugin.

Quite sometime back a similar thing happened with a pretty popular plugin which was created by a startup which is now big, I complained to them about it, however, they did not provide an option and I went ahead and disabled the plugin.

To make it clear, the problem here is not about adding links to a site you do not own, the problem is adding it without allowing users an option or them knowing. Several people have told me about plugins taking over their admin dashboard and adding widgets without giving them an option, so taking over a site and adding links to it is certainly not appreciated. Isn’t it called hacking?

All aside, I decided not to use plugins who do this, and yes, I could have edited the code to remove the links, but what about others? My philosophy is that Open source is all about giving free choices, not curtailing them.

I came out strongly as I do not really appreciate open source without choices. What about you?

Disclaimer: I am a plugin developer and have developed numerous plugins. However, I have not tried to add links to the main site as far as my plugins go, except for WPAU, where a link was placed on the home page of the user to the plugin page, when the site was put into maintenance mode. This link remained there for a few seconds at the most.

Update: I did not read Mark Jaquith’s post before posting this, but you can read his post here. Plugins which follow this will be removed from the WordPress plugin repository.


Quite recently, I was trying out a few new plugins which came across as interesting to me. As usual, I ran up my test install and installed the plugins, everything worked fine, except for one thing. Couple of plugins from the lot added linkbacks to their own site, that is fine, however, they did not provide me with an option to disable those links.

This brought up a few questions to my mind. I will list out the most important one’s below.

  • Are interesting plugins being developed to enhance SEO and backlinks to sites?
  • Why would I as a developer not want to provide an option to disable a link, when I am providing an open source software? Isn’t it curtailing choice? Which is anti open source?

I have used several plugins which do add links, however they provide users with an option to enable or disable links to their site. I usually decide to not show the links for several reasons, and instead donate to the plugin developer so that they can continue development and support for the plugin.

Quite sometime back a similar thing happened with a pretty popular plugin which was created by a startup which is now big, I complained to them about it, however, they did not provide an option and I went ahead and disabled the plugin.

To make it clear, the problem here is not about adding links to a site you do not own, the problem is adding it without allowing users an option or them knowing. Several people have told me about plugins taking over their admin dashboard and adding widgets without giving them an option, so taking over a site and adding links to it is certainly not appreciated. Isn’t it called hacking?

All aside, I decided not to use plugins who do this, and yes, I could have edited the code to remove the links, but what about others? My philosophy is that Open source is all about giving free choices, not curtailing them.

I came out strongly as I do not really appreciate open source without choices. What about you?

Disclaimer: I am a plugin developer and have developed numerous plugins. However, I have not tried to add links to the main site as far as my plugins go, except for WPAU, where a link was placed on the home page of the user to the plugin page, when the site was put into maintenance mode. This link remained there for a few seconds at the most.

Update: I did not read Mark Jaquith’s post before posting this, but you can read his post here. Plugins which follow this will be removed from the WordPress plugin repository.


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