Different Posts Per Page – How not to make friends in the blogging world

I got a message from Snoskred not too long ago asking if I could see a certain page – it was a page that I had recognized from a while ago as having been something that I’d seen when trying to download a plugin for WordPress one time. If you’re curious, the page is visible by clicking here. However, I wouldn’t bother because it’s just a page advertising some bogus bollocks that this guy has a direct interest in.

The big thing isn’t the fact that she was asking me about this page, it was the reasoning behind her asking. I’ll got into it a bit more, but if you’re short for time, you can read Snoskred’s post about it on the Aussie Bloggers Forums.

Basically, one of the plugins that is used on blogs that she sets up is one called Different Posts Per Page. The function of it is pretty obvious – it allows you to set the number of posts you want to appear on archive pages, along with the number you want on the front page. Up until the most recent update, it would install perfectly fine. However, the latest version of the plugin now has a registration procedure, which is completely ridiculous.

So, who is this guy?

The author of this particular plugin is a gentleman in Nepal who specializes in writing WordPress plugins which, to be completely honest, are some of the most annoying out there – for example, one that creates, as he says, an “Attention Grabbing Unblockable Popup in WordPress”. The hilarious thing is that he claims that this plugin will have these “instant benefits” –

  • More blog subscribers
  • More RSS feeds subscriptions
  • Direct people to special offers
  • Provide effective updates
  • Increase sales
  • Increase Leads

Personally? If it were me who had to face this popup on my window that is “unblockable”, my first instinct would be to close the tab and not bother. I suspect that there are a lot of people who would fall in that same boat. By the way, it’s in Javascript, so if you’re running NoScript, then you won’t see the popup. 😉

Anyway, a few months ago, I was searching for a plugin that would do what DPPP does, and that was about the only one that I had found. The problem at the time was that I searched using Google, and wound up at his page for the plugin. As you can see at the bottom of the page, there is a huge DOWNLOAD NOW link, and at the time I first even tried to download it, I got redirected. Thanks to that redirection, there is an email account which has gotten emails from this guy somewhere around twice a week; it’s not consistent, but if it were my main account, I’d find it quite annoying.

In fact, when I went through this arduous process, and wound up at the page listed at the top, I sent this message to Snoskred on Skype –

i hate to take you away from your focus, but the link that i was given to get the plugin, it’s a fucking ad! – http://www.maxblogpress.com/oto/index.php?p=dppp

Then the next, as it might seem, knife was stuck into my back – I found that it was available on the WordPress Plugin Directory. When I found that out, I emailed the bloke who did this. This is what I wrote

Dear sir,

I am extremely displeased at the amount of red tape that I was forced to go through in order to download a plugin that isn’t even hosted on your server. In fact, if I had known that it was listed on the WP plugin page, I would have never bothered giving you my email address, signing up for a newsletter I’m not interested in receiving, and wasting my valuable time scrolling through a page of worthless junk that I’m not interested in buying, just to be directed to a download hosted on WordPress’s servers.

Regards,
Sephyroth

Oddly enough, he never replied to me. The story would have ended there with me finding it on the WordPress site, but things changed.

A new release

About a month ago, a new version of this plugin was released, version 1.7. With it came a sign that maybe Pawan didn’t like people being able to use his plugin like any other plugin out there (aside from Akismet and wordpress.com stats, which require a WordPress API key to work, and for which there is a purpose for doing that) without him getting some cut of the action.

For anyone wanting to download and use the plugin, you wouldn’t know anything was unusual until you would install it on WordPress and activate it. At that point, you’re told that you are now required to register to use this plugin. This time, however, you don’t have a choice as to the email address you subject to the onslaught of spam – it’s the address listed as the admin for the site!

As with any of this guy’s other products, in order to complete this process, you have to visit that ad page linked at the top of the page.

If you read the documentation for this product, which is nearly non-existent (simply because any of the functions you’d expect in a readme are just links to his site!), you would find this as the changes for the most recent version. Most people would consider the addition of a registration requirement important enough to mention, but here’s what you get –

= Version 1.7 (02-21-2008) =
* Updated: Some minor improvements.

Not much information there, eh?

Also, none of the information pages that show how to use this plugin mention a single thing about registration – basically what this guy is doing is bait and switch.

What you can do

If you’re a user of the Different Posts Per Page plugin, the simplest thing that you can do is not upgrade your version to the latest. Also, you can take a read of a thread on the WordPress Support forums for a couple of alternatives, including a database edit that you can do – however, that is something you should only do if you know what you are doing – if you make only one wrong move, you can kill your blog!

If you don’t use the plugin, and were intending to – don’t use it. Not surprisingly, old versions are not available for downloading from the WordPress repository, so unless you do have a copy of an old version kicking around, you’re SOL (unless you have connections, and I’m sure some will materialize 😉 ).

If you don’t fall into either of those categories, then there are a couple of things you can do – first, and this is something that I don’t usually recommend, but this guy’s antics are beyond unreasonable that he needs to hear the community’s input on the situation, you can leave him a comment on the page for comments, and let him know what you think. Also, feel free to write a post about this; I don’t use the plugin, but hearing the crap that he’s doing spurred me to write this post.

Lastly, if you’re so inclined, use the power of social networking sites to get the word out about these actions.

4 thoughts on “Different Posts Per Page – How not to make friends in the blogging world

  1. I am more concerned about the growing presence of irresistible marketers who make us buy things we do not even need. The next human body plugin must include protective devices to resist the irresistible.

  2. How annoying. I especially hate how he has worded the “reject” button at the bottom of the page. What a painful load of crap to wade through … when it was unnecessary too! I wonder how many hate emails he is getting?

  3. I hope he’s getting plenty. But aside from loading on this guy, has anyone come up with an alternative plugin? I really would like to have a plugin that simply allows me to specify how many posts I want listed on the homepage and how many I want listed on the category pages.

  4. argh, im *trying* to use this guys DPPP plugin and I’ve tried 3 different email addresses for registration in 3 days to no avail. Ive been checking my emails constantly for a damn *activation* link and now im stuck with a new theme that I cant customize fully because I await an email from this guy. How frustrating… I wish I could find alternatives, anyone know any? Id like to be able to display a single latest post from each category on the index page. This plugin does that, but I dont think this wait game is worth it.

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