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Plugin rules and 'freemium' (9 posts)

  1. shauno
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I'm guessing this would be best answered by a mod (Ipstenu? :D). I am considering writing a plugin that will have a bunch of features for free. I then want to try up-sell a couple extra cool features to 'power' users who want a bit more functionality (classic freemium model).

    The way I was planning on doing this was to write in ALL the features into the plugin, but require a serial key to be entered to unlock the extra features. Some quick research into the plugin repository rules (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/about/guidelines/), specifically point 6, seems to prohibit this.

    So I guess my question is, how are plugin devs meant to up-sell to their users? It would seem I would need to write the features into a completely separate plugin. But this brings in headaches like maintaining 2 separate codebases and figuring out a way to push updates to users.
    Is that just the way it is, or is there a better solution?

  2. esmi
    Theme Diva & Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    how are plugin devs meant to up-sell to their users?

    What about creating premium add-on plugins for these extra features?

  3. The way I was planning on doing this was to write in ALL the features into the plugin, but require a serial key to be entered to unlock the extra features.

    Yeah, rule 6 would get you on that one :/

    The best way I can explain it is that it's perfectly GPL okay to do that, but it's not okay to be hosted in the repository and do that. And that's just because the idea of having the repository become a storefront is a little anti WP. (Personally I would love a commercial plugins page, but management would be a bear, and we're already constantly behind the 8-ball with plugins as is!)

    What most people do is have a light version in the repo, and then a 'better' or more robust one on their own sites. Yes, it means you 'lose' the auto-update features of WP, and the listing, but frankly, the plugin search sucks, so it's not a great loss. If you make a good plugin that fills a niche, people will pay to use it.

    Also the other way people do it is by selling not the code, but the service. That is to say support. Pay X a year (or X lifetime) to have access to this site where the devs will help you out. A lot of theme shops do exactly that and seem to be doing just fine.

  4. shauno
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thanks for the reply, and nice idea.
    I can foresee 'spaghetti code' in my future. Having to have hooks and filters all over the free plugin, and complicating the premium code to use those hooks.
    This still leaves me with the problem of pushing updates. I would need to 'phone home', and then offer some way of downloading updates without them being publicly available. Not really rocket science, but I was really hoping to capitalise on the awesome WP repository.

    [Edit]
    Thanks too Ipstenu. I was typing my reply and didn't see yours :)
    I've looked into the support option. But I'm trying to step away from selling my time.
    I was really hoping to not have to develop an entire management system for this :/

  5. esmi
    Theme Diva & Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    This still leaves me with the problem of pushing updates.

    That's why I think the add-ons approach is cleaner. The core plugin gets the benefits of the WPORG Repo and you have a completely separate stream of add-on development. It also opens up the possibility of developing a network of add-ons by other developers.

  6. shauno
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    That still leaves the update problem, but for the add-ons.
    I guess those are the rules, so need to suck it up and make it happen then :)

    Thanks for the input.

  7. drtanz
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Isn't WYSIJA using such a model in the repository? http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wysija-newsletters/

  8. I use the freemium model a lot in several of my plugins, and I do it entirely with the add-on approach.

    The core plugin, which is hosted in the .org repo, includes all of the necessary action/filter hooks to make it possible to create the add-ons. The add-ons are sold off-site and are activated just like any other plugin but require the core plugin to also be active.

    You can see how I'm doing this with my Easy Digital Downloads plugin.

    When you do it right, it's a really cool model because it also opens up the possibility of having other people write add-ons for your core plugin. At this time, EDD has over 30 add-ons, and 15 or more were written by developers other than myself.

    Most of the ecommerce plugins use this model, as well as quite a few others.

    Even if you don't plan to build add-on plugins, it's still best to write your plugin with the actions and filters in place that you can if you ever decide to, and so other developers can modify your plugin as well.

  9. And yes, I believe WYSIJA is using this same model.

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