Ajax Edit Comments Switches To Paid Model

I’ve been a fan of Ajax Edit Comments ever since its creation. Ajax Edit Comments enables anonymous users to easily edit their own comments in a Digg like interface using Ajax. Since its creation, Ronald Huereca and Ajay D’ Souza have done a fantastic job continuously improving the plugin. For example, in one of the most recent updates, comment authors now have a way to request that their comment be deleted for one reason or another.

I was a bit surprised when Ronald got in touch with me to let me know that Ajax Edit Comments would now be a commercial plugin. Intrigued, I sent Ronald a few questions to find out what his plans are.

I noticed you now have an entire site dedicated to this awesome plugin. What are your plans to take AEC to the next level?

The first priority for the next version is performance enhancements. I want to cut the size of the JavaScript, CSS, and PHP that loads. I’d also like to significantly decrease the Database queries involved.

As far as front-end features, several users have asked for do-follow to be added. Although it seems out of scope for the plugin, it wouldn’t be all that difficult to implement. I’d like to look at other comment plugins out there as well and see if it would make sense to implement those features into Ajax Edit Comments.

We just added a two-column drop-down in version 3.2, which makes the options even more less cluttered. I also plan on improving the e-mail feature introduced in 3.2, and add a “whitelist” feature, which will enable admin to select certain trusted users who can skip the spam and moderation queue.

Another future enhancement is allowing admin to select which advanced editing options are enabled, and to make better use of CSS sprites to handle all of the icon effects.

I also plan on re-organizing the admin options page to provide better help messages and to make it less cluttered.

Are there plans to simultaneously develop a free version with the paid version or will the free version be discontinued in favor of the paid one?

I do plan to more-or-less discontinue the free version as far as features. However, I will continue to check the WP Extend version to make sure it works with the latest WordPress version.

Will the plugin continue to be licensed under the GPL?

Absolutely. What we’re trying to do with the new site is provide automatic upgrades (very similar to Gravity Forms), priority support, and affiliate opportunities.

We offer a 7-day free trial for all initial subscriptions, and those that choose to cancel are more than welcome to keep and tinker with the plugin.

With regards to the subscription plans, what are people paying for?

I would say priority support, automatic upgrades, and our affiliate program.

With version 3.1 (the last free release), there are four options in the Ajax Edit Comments settings that allow anybody using the plugin to become an affiliate, as long as they are a paying subscriber of the new Ajax Edit Comments plugin.

Affiliates can enable an option that will show a message below any anonymous commenter posted. If that person gets a lot of comments, there is a potential to make some money here through referrals.

All affiliates will earn 50% of any net sales via referrals. And just to re-iterate, all paying subscribers are automatically affiliates since the plugin has the affiliate options built-in by default.

What prompted you to start a subscription service around this plugin?

It’s probably the same-old story: donations were few if rare.

I tried to do periodic e-mails with the 3.0 version, but even then, the donations still weren’t coming.

At the same time, support requests were exploding, both on WP Extend and the official forums that Ajay D’souza was running.

In an effort to capitalize on the plugin’s large user base, we (Ajay D’souza and I) decided to centralize the support and set up a subscription based service for support and upgrades.

Who makes up the team behind Ajax Edit Comments?

Ajay D’souza (http://ajaydsouza.com/) and myself (ronalfy.com).

We are both co-authors of the plugin. Ajay is the lead on support matters, translator interface, and forum maintenance. I am the lead on overall site maintenance and feature additions to the plugin.

I understand that this plugin will have an affiliate program attached to it, how will this work?

Once a user is subscribed, he is automatically an affiliate. The user can access an authentication key and affiliate ID by accessing his member’s section.

Once he installs 3.1 or above, he can enter the key and ID into the plugin settings. If he enables the option to show affiliate text to his users, all anonymous commenters will see the affiliate text below their comment.

If a user clicks on the affiliate link and subscribes, the affiliate is given 50% of the net sale, no matter what amount it is. So if an affiliate purchases a subscription at $10 a year, then that affiliate will only need two-three of his users to make up for his purchase.

For those interested in the affiliate program, there are more details here: http://www.ajaxeditcomments.com/affiliates/

If I use AEC, will I still be able to receive automatic upgrades from the WordPress.org plugin repository, or will they come from somewhere else?

With version 3.1 or above, all automatic upgrades will come through the
AjaxEditComments.com website.

The automatic upgrade mechanism is very similar to the way Gravity Forms’ works (probably because I used some of their code :P).

Once you enter in the authentication key, you are good to go with automatic upgrades. All our plugin files are hosted on Amazon S3, so there shouldn’t be an issue with upgrade speed.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Sure. The cheapest subscription starts at only $10 a year, and for anybody who’s used the plugin, they will tell you that’s a steal. The discounted price will last until January 31st.

There’s a 7-day free trial involved for new subscribers, so if you aren’t satisfied with the plugin or the way things work at the site, you can cancel your subscription and not be charged.

For subscribers who cancel after the 7-day trial, the subscription will remain valid for a year after the initial subscription purchase.


4 responses to “Ajax Edit Comments Switches To Paid Model”

  1. I’ve said before that I think this plugin is a must have and I certainly think the cost is worth what you get for it.

    I think I would advocate making the free version a very simple personal edition with very few customisable options, that is, removing some features rather than just freezing them.

    Either way, I wish Ronald the best of luck with it.

  2. @Andrew – that could work, but I think it would be a good idea to allow current users to upgrade for free if that were the case, otherwise they’re just losing a bunch of functionality from a plugin they may have been using/relying on for quite a while.


Subscribe Via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: