WooCommerce 3.6 RC2 was released today with changes to the planned Marketplace Suggestions feature after core developers received overwhelmingly negative feedback on its implementation. This RC removes the ads from the product listings, which was one of the most controversial placements for them. It also adds a new setting to turn Marketplace Suggestions off entirely.

  • Fix: Remove Product Listing suggestions. #23211
  • Fix: Add setting to turn off Marketplace Suggestions #23218
  • Fix: Add icon to Product Metabox Suggestions #23230
  • Fix: Add link to manage Suggestions #23229
  • Fix: Update text explaining opt-out and details of usage tracking. #23216

For many WooCommerce developers, 3.6 RC1 was the first time they discovered the marketplace suggestions. Some even felt blindsided by the original implementation.

“Last week, the release candidate was running on my staging server, and out of nowhere, I noticed these ads being inserted inline with the rest of the WC admin list tables,” Tobin Fekkes said. “What a shock that was! I thought I’d developed a bad case of malware or something. What nasty plugin was corrupting my core, default products table, order table, etc?! Oh, just core WooCommerce.

“I have never once gone looking to add a plugin to my site by starting at the ‘Products’ tab. Because it doesn’t belong there. If I want to install an extension or plugin, I will go to the (aptly named) ‘Extensions’ tab or “Plugins” tab.

“It is rather telling that we as longtime developers who attend every Dev chat, bookmark and check this Dev blog daily, and test all your betas and release candidates STILL had no idea about this blatant abuse of trust.”

Todd Wilkens, Head of WooCommerce, addressed the issue of marketplace suggestions seeming to come out of nowhere in a comment on our recent post:

We are committed to working with our community, including the plugin review team, and responding to feedback. Just as a reminder, the Marketplace Suggestions feature was developed in the open in a long-running feature branch/PR which was merged to master a month ago. It was mentioned in the Beta 1 Release notes, and was testable during Beta1 and prior on master.

It is often only when the release candidate comes out that we get certain kinds of feedback. It’s an important stage in the development cycle when we want and expect input. With the 3.6 RC1 live, we received specific feedback that we could take into consideration and act on. Thanks to the developers, end users, and the plugin review team for all their help.

WooCommerce 3.6 RC2 doesn’t make any changes to the frequency with which users will need to dismiss the ads. Some have commented that it is more like “snoozing” the ads, since they require dismissal every day for five days, only to return every month thereafter.

“We continue to be in contact with the plugin review team to ensure the suggestions are in accordance with the guidelines,” Wilkens said. “There is a live conversation on the definition of suggestion/advert dismissibility. We will participate in that conversation and honor the outcomes.”

As this implementation of marketplace suggestions still is not satisfactory to many WooCommerce users and developers, a plugin for turning off has already been submitted and approved in the WordPress plugin directory. WooCommerce Without Marketplace Suggestions removes the suggestions permanently without users having to continually dismiss them.