Reminder: We will check your website

tl;dr: If you put a website as the official developer or pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL and it does not exist (or is under construction), your review will be pended.

We know that sounds really weird, but yes, we’re saying if you tell us that your domain is XYZ and that domain doesn’t exist, or isn’t public, your review is going to be paused until you finish the site.

The primary reason for that is because those URLs will be seen by all your users, and if a user sees a great looking plugin with an incomplete website, they will not trust you. That’s actually something that scammers do on the regular, and you’ve made yourself look like that.

So to protect you from an undeserved bad-rep, we check your domains.

The secondary reason is, if you’re a service, we really do need that live so we can review the website and ensure it and the plugin are compatible with our guidelines.

Can I just remove the URL from the code?

Most of the time, yes.

However if you’re a service and the service runs through that website, then not only will you be required to make the site public, but you will also need to include a terms of use and/or privacy page on your site.

I made a typo! What do I do?

Reply to the email with “Ooops, I typoed, the real URL is …” We’ll ask you to update the code and your account, so your users don’t get confused, and all will be well.

What if the site isn’t mine, it’s the service owner’s?

Then you used the wrong account to submit the plugin. Remember ALL official plugins have to be owned by the official company. If you were hired to make a plugin for BoogieDownBlues (a fake company) and the domain is then the account that submits the plugin has to use that domain for their email.

That protects you and them from any legal action later on.

My site is nearly done, can I have a pass?

No. Again, we’re trying to protect you from being seen as an untrustworthy developer. Also we want to make sure your site isn’t violating rules.

What if I need to have the plugin before I can have the site?

This generally happens with service plugins, and if that’s the case, we will tell you no. The site has to exist so we can validate the service.

Do I need an about page and all that?

You do not, but we do recommend it. People prefer to know there are real humans behind things.

Can I make a simple, placeholder?

Maybe. It depends on what you put on the placeholder page and (again) if you’re a service. If the placeholder says ‘Coming soon!’ then no.

What about Lorem Ipsum pages?

If your domain is filled with placeholder, we consider it to be incomplete and will point out the problem. Same goes for clearly fake addresses and those about pages that all have the same face.

Why does it matter if my personal site exists?

Because you told us (and by extension all your users) “this is who I am!” If your personal site is ‘coming soon’ or has a placeholder, no one can make a judgement on you save to say you’re a dev who can’t make a website. And yes, that is patently unfair, we know, but that’s what people will think. Heck, they complain to us every time we miss it. We would rather you not start in a bad place.

Why was I told not to use trademarks in my URL?

Because using a trademark in the domain name violates trademark law.

Using a company’s trademark in a URL as a domain name in whole (or in part like may constitute a violation of the company’s trademark rights.  See Brookfield Communications, Inc. v. West Coast Entertainment Corp., 174 F.3d 1036 (9th Cir. 1999). 

What you can do instead is have — that is generally allowed.

Keep in mind, some organizations (like WordPress) will allow the ‘short’ versions so would be fine. Others (like WooCommerce) have more restrictions, and actually prohibit

Always check the trademark guidelines first!