LeadPages CEO response to pushback from Elegant Themes fork

Yesterday I wrote a bit about LeadPages forking Elegant Themes’ Bloom plugin to create Rapidology, a popup plugin. Late last night, LeadPages CEO Clay Collins wrote about their thinking when deciding to fork Bloom.

When I wrote about the fork yesterday, I was mostly ambivalent, but somehow Clay Collins’ post made me more against their position, if nothing else because of how rookie of a PR mistake it all was.

I know he probably doesn’t know the WordPress ecosystem as well as many of my readers, but I do think he has a pretty good idea of it and of the potential backlash for a commercial -> free fork like this. And it would’ve been pretty easy to gear it all a bit differently. My disdain for the way they handled it turned into a Tweetstorm (sorry!). Here’s basically what I said:

The CEO of @LeadPages in the spin room. Many reasons why they come off badly here.

1) Yes, they link to Elegant Themes, but should’ve started the whole thing with a blog post and reasoning, versus as a response now.

2) Citing it as a big launch on social media and calling it “A Free Gift From LeadPages” is hilarious, given they’ve done nothing yet.

3) Hijacking activation with a huge required email capture clearly shows the desired goal for the plugin. Not to mention breaks WP rules.

4) Their promo video calls one feature “something we’ve never seen anywhere else.” Smooth.

5) Dude, you raised $27 million this summer. Pick on someone else or do your own thing to capture some damn emails.

Anyway, I don’t particularly think they handled it well. But I figured I’d let you know that their CEO did indeed follow up. But I think he would’ve been more successful just saying nothing.

Also, I said I’d report back on why the plugin was pulled. And as noted in the previous post, it is likely because it was too direct of a copy, though the email capture upon activation was probably worthy of the removal as well.

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