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On all the sites I author and administrate I use a google analytics plugin which shows me visitor numbers, sessions etc so I can keep up to date with traffic. Up until very recently, the plugin I’ve installed on all the sites has been Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress and I’ve always found it to be just what I need – it adds the tracking code to every page and provides a good selection of reports straight on the WordPress dashboard for convenience.

A couple of days ago I discovered that amongst the plugin updates, the google analytics plugin was one of the ones due to be updated so I selected it and waited until the update had completed to see what changes had taken place. What I found was instead of a few minor alterations and tidy ups, the whole codebase had been replaced with a re-named version of a different plugin, Monster Insights.

When I looked on the website I discovered that the author of the original plugin had decided that he wanted to move onto new things and had sold the original google analytics plugin to the authors of Monster Insights. There is nothing wrong with that at all, but the new owners have just replaced the original plugin with their own which requires a paid subscription to display a lot of the reports which were up until the change all free.

This really riles me; Don’t forget the actual reports and data is all coming from google analytics – the Plugin is only writing queries and generating reports and graphs for google analytics.

Don’t get me wrong – if the company have bought the plugin they are entitled to make changes, but they should inform the users of the plugin of what they intend to do.

I’m pleased to say however that there is a replacement for the original plugin; GainWP Google Analytics plugin seems to be an exact copy of the code from the original plugin which has been forked prior to the sale and offers all the original features and simplicity of Google Analytics Dashboard.

I was also interested to see that on the plugin page of the new, taken over version the reviews have been flooding in with complaints and one * responses. It seems Monster Insights have really upset the community (as they have me) and people are uninstalling in huge numbers.

The lesson – never take your audience for granted.

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