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[News] Newfold Digital acquires SEO plugin Yoast

Yoast, a household name for people running WordPress websites, was recently acquired by Newfold Digital, a company that owns most of the web division of the former Endurance International Group (EIG).

Yoast CEO Marieke van de Rakt made the announcement on August 12 on the Yoast website, stating that this change will “enable Yoast to take SEO for everyone to the next level! We look forward to new possibilities to help even more people to improve their SEO.”

Yoast is best known for the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress (like millions of others, we run the premium plugin on the Namecheap blog). And the folks at the company promise this news will not affect anyone who relies on the plugin to optimize their search results.

As noted in their announcement post, Yoast now has 140 employees maintaining a plugin with over 12 million active installs, and there are no plans to change things. According to WP Tavern, van de Rakt said, 

“Team Yoast will remain the same, all of our employees stay with us. Our headquarters will stay in Wijchen, the Netherlands. Our brand will remain our brand. Our mission will remain our mission. Yoast SEO will remain Yoast SEO. Our CEO will remain our CEO and all of the board members will stay in their roles.”

Yoast founder Joost de Valk noted that the main reason for the decision to join Newfold was financial. Since the company’s founding in 2010, the company was bootstrapped and self-funded, which limited its growth potential. As reported by WP Tavern, the decision to join Newfold grew out of Yoast’s leadership becoming “risk-averse” as they watched other companies getting outside funding.

Ultimately, de Valk said, they “wanted to find a place to keep Yoast SEO growing and to keep working on WordPress.” 

In other news

  • US cellular provider T-Mobile hacked.  T-Mobile confirmed on Monday that hackers had gained access to company systems. Vice/Motherboard reported the day before that a hacker claimed to have accessed 100 million customers’ data, including names, phone numbers, physical addresses, Social Security Numbers, driver’s license information, and IEMI numbers that are identifiers specific to an individual device. This hacker was offering the data trove for sale on the dark web for 6 Bitcoin, worth approximately $280,000.

    In Wired’s coverage of the story, they recommend customers immediately change their passwords and security In Wired’s coverage of the story, they recommend customers immediately change their passwords and security PINs. Because of the IEMI data leak, this opens users up to SIM-swap attacks where hackers could access any two-factor authentication sent by text, allowing them to access bank accounts, email, and other sensitive accounts, Wired also recommends utilizing app-based authentication rather than text.

  • No blue checkmark for you. After halting the verification process for four years, in June Twitter briefly opened up a window to get Twitter Verified accounts.  But they have already shut it down again. According to Gizmodo, the step was taken to revise their internal process after the company verified six fake accounts. However, they are still reviewing the applications already in the queue, so some people may still get the coveted blue checkmark this round. And Twitter has promised that they will once again open up the process soon, so keep your fingers crossed.
  • Tesla Autopilot system under the spotlight again. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into why Tesla’s electric cars have been involved in 11 crashes with parked emergency vehicles over the past three years. In a report from the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), the agency states, “The involved subject vehicles were all confirmed to have been engaged in either Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control during the approach to the crashes.” These accidents, most of which happened at night, led to 17 injuries and one death. According to Engadget, there are approximately 765,000 Tesla vehicles that could be impacted by the findings. 
  • No WP prefix in WordPress plugins? WordPress.org now rejects any plugins submitted to the plugin repository if the plugins include the ‘WP’ prefix in the name. Users discovered that this unannounced change in policy took effect in January. According to representatives of the WordPress Foundation, this was a proactive step to prevent plugin developers from changing the ‘WP’ in the name to ‘WordPress,’ which would represent a violation of the WordPress trademark.

    Within the broader WordPress community, this is a big deal. According to WP Tavern, which reported this news, “For years, the WordPress community has been encouraged to use WP instead of WordPress in plugin names, so the decision to reject plugins with WP in the name is a major, controversial change.” Furthermore, this step leads some to wonder if the Foundation will next try to get a trademark on ‘WP’ itself, blocking companies from using it in their product names. 

Tip of the week

With the news of the T-Mobile hack, it’s a great time to recommend that you change your important passwords regularly. These include all financial accounts, your email, and social media accounts, your Apple ID and Google account passwords, your domain and hosting accounts (such as Namecheap), and any other accounts that may contain sensitive data or allow an unscrupulous individual to gain access to your digital life. 

Of course, it goes without saying that you should enable two-factor identification, or 2FA, on every account that allows it (which these days should be all of the above). 

For extra security in light of such an extensive hack and the possibility of SIM-swap attacks, it’s not a bad time to either get an app like Duo Mobile or a physical device like a YubiKey to use to unlock your accounts rather than have these services send an email or text message to confirm your identity. After all, even if you don’t use T-Mobile, your mobile provider might be next.

[News] Newfold Digital acquires SEO plugin Yoast .