This is the story of Sponsorship, a WooCommerce extension idea I had several months ago. I wanted to create a kickstarter-like solution for WooCommerce. Back in August I walked you thru it.
Since then, I've received a lot of questions, comments and emails about it, to see how it's going. And today I have an update. But it may not be the update you were thinking of – especially if you were waiting for info on when/where I'd be selling it.
Releasing a plugin isn't cheap.
I know people think that software is a high margin game because once you've created something, you can sell it over and over again with little cost. But the cost of developing software is nothing when it compares to the cost of supporting software.
I love the support that folks like premium plugin vendors provide. I'm talking about Pippin Williamson (Pippin's Plugins), the folks at Gravity Forms, and folks like Thomas Griffin (Soliloquy Slider).
But let's be honest…even before they were all internet and WordPress famous, these guys were providing amazing support because they're amazing, not because it was making them tons of money.
My dialogue with WooThemes was very helpful
As I spoke with the awesome guys at WooThemes about WooCommerce, and my extension, they had some opinions about how it ought to work. As you know, I love people with opinions – even if I don't always agree with them.
In their case, they wanted it to support Paypal. And you likely already know, I hate paypal. So it was clear to me that my opinion and theirs didn't match. And at the same time, they had another person that was looking to build something like I was doing, but it was already supporting paypal.
So at that point, I had to make a call. And my call was easy…for three reasons:
- I hate Paypal. Plus I didn't want to get in someone else's way.
- I'm not an amazing support person (like the guys above).
- I love GitHub.
GitHub provides another approach to “releasing” software
I love GitHub and not just because it's trillions of times better than Visual SourceSafe (if I was the kind of guy who put those “tweet this text” in my articles, you know that line would qualify). It's source control for open source projects.
The reasons I love GitHub focus on it's ability to provide an excellent way to release open source software.
- Everyday non-dev folks are unlikely to visit it to “buy” stuff.
- Even if they download it, the code is released “as is.”
- Developers can adjust the code easily for their own use.
Sponsorship is now released for free!
So even if initially I was going to sell the extension, I'm not going to now. I know the code isn't “done done.” I know with WooCommerce 2.0 some changes are going to be required.
I also know that others may want Paypal support, so look for a new extension in the Woo catalog soon (by another vendor).
And I know that some folks may end up taking it and doing amazing stuff with it. If you do, come back and let me know. Or buy me a cigar.