Grossing Me Out

Okay, can there be a more gross ad that shows up on so many blogs these days than this one above? I don’t think so. I read your blogs on my iPhone, and in order to like and/or comment, I have to scroll down through at least four advertisements. Other than being a hassle, most of the ads aren’t objectionable. But the one at the top of this post is just disgusting. It’s ads like these that makes it worthwhile to me to pay extra to ensure that crap like this doesn’t show up on my blog.

But wait! Suddenly I’m getting a feeling of déjà vu. I think I may have groused about this before. I did a search of my archives and, sure enough, I found this post that I published in June 2019. It seems that ads for excessive belly fat in women is nothing new on WordPress.

Anyway, here is my previous post on this topic:

Is This Really Necessary?

I understand that the folks who bring us WordPress have to make money. And since many bloggers take advantage of the fact that WordPress makes its site available for free, one way for the company to make money is by placing advertisements at the end of people’s posts.

But one would hope that those ads would not be disgusting to see. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case. As evidence, I present you with this example of what I saw at the end of one blogger’s post this morning.

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Eww! Jeez, WordPress, is displaying such a gross ad really necessary? I was drinking coffee when I saw this and almost did a spit take.

This is one of the reasons I opted to upgrade to a paid plan. It doesn’t cost that much (I think they start at $3 per month) and it eliminates all ads. I figured that was a small price to pay to not expose my readers to vomit-inducing advertisements. I’m not suggesting that others should opt for a paid plan. I’m just making you aware what other bloggers might see when they go to visit your site if you’re using the free plan.

Something to think about.

The Problem Persists

First, let me apologize, as this post is a bit of a rant about WordPress.

Prior to downloading what was then, in November 2020, the latest update (version 16.0) to the WordPress iOS app, I never had a problem liking and leaving comments on other bloggers’ posts. That was almost two years ago and, despite dozens of exchanges with numerous Happiness Engineers, the issue still persists. It’s got me, like the guy in the iStockphoto picture above, pulling my hair out…what little of it I have left, anyway.

What is the specific issue? Well, I’ve posted about this numerous times, including here, here, here, and here. But as a quick recap, I noticed that I could no longer, from either my Reader or my Notifications, “like” some other bloggers’ posts nor could I leave a comment on them. It was as if, even though I was logged on to WordPress via the app, the app didn’t recognize me as a logged-on WordPress user when I went to those sites.

After doing a lot of troubleshooting on my own, I realized that I could like and leave comments on posts where the blogger’s address had “.wordpress.com” in it. But for those blogs that didn’t have “.wordpress.com” in the blog address — even my own blog, which is “fivedotoh.com” — I could not like or comment on them when I visited them.

In my back and forth with various Happiness Engineers, I was told that the bug had been identified and replicated and that the app development team was working on a fix. I was also told that the issue was complicated by some security changes that Apple made when it launched iOS 14.0.

In order to leave a comment on blogs that don’t have “wordpress.com” in the address, I need to enter in my name, my email address, and my blog’s URL, after which I’m taken to the WordPress iOS app login screen to enter my password. Only then will my comment be posted. On other blogs I’m told I must log on in order to leave a comment, even though I already am logged on to WordPress. And when I try to log back in, it still won’t let me leave a comment. Very frustrating.

Flash forward to today. The iOS app from WordPress I have installed on my iPhone is version 20.5.01 and the Apple iOS app is version 15.6.1. I have eagerly awaited each of the updated releases to the WordPress app in the hope that the bug will have been fixed, only to be disappointed when I discover that it’s still there. 

So, after nearly two frustrating years, and countless assurances by Happiness Engineers that the issue will be fixed, it still hasn’t been fixed. WordPress has a very large presence on the internet. Apple is one of the major technology (both hardware and application) providers in the world. You would think that, between WordPress and Apple, they would be able to figure out a way to fix this very annoying bug so that the WordPress app could work just as it did prior to release of version 16.0 in November 2020.

I’m not holding my breath.

Blogging Insights — Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress

It’s Monday and Dr. Tanya is back with her weekly Blogging Insights prompt. She provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote, unattributed, is…

Twitter is like a calling card. Facebook is like a phone call. Blogging is like a full-fledged conversation!”

Bear in mind that I don’t have a Twitter account. So anything I have to say about Twitter is based upon my impressions more than on personal experiences. I do have a Facebook account, but I haven’t posted there in years. I only keep it because my adult children use it. Same with Instagram. I never post anything to Instagram, but my kids do, and that’s the only reason I have it. I have no other social media accounts.

WordPress provides an electronic, internet-based medium for bloggers, so it technically is a media site. And it is arguably a social site because of the interactions among the WordPress community of bloggers. But I don’t think of WordPress as a “social media” site per se, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok.

Were I to try to draw an analogy between Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress (i.e., blogging), instead of calling card, phone call, and conversation, I’d go with an eating establishments analogy. Twitter is like a fast food place, Facebook is perhaps like a local diner, and WordPress is like a fine dining restaurant.

If I want mental nourishment and to experience something of substance, I’ll pass on fast foods and local diners. I’ll head straight for that fine dining experience with good friends and family. My WordPress good friends and family.

Checking My Stats

Just for grins and giggles, I check my WordPress stats a couple of times a day. When my stats go up a little, that makes me happy. When my stats go down a little, that makes me…well, I’m still happy. It’s no big deal. Anything is better than zero visitors, views, comments, and likes, right?

But there’s another set of stats I check daily. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) on the New York Stock Exchange.

Like with my WordPress stats, when the DJIA goes up, that makes me happy. However, unlike WordPress stats, when the DJIA goes down, that makes me very, very unhappy. Because unlike WordPress stats, when the DJIA goes down, it has real world implications.

My retirement savings goal was to ensure that I ran out of years before I ran out of money. And I worked hard to make sure that when I retired, my wife I would have enough money to live comfortably for the rest of our years, with enough left over to pass whatever remained on to our children.

But since my retirement savings is mostly invested in the stock market, when stocks take a dive, so does the value of my retirement savings.

But don’t worry about me. I’m not panicking yet. After all, what goes down must go up. Or something like that.

Yes, Eventually

In the continuing saga of the “did they/didn’t they” and “will they/won’t they” matter of changing WordPress plans and pricing, here is the latest.

Those of us who, over the past few days, have been trying to decipher whether or not WordPress is going to be changing from its free plan plus four paid plans to a scaled-down free plan and one relatively expensive “Pro” (for professional bloggers) plan, have been receiving responses from WordPress that have been at best, unclear, and at worst, contradictory. But it seems that the correct answer is yes, eventually.

In my latest exchange with WordPress, I asked, “So does this mean that the plan I’m on (Personal plan) will disappear and that if I want more functionality than the free plan offers (e.g., no ads, more media storage), I’ll have to upgrade from the Personal plan at $48/yr to the Pro plan at $180/ yr?”

Here is the Happiness Engineer’s response, which includes a happy face.

Yes, you are correct again! 🙂
Though, we have no timeline yet as to when we will totally remove these legacy plans: Personal, Premium, Business and eCommerce. You could still continue to renew your existing plan through the Upgrades menu on your dashboard.

Okay. That sounds pretty definitive to me. The current paid plans — Personal, Premium, Business and eCommerce — are going, going, gone, but no date has been set for their departure.

Thus, at some point down the road, you will either have a free, limited functionally option or a $180 a year profession/business option with all the bells and whistles you’d need to run your own e-commerce site.

As a hobby blogger who has no aspirations to turn my blog into a money-making machine, I have no need for most of those bells and whistles. But once my current Personal plan expires next January, I will have to decide if I want to go to a limited-functionally free plan or pay a lot of money for features I have little use for. And so will you!

I suggest that, for those of you currently on a paid plan, you should renew early, because it seems that once the folks at WordPress set their timeline for this migration, if you want to stay with WordPress, you’ll have to either lower your expectations or empty your wallet.