Is Jetpack Misleading Users to Promote WordPress.com?
Are you using Jetpack’s publicize feature on your site?
Recently while browsing through Facebook, we found several folks sharing links where WordPress replaced the site domain. Along with that, the status also read like this: Michelle Schulp published an article in WordPress.
This was alarming, so we decided to investigate the issue.
When you click on the link, it takes you the website. However when you click on WordPress, it takes you to a WordPress.com signup page on Facebook.
We looked further to see if these sites were hosted on WordPress.com, a blog hosting service. Most of them weren’t. (see the difference between free WordPress.com vs self-hosted WordPress.org)
However, they all had one thing in common. All of them were using the Jetpack plugin which is created by the parent company of WordPress.com, Automattic.
In order to verify our findings, we decided to install Jetpack on a test site. We replicated the issue, and it is connected with the publicize feature of the plugin.
When setting up the publicize feature, you are asked to connect with Facebook and grant several permissions.
During the permission process, you see the blue W logo instead of the grey W logo. How is that different?
Well, one is for WordPress.com (the blog hosting service) and the other is for WordPress.org (the software that we all come to love and use).
Confusing isn’t it.
Often beginners do not know the difference, so they think they’re really authorizing their WordPress site, not a third-party WordPress.com platform (see the relations and differences)
Furthermore, the wording through out the process does not make it clear that you’re authorizing WordPress.com rather than your actual site. See the confirmation screenshot below:
Now if you want publicize to do what it’s suppose to (automatically share your post when its published), this is what your users will see.
Considering Jetpack is auto-installed and auto-activated on several major WordPress hosting providers by default, this should be corrected to decrease the confusion between WordPress.com vs self-hosted WordPress.org.
While we understand that Facebook has it’s limitation, there are certain things that can and should be corrected to better inform users.
First, in the link data below post title, it should actually show the user’s domain to promote their brand instead of showing WordPress. As Jeremy from the Jetpack team pointed out in the comments below, this is not possible due to Facebook restrictions.
Second, the wording that says Syed Balkhi published an article on WordPress should be rephrased to clear confusion.
One of the user who reported the issue, offered a suggestion on wording: Vikas shared a link via Publicize instead of saying Vikas published an article on WordPress.
Another alternative could be: … shared a link via JetPack because that’s what is really going on.
Lastly, in the confirmation dialog, it should say “you have successfully connected Jetpack with Facebook” or “you have successfully connected your Facebook account with Jetpack”. [Update: Ticket #1476 created by Jeremy]
We hope these suggestions help improve the Jetpack Publicize experience for users.
Jetpack is a great plugin for beginners who move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org because it allows you to retain a lot of cool features of WordPress.com while giving you the power and freedom of WordPress.org.
Note: The goal of this post is not to start a flame war rather it is to encourage discussion and share our opinion with the community. We have tremendous respect and appreciation for Automattic and the work they’ve done.