With the announcement on Friday of the sale of ManageWP to GoDaddy (and confirmed today) I have received a fair amount of questions about it and I have also seen MainWP brought up in numerous comments, so I thought it was best to take a moment and address the acquisition and how a sale of a SaaS (Software as a Service) management solution such as ManageWP differs from the sale of a open source stand alone solution such as MainWP.
Let me start by saying; I am proud of what Vladimir Prelovac has accomplished with ManageWP and for paving the way for plugins like MainWP. I believe he and his team are really going to do their best to continue to provide a great experience for ManageWP users while being part of GoDaddy.
Privacy, it’s important!
The problem, as I see it, is the information GoDaddy is obtaining through the sale. While I’m not privy to the details of the sale, I have to assume GoDaddy is not only getting user information, but they are also getting the information on every one of the sites that a user has on ManageWP, information the users entrusted with ManageWP, not GoDaddy.
One way to assume all the information on the sites connected to ManageWP are being tracked and analyzed is from this one line in the announcement blog post:
Yes. Although GoDaddy is the most popular hosting among our users (around 8% of all websites managed with ManageWP are on GoDaddy)
There is no way anyone at MainWP could give you any information on the percentage of sites hosted on GoDaddy because we just do not track anything about your sites! And, if that metric is being tracked you have to assume everything about your sites is up for grabs.
This very scenario is something we have addressed on the MainWP homepage for a good part of a year:
It is our belief that with WordPress management solutions that are hosted on the developer’s servers or contain encrypted code that you can never truly know how that information is being used or even what information about your sites is being gathered and stored.
Ask yourself what happens to all that information if it is sold, if your management solution is sold or worse yet if your management company decides to exploit what they have gathered.
And, again this is not specifically about the ManageWP and GoDaddy sale this is about any WordPress Management company or plugin that stores information about your sites on their server (SaaS/hosted) or encrypts any of their files. Business are bought and sold all the time.
So, what happens if MainWP is sold?
I think it is best said on our homepage:
As a self-hosted solution, you install the MainWP Dashboard plugin on your WordPress site and not on our private server. And with fully auditable, open source code you can be sure we do not track or keep any information about your Child sites. We encourage you to review the code for yourself via GitHub.
So what information would a company purchasing MainWP get about you?
If you never install an Extension, they would receive none of your information, if you purchase or install an Extension they would have your name, email and URL of your Dashboard. No one would know the URL of any of your other sites because they are not tracked or stored anywhere.
Please feel to ask any statements or questions you have in the comments section.