One Size Upgrade Fits All? Get Outta Here!

Updated: 30 July 2015: See update at the end of this post.

The past couple of weeks have seen a startling rise in the number of WordPress.com users posting in the Community Forums wondering how they can purchase a single upgrade to enhance their free WordPress.com website, most particularly the Domain Name and Domain Mapping upgrades. As most of the current forum volunteers have been around for some time, we were confused why these same users weren’t able to access these individual upgrades from their website’s Dashboard>Store>Store as we could.

Today, the picture became much clearer when a new WPcom user posted in the forums that when she clicked on the link to the Store in her site’s Dashboard, she ended up on a special page in the New Dash that only offered her either the Premium Bundle or the Business Bundle. Individual upgrades were not available to her.

After digging a little deeper into the New Dash, it does appear that WordPress.com recognizes that the custom Domain Name and Domain Mapping upgrades are make or break features for many users and these upgrades are still available through the “Domains” link in the Upgrades sidebar. (see Update 2 below)

But, and it’s a big one, any other individual upgrade (No Ads, Extra Storage, Custom Design, VideoPress, Site Redirectetc.), other than the ones mentioned above are no longer available to new WordPress.com users. This means that new users who run out of storage space after a while and want to buy only the 10GB space upgrade are being forced to purchase $80 worth of unwanted upgrades to do so. New users who want to try their hand at CSS now have to buy $69 worth of additional upgrades just to do so.

It would not be an exaggeration to say I am astonished and disappointed at this move by WordPress.com to the point where I feel I can no longer recommend using the site as readily as I once did. Many of these additional upgrades within the two offered bundles are not going to be used by most users and the cost of setting up a self-hosted site, and possibly other managed WP hosting, may fall within this price range. When time and research allow, I’ll post back with some relevant links.

Your thoughts in the comments are welcome.

Update: The full monty as revealed by Staff, finally.

Update 2:  On the Domains page, I was able to click through to map a domain I own without problem. The new user, however, was not. They were re-routed back to the bundle. Thankfully, Staff later reversed their decision and these two upgrades are available to new users as well, for now. (See comments below.) As I am fond of saying, WPcom is a continual work-in-progress and may go pear-shaped without warning.

Update 3: At least as of today’s date, 30 July 2015, long-time community members who never purchased an upgrade on any of their sites or let existing ones expire can no longer access the Store in their WP Admin Dashboard to purchase individual upgrades. Clicking on that link for that group of users now redirects to the New Dashboard’s selection of either Free, Premium or Business bundle upgrades.

One-size-fits-all indeed!

Author: JenT

Celebrating 10 years on WordPressdotcom! When not herding cats, I can usually be found setting up or customizing someone's WordPressdotcom blog, spelunking in the Support documents or helping out in the WordPressdotcom Community forums. Talk to me about taking your message to the world on WordPressdotcom (the hosted version).

17 thoughts on “One Size Upgrade Fits All? Get Outta Here!”

  1. I seem to recall I had my 7th WP birthday some months ago. My stats say that I have 710 Posts
    and 4 Pages and (3%) Space Used. So I am unlikely to run out of space. Just saying, because you mentioned people who run out of space not being able to just buy a space upgrade if they became WordPressers after the date that Automattic omitted to to mention.

    That said, the piece of double talk from the happiness engineer is unpalatable. Why antagonise people with ‘screw you’ language like that?

    Should Automattic treat people who are new to WP differently to those who have been around longer? In my opinion, no.

    1. Most of the newer users who run out of space is a result of their uploading full-size images from their cameras or phones. Some people don’t understand that it’s pointless to do so and in some instances, WPcom has actually encouraged it. (Why wouldn’t they?)

      On your second point, there have been so many changes to WPcom along the way where we users have been told again and again “try it, you’ll like it.” End of story. I’m still waiting for the Reblog image problem to be fixed.

      Be careful what you wish for! 🙂 We may all be drinking the Bundle Kool-aid.

      1. I thought about people who upload full-res images and I thought that if they are going to do that then they’ve no one to blame but themselves. But that wasn’t the best attitude towards people who are new – so I have a suggestion:

        Do a post on image sizing – let’s research ways to resize on a phone, where to put full-size images for storage, how to resize images that are already uploaded, etc. Then publicise the article for other people to post – not just reblog – me. everyone you know, ask TT to put it up as a post as well, put articles elsewhere about it – let’s see whether it will catch on.

      2. thesacredpath has written several very good posts on image optimization and Panos has as well. I’ve written up a few things on Random Acts, too. In short, your turn. 🙂

        As far as mobile goes, and that seems to be the real culprit in my opinion, recently I downloaded Snapseed to my Galaxy S4 to try it out. I admit that I miss editing on a full size screen. It’s not really easy to determine the resulting image size either and sometimes they turn out larger than the original. I’ll keep at it.

      3. Yes, it’s Mobile (and that includes the WordPress app) that’s the problem. I like to post from my iPhone occasionally, and I have tried a couple of apps that resize to whatever pixel size you want, but the file size is nowhere near as small as I can get with ‘Save for Web’ in Photoshop on my Laptop.

        I also use Snapseed on my phone – and like it a lot.

  2. I too am disappointed but I’m not surprised. My internal radar has been telling me to leave the ship for a long time now. There are apparently Happiness Engineer support teams. How many teams there are, who heads them, who the members are in each team, and how they make decisions remains unknown to us users who foot the bills and pay for their salaries.

    Seeing the place I once loved to blog heading for the ditch is so sad. Everything that distinguished wordpress.com blogs from the many splogs on WordPress.ORG software and on Blogger software are also disappearing, and now this mean spirited up-selling “experiment” has surfaced. More’s the pity.

    1. tt- I’m not surprised at all at this recent change, but, like you, I don’t think it was a wise one. There are other ways to sell upgrades and while Automattic/WPcom is indeed a for-profit organization, forcing people to buy, buy, buy unneeded upgrades is unhappiness making.

      1. Thanks for adding that tt. I did see RootJosh’s forum answer last night. It’s a wise move. As I said in that thread, without the ability for new users to connect their WPcom website to their existing domain or buy and map a new domain, WPcom is no longer a viable option for them. They’ll just pick up and look elsewhere. And Mike gave some excellent arguments in that thread as well.

        At this point I’m not going continue to rage against the machine because it’s clear that this is a decision that has already been made. But, I still think it’s a mistake.

      2. I’m with you on that and no more rage against the machine for me either. I may groan and back away but I’m not going to risk my health by becoming angry.

    1. :/ What’s the general feeling in the ES forums these days? I have hardly had a chance to look in on the HE forums to see if there’s been any backlash there.

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