How Some Hosting Companies are Taking Advantage of Auto-Installers and Trying to Sell You Stuff
Last updated on Mar 3, 2015
Brent: This article is focused on script installers that have upsells all over (like MOJO Marketplace). It’s important to note that it’s mostly the EIG hosts who offer MOJO Marketplace as a feature. Most other web hosts utilize Softaculous, a harmless one-click install solution for popular scripts such as WordPress.
Web developers absolutely love anything that makes their lives easier — it makes them happy. A quick look at the short history of website creation will tell you that web developers must be really happy by now: things have come a long way since the days of manually creating your own databases to manage pages and handle large amounts of content.
In fact, things are so easy these days that the general population is now able to do what professional web developers once did for a living just a few short years ago (so maybe the developers aren’t so happy since they’re out of a job).
Website Development for the Masses
Today, the power to buy a domain name, set up hosting and run a website is in everyone’s hands. It’s now easy, quick and cheap to set up and run your own website without much experience or technical know-how at all.
Hosts even offer one-click installation of popular scripts like the blogging giant WordPress and other content management solutions like Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and more. Called “auto-installers”, they make installing scripts a brainless, painless experience.
Why Auto-Installers Rock
We will focus on WordPress to illustrate why auto-installers have rocked the world of every web developer on the planet.
The advantages of using auto-installers that come with most hosting packages these days are very easy to understand. With a few clicks you can have WordPress installed and ready to go in about two minutes.
In the old days, this entailed going in and creating your own MySQL databases, creating users, then running the WordPress installer on your site and hoping it all gelled into a usable blog.
Now imagine trudging your way through that process when you own dozens or hundreds of blogs. Nightmare! So it’s no wonder auto-installers changed everything, and now they’ve brought script installation to everyone. Whether they’re technical or not they can install a blog, a forum or even an e-commerce store.
Lately, however, there’s a growing concern that some web hosts have auto-installers which are putting more than just useful core software packages on websites.
Are Some Auto-Installers Taking a Dark, New Direction?
The auto-installers are a no-brainer, but now we’re seeing a disturbing trend with some web hosts. While some hosts add totally benign plugins to WordPress, like WP Super Cache or JetPack, a few are now inserting what look to be advertisements for “premium” features for your blog.
These premium theme options are “for your benefit” but we’re guessing the hosts that do this get a kickback from the themes creator. One such plugin, called “MOJO Marketplace” is nothing but that: a store for purchasing premium themes! Then there’s MOJO Services, where you can browse premium plugins — another store.
As you can see, the plugins are merely options presented to you for buying other plugins and graphics.
It gets worse. As it turns out, MOJO is actually owned by a company called Endurance International Group (EIG). Guess what other brands EIG owns? HostGator, for one!
What all this means is that some of us are now getting ads with our free WordPress installations. It was bound to happen — after all, now that everyone is starting and managing their own websites, web hosts have a captured audience for products. Now it seems some of those web hosting companies are using that to their advantage. At least the products are related to running whatever script you’re using…in this case we used WordPress as an example.
But that could change. We might soon be seeing targeted ads in the admin side panel, distracting us while we write. Imagine the possibilities. It’s definitely worth looking into auto-installers and what they sneak in when you use them, when researching hosting for your site.
How about you: have you noticed MOJO or other plugins that have sneaked in with your WP or other auto installations?