WordPress.com has long been one of the premier content management systems (CMS) online. Part of this is because it has a free tier, though you can access more features and custom themes if you’re willing to pay a bit more.
And this is something Automattic, owners of WordPress.com, really wants you to do, as demonstrated by a recent questionable ‘offer’ the site presented yours truly.
I recently purchased a Premium plan on WordPress. For $120 a year I get some advanced design tools, custom CSS, Google Analytics support and more.
As soon as my purchase was completed I was presented with the upsell. Why not upgrade to the Business plan to access even more bells and whistles?
There’s nothing wrong with this. WordPress is a business, after all. The issue lies within the enticement strategy.
That’s not a special offer, WordPress.com
“This is a one time offer just for you,” the website read.
“Upgrade your account to our most powerful plan ever with this special offer.”
The site proceeded to explain that I was missing out on some features only available with the WordPress Business plan.
“Simply click the link below and select the Business plan option to upgrade for just
$A396 A$276 more. Once you upgrade, you’ll have 30 days to evaluate the plan and decide if it’s right for you.”
Use of the terms “special offer”, “one time” and “just for you” suggests that what is being offered is a deal or discount. This is reiterated by the higher price being crossed out in favour of a cheaper one.
The problem is that this pricing is not the special deal or offer it’s being positioned as.
The Premium plan is just $120 for a year, which I had just paid at the time. The Business plan is higher — $396 for a year. The “$276 more” that WordPress offered here is not a discount, but the exact 12-month price difference between these two plans.
This was not an offer just for me, but the actual full price of the Business plan. $120 (what I had already paid) + $276 “more” = $396.
Being a U.S. company it’s entirely possible that WordPress has used vague enough language here to get away with its “special offer” just for “you”.
Regardless of the legality, this is not a customer-friendly sales tactic. Don’t be taken in by it.
Automattic has been contacted for comment.