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Cwicly’s Unexpected Farewell: Founder Decides to Discontinue Development

In a shocking development, the Gutenberg-based page builder Cwicly’s founder Louis-Alexander Désiré has announced that the team is discontinuing the Cwicly development “after much deliberation and soul-searching.”

Packed with innovative features and a commitment to embracing the WordPress vision in Gutenberg, Cwicly attracted a lot of attention. The community noted their recent tailwind expansion too. According to its description in AppSumo, “Cwicly is the only builder that interacts directly with the whole Gutenberg ecosystem and adds specialized blocks that are complementary and fully compatible with Gutenberg.”

In a blog post and email to users, Louis attributed the abrupt decision to  “the relentless onslaught of destructive posts and comments by certain WordPress influencers”. He said, “Personal attacks on both myself and team members have been made and openly tolerated throughout. The negativity and hostility directed towards Cwicly, especially in comparison to other page builders, have taken a significant toll on our morale and motivation.”

“The passion and dedication that we have had from the start has been gradually diluted, enthusiasm has given way to dread. Working in such a negative climate has taken a significant toll on the team, making it nearly impossible to continue. Each day has become a struggle.” 

Louis assured users that Cwicly services will continue until the end of 2024, with reimbursements for all orders made after January 1, 2024.

The statement was later retracted from the website, stating the discontinuation of the plugin development and ensuring user support during the transition period. However, the original statement is still available in Discourse.

Reaction of the Community 

The WordPress community reacted with surprise and shock, especially considering that new features had been released just days before. “This is the biggest shock I’ve had in the recent past! Had to check if the date was 1st April. I hope Cwicly undo their decision” tweeted WordPress developer Sridhar Katakam while Jamie Marsland, founder of Pootlepress, called the statement released “a very sad statement”. 

Several people searched for scathing reviews and tweeted about not finding any devastating reviews or comments against Cwicly while others mentioned seeing negative comments in Facebook groups. Andrew Palmer, co-founder of Bertha.AI revealed he has “seen a few comments on YT education videos for Cwicly where commenters say it’s trash.”

Sujay Pawar, CEO of Brainstorm Force, posted on Facebook “If you’re active in Facebook groups, you know how toxic some communities can be with trolls. I’ve had to take breaks from Facebook for my own mental health. I think Cwicly’s decision to stop must have been about more than just mean comments from some influencers. It’s probably about all the challenges of running a WordPress products business, especially the financial aspects, in demotivating communities where people are quick to criticize without realizing there’s a human being on the other side.” 

David McCan, who had published “The Cwicly Conundrum: Two Years On Is It Ready to Use Yet?” posted “I suspect that my article The Cwicly Conundrum may have contributed to their loss of morale.  While as far as I know what I wrote was accurate, I realize that I was expressing my frustrations about feeling it wasn’t ready yet.  I’m sorry if this contributed to their loss of morale, and it is a reminder that as a user and reviewer it is important to remember the people behind the product.” He continued “Cwicly is cutting edge and made a good contribution to the WordPress ecosystem.  I hope the Cwicly team is able to continue with it, but if they don’t feel they can then I encourage them to keep it going long enough to look for someone who would want to purchase it, so they get some return and the product can live on.” 

Adam W. Warner, GoDaddyPro Director Field Marketing, shared, “I’ve never used it, but everything mention I’ve seen of it was positive. Raving fans in fact. Obviously there’s been negative feedback somewhere though. However, as a business owner, it pays to have a thick skin for the naysayers. Easy to say, harder to do.” Justin Ferriman also agreed,  “Criticism and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand (especially in the case of products). Probably just wasn’t for the founder, and that’s okay. It’s stressful.”

WordPress Tampa Bay organizer Daniel AwesomeSmith hoped “they’re not blaming community when it’s just business acumen and product fit to blame the most.” Kevin Geary, WordPress entrepreneur, clarified that he “spent the last 3-5 months telling everyone that Cwicly is the 2nd best page builder for WordPress.”

Co-founder of Newsletter Glue, Lesley Sim tweeted, “I don’t think shutting down is the right answer, I think levelling up as a business owner is. But, you can’t really teach that. They just have to decide to do it.” Alex Vasquez of DigiSavvy “wouldn’t be surprised if the owner/dev reverses course on their decision to shutter @cwicly. I find it beyond wild to just abandon your customers like that.”

“Consider rebranding Cwicly instead of shutting it down – a fresh start can help overcome negativity and attract a more positive audience.” recommended entrepreneur MahdiAli Khanusiya. “Some of the big guys like @automattic, @LiquidWeb, @syedbalkhi should check out @cwicly. Could be an acquisition / buy out. There’s a lot of great features there that could end up in core, or at least shouldn’t be thrown out.” proposed WPAI founder James LePage

I have reached out to Louis and am still waiting to hear back from him.