Automattic JetPack Stats Plugin Hijacks Comments on Self-Hosted WordPress Blogs without Permission

UnacceptableOne of the benefits of knowing really sharp bloggers is they notice and warn other bloggers right away of changes that are detrimental to their blogs.

When business coach and online project management consultant Vernessa Taylor noticed that the subscribe to comments function Ileane usually used was replaced by an email from WordPress.com, they discussed the issue and realized the latest update of JetPack Stats – a WordPress provided stats plugin – was the culprit.

Vernessa feels the same way I do about what WordPress, Themes and plugins should and should NOT do and high on my list is the belief that they should NOT change how my blogs work without notifying me FIRST and giving me the option to refuse.

Jetpack 1.2.1 new Features Activated without permission after update

Click the image to see more screen captures related to this change

Automattic made JetPack 1.2.1 override the existing Subscribe to Comments plugin most serious bloggers we know use and hijacked control over where they subscribe. Vernessa’s solution was to delete JetPack altogether.

Every serious Internet marketer knows the money is in your list –
So taking away control of your list is a VERY SERIOUS matter!

Content Strategist Doc Sheldon reads Vernessa’s blog, so he published a heads-up post of his own about the Automattic Jetpack Plugin called “You Crossed the Line! You’re FIRED!” where he suggests switching to JetPack Lite as an alternative remedy.

This is NOT the first time Automattic has decided to make changes
to WordPress stats without giving bloggers any heads up in advance.

Not acceptable, Automattic. Bloggers need to be thinking about what we will do if even more egregious issues arise. If anyone has the skills (or knows someone who does) to go back to the last WordPress version before Automattic took control of it and bring an independent version since that fork up to speed do let us know?

Has anyone switched to the Google Analytics Alternative Piwik ? I would really love to get off all things “Borg” and use independent, more trustworthy alternatives.

Piwik – if you’re listening – I’ve been asking about you for a long time now. I’ve been hoping you’d see I am serious about promoting your solution to our blogging collaborations.

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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of GrowMap.com, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.

Comments

  1. Im trying Jetpack and is still on the fence on what it really does..any opinions on this?Friends say i must be careful

  2. thanks for sharing this,,i have gotta safe gaurd our listing now..i have learn a valuable lesson today,Growmap!
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  3. hi there…
    did the automatic jetpack can control hijack commend without permission? i don’t thing so….
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  4. iPhone App Development says:

    I did not know about this regrettable plugin ever before so thanks for notifying the fact that is behind this. I think this is like injustice with bloggers. I completely disagree with the case.

  5. That is so unethical! Thanks for this post and for warning us about this matter.
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  6. I was wondering about that! I run a bunch of WordPress blogs and noticed that happened on all of them, thanks for pointing it out!
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  7. So thats why a new field saying “Subscribe to new posts by email” appeared seemingly out of nowhere underneath my comment form when I already had a subscribe to comments plugin?!

    Well I just went into Jetpack admin and simply deactivated that particular Subscription widget as there is an option..

    But I do understand why this is considered unethical because if they can do that then they can basically take over any blog they want or even worse destroy a blog :0
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  8. Hi there,
    I beleive that the automatic jetpack stats plugin hijacking issue must be addressed to the wordpress otherwise how to trust the plugins developers?
    Regards. Tanya
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  9. That’s a trip, really (about Jetpack). Very un-Matt like I’d think (or is it right in character? Like how Akismet is auto-installed?)…

    Not to character-assassinate anyone here, but hey…you started my blood boiling. :P

    Anyway, you asked about Piwik: I used Open Web Analytics and it worked out great – they added more functions to Piwik (like mouse tracking, for example), but being on a reseller account at HostGator, my one complaint was the diskspace/bandwidth issue (I get those confused).

    I noticed it was saving a LOT of data in my database so I axed it…but I think you can tell it what you want to record. Right now I’m using StatCounter premium, it’s perfect for what I want: the Keyword data.

    But check out the OWA before settling on Piwik – you might like it better. They’re very similar (forked).
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  10. this is again another advantage of wordpress over blogger. i’ve been dreaming of having a wordpress blog

  11. JetPak Lite upgraded today and now we got this stupid comment tracking thing for blog comments. Plus now if i want to edit or write a blog post, the screen goes blank. I have to disable the jetpak lite plugin to write a blog post now.

    Looks like i am going to remove this plugin and stick to using analytic’s now.
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  12. Actually it is a well known thing thing that there is no need to set different plugins that have near the same features… just use what works good and you will have a success :)
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  13. I am quite shocked, I am totally against it! What about the right we all have to express our opinion?!

  14. I would have love a situation whereby WordPress ensures that all plugins can work hand in hand without any impacting on another negatively. It is frustrating to note that some of already installed plugins start misbehaving after installing new one. I still believe something can be done about this.
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  15. private server says:

    Wow! Thanks for the info I am lucky to not have that plugin installed but I was looking into it after slim stat stopped working.
    private server would love you to read ..Microsoft Virtual Server SpecificsMy Profile

  16. Hi Gail,
    I am not using Jetpack in my blog right now but it surely is not an accepted act by Automattic by enabling and disabling anything they want in our blog without notifying the owner of the blog and without providing the option of deactivating or refusing it. Anyways it seems that it is good that I do not use JetPack
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  17. It doesn’t sound good! I think that it isn’t acceptable at all and I’m against it

  18. Great resource.

    I haven’t known that there is a known plugin in doing such thing. Thanks for sharing.

  19. I think the biggest problem is that WordPress do not have any controls on their plugins. They should have officially approved plug-ins, which are only released after their own coders have verified that their is nothing malicious in the code.

    People are too trusting of plug-ins when they could have been written by anyone.
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  20. This is certainly not acceptable. It is important to know control what you automate and what you do not. By taking it out of your hands like this they are breaking a cardinal rule. The bad thing is it is so easy for something like this to go unnoticed by a blog owner.
    Steve would love you to read ..10 Key Things I’ve Learned From 6 Months of Building Niche SitesMy Profile

  21. Is Jetpack Lite the only good alternative? Seems like Jetpack should be avoided altogether. That is messed up.

  22. Thanks for the warning, I appreciate it.

    It’s similar to automatically including Akismet
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  23. Update: This part of the plugin can be deactivated. I filled out a JetPack survey to tell them how upset I was at the furtive update to their plugin.
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  24. Kudos to Vernessa and Ileane for figuring this out! Changes like this are not acceptable and should be publicized. Thanks for helping to spread the word. I’m off to deactive Automattic Jetpack and let others know.
    Carolyn would love you to read ..Your Ultimate Holiday (Tech) Gift Guide!My Profile

  25. Wow, that is definitely unacceptable.. Thanks for sharing this!
    CorinneC would love you to read ..forex journeyMy Profile

  26. How dare they! Surely we should control or own blogs and how they should work and present to the world.
    Not good enough Automattic
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  27. Seems we have the making of an #OccupyAutomattic movement. ;)

    I was really surprised at this blunder, as Automattic has previously been reasonably careful about protecting its users. I realize that it’s possible that this aspect of Jetpack simply escaped notice in review, but I’m sorry, that’s no excuse!

    And thank you for the shoutout, by the way. :)
    Doc Sheldon would love you to read ..New Partner Brings New Ideas to the ClinicMy Profile

    • Hi Doc and welcome back to GrowMap,

      Vernessa mentioned that you had also written about it so I wanted to include your insights on the issue. Automattic already knows me because I’m the one that was the most unhappy about how Akismet was blacklisting my best commenters.

      I am sure this change was intentional and tonight I am seeing something else very strange – some of my mouseover text to other posts on my blog within my blog posts suddenly has “Permanent Link to” appended in front of the mouseover text I wrote.

      If I wanted my links to say that I would write them that way. The question now is what is controlling that and why has it changed. If you (or anyone reading this) knows or even has a theory on what could be doing that do please comment.
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