It was brought to our attention that some plugin developers on WordPress.org have used various third party services to find new users for their plugins and to have them leave reviews on our site.
It’s time for a reminder.
We do not allow for compensated reviews to be on our site, by any means whatsoever, and consider those reviews to be disingenuous.
The WordPress.org plugin and theme directories are for users to write their experiences, not for companies to use market their products. A compensated or recruited review should be posted on someone’s own site, the reviewers own site, or the 3rd party site itself.
While you may not consider getting a product free (or at a discount) to be compensation, we do. It messes up the system, which really is meant for people who legitimately use a plugin to leave a review of their experience. It’s also misleading, in our eyes, because it was not made by an actual user of the product in question.
Asking an existing user to leave a review is one thing. Emailing your user base, while possibly annoying to many people, is totally fine. Reaching out to new people and saying ‘please try and review’ inflates the number of reviews in an unnatural manner.
You may have heard about how Amazon does permit reviews like that, as long as the reviewer “clearly and conspicuously disclose[s] that fact” in their review. We’re not Amazon, and being a much smaller community, we’re able to monitor our reviews in a tighter manner. Paid reviews, compensated reviews, or recruited reviews are all the same idea. You’re ‘paying’ someone to review.
The Consumerist has a long article about this, asking Is Amazon Doing Anything To Fight Latest Wave Of Fake, Paid-For Reviews? This article illustrates the issues these kinds of reviews cause, primarily they break the trust a reader has in any review. Also keep in mind that companies like Yelp hire people to blacklist companies who reward people for leaving reviews.
This is just something you should avoid and reviews that are found to have been compensated for will be removed.