I wish I´d never had to write a post like this. And somehow I feel I´m wasting a precious time I should be devoting to help Engined users with their questions and issues.
But I also feel I´m obliged to tell my little horror story here, you´ll understand why later.
My horror story
I don´t want to create more controversy than needed, so I won´t use real names here. But everything I´ll tell here are real facts, except for the conclusion I draw from them (which is my own opinion) and for the names I´ll be using. Here are the players in this story:
- Ffff: A Facebook closed group.
- Wwww: A commercial website where stuff is sold and affiliate links are used.
- Aaaa: One of the owners of the Wwww business and, as I´ve just learned today, an administrator of Ffff as well.
- Bbbb: One of the owners of the Wwww business and, as I´ve learned last Friday, an administrator of Ffff as well.
- Luis Alejandre: That´s me, and it´s the only real name I´ll be using on this post.
It all started when last Friday I released the Engined child theme. A few minutes after I posted in the Ffff about the Engined release, Bbbb got to me through a Facebook message. Here is the complete conversation:
What happened afterwards was:
- I didn´t make it to the concert I was getting ready to go to.
- Immediately after my last message, I got kicked out of the Ffff group.
- My wife got upset with me (and I don´t blame her).
- I learned from other Ffff users that even their posts about Engined had disappeared.
A little background
For you to fully understand what was going on behind that conversation, you need a little more information. Here it is:
A few weeks back, Aaaa was one of the persons who volunteered to test drive Engined before its release. He never really provided any test feedback, but as soon as he saw what Engined was, he emailed me on these terms:
Hi Luis, I developed a one page site for a client. I really think you should charge for this and here’s my proposal. 60/40 split put it on slae for $15 and market it exclusively on (Wwww) – you do lots of marketing to generate leads to yoru own website for your own affiliate links and just put a link to engine to (Wwww)…
I love Engined and want to do a post in the FB group to say this:
I was lucky enough to test drive engine, along with divi module editor and divi booster (although I did nto need them specifically but I wanted to see how they played together) I converted this site (image) to this site (image) and launched in less than an hour.
Using Engined and the other plugins the client is delighted with the end result of a simple, clear and attractive website.
It would be great if I could say, ‘Engined’ will be available on the (Wwww) store soon.
For the second time I told him that I wanted Engined to be a free product. So he went ahead and posted on the Ffff group what he said he would… except that he didn´t even mention Engined on it! True he said something about Divi Children, but the real thing is that he mentioned Divi Module Editor and Divi Booster but not a word about Engined. And he was actually using Engined on that site, I even had to check it out to make sure, because I couldn´t believe the way he behaved.
So I wasn´t too surprised when his partner tried to make me remove my post about the release of Engined on the Ffff group for absurd reasons, I instantly knew what it was all about.
I was really disappointed and very sad, and I couldn´t believe all what was happening to me but, to tell you the truth, it didn´t really surprise me. I´d already had enough hints.
- Engined is a FREE child theme. Period. Free as in beer, free as in gratis, free in any sense, as free as the Ffff group is not free at all.
- I do use affiliate links on this site, I did never hid it. It is not a sin. I have an affiliate disclosure page, and I include a disclosure notice if I use affiliate links within the content of a post (I haven´t used affiliate links that way for months, by the way).
- After a year of offering free tools for the Divi users, I decided some weeks ago to put a donation button on this site. That´s not a sin either.
- I clearly stated this on my Engined release post last Friday: “you don´t need to pay anything for it and you can use it as you wish, on any number of sites“. So who´s this Bbbb guy to tell me “you aren’t offering it for free, you have a site loaded with affiliate links and a donate button“? God?
- My affiliate links and my new donation button will never pay for the hundreds of hours I´ve been devoting to this site and to the free products I offer on it. And you know what? I don´t mind. Yes, I´ve said hundreds, and I´m afraid I´m being too conservative. But, contrary to what other people might think, I believe that money is not everything.
- The Wwww site contains affiliate links.
- Wwww owners are constantly posting on the Ffff group about their site, without a single statement about their using affiliate links.
- Most (if not all) of the rest of group users never include such an statement on their posts (and I never minded, and I bet nobody else minded).
- My affiliate links on this site are ET links. People who find my free Divi products useful are already Divi users, so they don´t need to buy from my affiliate links anyway. Would you really think people would actually bother to ask for my Facebook post removal because I´m using affiliate links or because I have a donate button? I´m not stating here that such requests didn´t exist. I really think they did, but they were coming from their own partnership environment.
- I´ve been regularly getting marketing emails from the Wwww site, and those emails do not include a single reference to their affiliation (so, should I consider their emails as span, then?).
This is why I said I felt obliged to tell my horror story: I told Bbbb I´d forget about it if the absurd request I received from him was not withdrawn. It wasn´t, so I must speak about it. Otherwise nobody would take me seriously next time (though I really hope there won´t be a next time).
To me it looks quite clear: People who are constantly boasting they´re there to help others tried to make you pay for something I wanted to give you for free, so they could get a profit out of it. Once they´ve realized they wouldn´t, they´re doing whatever they can in order to prevent you from getting to know you finally have the product available for free.
If you think I´m getting it wrong, please let me know. I don´t expect to have many comments on this post and I feel you shouldn´t get too exposed to this kind of things anyway. I´ve given you the facts, so I only want you to draw your own conclusions and to act accordingly.
But, like I said, I just had to post this. I hated doing it, but I had to.
Now that I´ve done with it, I can finally forget about it. I found another Facebook group where I feel I´m welcome, I´ve spent most of the weekend with my family happily away from all this before facing the bitter moments of having to write this post (that´s why I haven´t been able to get back to many of you yet, sorry about that, I´ll try to catch up during next week), it´s very late at Sunday night in my side of the world and now I´m ready to get some rest I think I deserve.
Here´s to the future. Tomorrow I´ll be back here, ready to help you with anything you might need from me.