Cashing In On WordPress Plugin Development

dollarsignKevin Eklund who operates published a thought provoking article the other day which has become yet another piece of this puzzle known as ‘How To Make Money Making WordPress Plugins‘. On the WordPress Tavern forum, this is a topic that we have been discussing in different incarnations for a few months now. Here are a few examples:

Kevin provides a few different statistic samples based on his discussions with some popular plugin authors and it’s easy to see that donations alone do not equate into a favorable business model for plugin authors. I’ve spoken with Michael Torbert who is the author of the top downloaded plugin on the WordPress Repository, All In One SEO Pack and he has told me that the amount he receives in donations would not be enough to make a living on. Kevin then goes on to provide some alternative business models that plugin authors can use to bring in revenue to support their work.

One suggestion that has been brought up a few times by different people is to turn the plugin repository into something like the Apple App store where plugins can be purchased for a very cheap price. Another option is to place a $1.00 required donation on all plugins in the repository. I understand how this could be a good thing as plugin authors would definitely make a nice chunk of change if everyone who had downloaded their plugin donated just $1.00 but if something like this were to be forced upon users, I can already see a number of people with pitchforks lining up to protest. But, if this were accomplished by someone creating an app like store completely independent of the plugin repository, I’m all for that.

One thing I don’t want to see happen in the WordPress ecosystem is something I remember from my days using Joomla. It could be vastly different today than a few years ago but I remember that whenever I wanted to do something cool with Joomla either through an extension or a theme, I had to pay for it. Usually a good chunk of change. In the end, this became a major turnoff as it seemed like so many cool developers were in it for the money. Money I eventually ran out of.

I can completely understand why plugin developers should be compensated for their time and effort. I’m not against that. I am against certain ideas on how this can be accomplished but they mostly pertain to anything dealing with the official plugin repository. The good news is, there are a few examples of plugin authors who abide by the GPL and who are making a living at it. Two of those examples off the top of my head are both e commerce solutions. Dan Milward of WP E-Commerce and Jonathan Davis with the Shopp Plugin. Dan has the free plugin available in the WordPress repository while Jonathan’s plugin is not. I’ve spoken with Jonathan about how well his business is doing and so far, it’s way above all of his expectations. I have not spoken with Dan but from the outside looking in, he is doing pretty well himself. After all, WP Ecommerce has been around a long time so he must be doing something right.

Over the past two years, there have been countless debates on trying to get commercial theme authors to align themselves with the GPL as part of their business model. It’s been a tough struggle but thanks to pioneers such as Brian Gardner, those folks are starting to come around. I really hope that we are not entering a new time period where the same debates regarding the GPL and themes encompass plugins.

I believe that the best model for plugin authors is the combination model as proposed by Kevin:

A Combination Model – This would entail using any combination of the models described above. For instance, maybe instead of selling the plugin outright, the developer draws on all the other plugin business models for sustainability (i.e. donations + ads + paid support + paid upgrades).

I think if plugin authors would use a bit of creativity, I think we’ll see some cool models spring up. I’m keeping my eyes peeled on how the guys at RocketGenius handle this situation with their upcoming Gravity Forms plugin. I have no idea if it will be a commercial plugin or not but if it is, it will be interesting to see how it all works out for them.

Your Thoughts:

You can add your thoughts on this issue either in the forum where we have a bunch of threads already created or by leaving a comment.


50 responses to “Cashing In On WordPress Plugin Development”

  1. I read that post on Tomuse myself and decided I had to do something about it on a personal level. So begins the crusade:

    I dont think we have to go to far in setting up shops, paying for plugins, and business models, I reckon, its a simple matter of making people aware that their donations make a difference and taking two seconds to donate a few bucks is worth every penny.

    Otherwise things will come crashing down or become extremely expensive if we don’t all muck in now and contribute financially.
    .-= ´s last blog ..Have you made a donation to your WordPress Plugin Developer? =-.

  2. @Justin Parks – Hey Justin, thanks for stopping by. Cool to see you step up and donate a few bucks. I myself have donated at least $70.00 so far to a few different plugin authors. I need to donate more.

  3. Not that I am trying to speak for Matt or anyone else, but he has always said he wants WordPress users to be able to use it for free. and not have the idea there were things you had to pay for.

    Sure, that leaves devs in the dust a wee bit, but there’s gotta be a compromise in there somewhere.
    .-= ´s last blog ..Building a better blog host: Week 1 =-.

  4. @Andrea_R – Well, if that has been his stance, he has obviously changed his mind, at least with themes or else he wouldn’t bother linking to GPL compliant commercial themes. I think that whatever happens, if it’s GPL, it’s ok by Matt. He wants to see people succeed using WordPress whether it be from consulting, a business, or providing services. One thing he certainly doesn’t want is a massive amount of confusion which is why commercial themes and free themes are not mixed together in the same repository.

  5. @Andrea_R

    I see your point here and WordPress itself is free.

    Developers that make plugins for the software are not part of WordPress and so should be duely compensated for their time. Of course how that compensation is arrived is the discussion of this blog post.

    When you purchase a house, if you have to pay for the extras, upgrade the kitchen? you pay. Upgrade the windows? You pay. The cost of a house does not include all the extra little bits you want.
    .-= ´s last blog ..Tweet Tweet, Vroom Vroom =-.

  6. I’ve often wondered if there is a way to monetize the plugins I release. The problem is there aren’t that many so-called “Premium Plugins” available. It seems people are much more willing, or at least more comfortable, paying for a flashy theme as opposed to a plugin. But have you ever purchased a premium theme and had it not include 1-3 free plugins to give it its functionality?

    I’ve only released a handful of plugins, so I’m sure someone like Lester Chan gets many more donations then I do, but if I get $50 in donations any given month I’m thrilled. If I don’t get any I’m not too surprised.

    Currently I use my plugins many as a traffic source to bring clients in who need custom work done. That has been quite profitable for me and is how I’ll continue treating my plugins. I personally cringe at the idea of a paid support forum purely for the reason that post-release support is my least favorite aspect of any project. :)

  7. I feel that making the plugin repository, as it is now, a “pay” site would be a bad idea. There currently seem to be few restrictions on what makes it into the repository, so you could end up paying that dollar and then find that your plugin wasn’t compatible with the latest version of WordPress, or that it simply didn’t work as well as you’d like. I think we’d also see a similar problem to what was going on in the theme repository 6 months ago. People would create very basic plugins, just so they could make a quick buck (much as people made basic, low quality themes, just to get link backs). If something like this were to be done, I think there would need to be a separate repository, with stricter rules for acceptance. And I don’t think it would ever be something that Automattic would ever officially host or support, so some third party would have to do it.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post =-.

  8. @Will Anderson – Yeah, if something like this were to happen, it would probably be done through a third party. Mandatory donations are going to upset people one way or another. I really don’t want to see a repeat of what happened with themes.

    Something we were talking about in the IRC channel which I think is cool is how plugin authors could publish a roadmap or feature set and then end users bid like an auction on various features or something like that. If the prices were affordable, I think a creative plugin author could pull this off. He only works after he gets paid and he is paid through donations for particular features.

  9. We have had limited success with selling an e-book that has the plugin attached. cost of developing the plugin and writing the instructions is spread across many purchases. to a degree it follows a more traditional product development model where the R+D is recouped through sales over time.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… MU’ing WP =-.

  10. In addition to the above, would it be helpful for developers if Automattic would add built-in donation functionality into the plugin repository?

    I’m envisioning something that is automatically generated for a given plugin author, and linked to PayPal (or whatever) on the back-end. (I would imagine that the plugin author would have to provide a PayPal (or whatever) account to which to link.) The e-commerce functionality would be handled by the site between the end user and the backend.

    Then, each plugin page (and optionally, each plugin author profile) would have a DONATE button. Clicking the button, obviously, would enable users to send donations.


    1) Automatically generated. Plugin authors don’t have to do anything other than provide a PayPal account.

    2) Increased visibility. More opportunity for users to be reminded to send a donation.

    3) Opportunity to link to WordPress plugin admin UI. I can envision an update to the plugin admin UI (either core, or through a plugin), that could include:

    a) A DONATE link for each plugin
    b) A UI to send a one-time donation (of a user-specified) amount to all installed/active plugins
    c) A UI to set up automatic/recurring donations for all installed/active plugins

    As a user (i.e. not a developer), I would use something like this. I would like to think that a significant number of users would be willing to set up a nominal, recurring donation to authors of plugins they use ($1/plugin per month, or quarter, or even year, or whatever).

    The key is: make it optional, make it visible, and make it easy – and then it would see use (I think).
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Daily Digest for June 14th =-.

  11. I’ve been thinking about trying to team up with a premium theme developer to produce premium plugins that add more features to that one (or set of) theme(s). That means they can be sold as added extras to provide much more control than the default. It makes the theme more attractive as well as making my dev time worthwhile.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… HTML 5 Gallery =-.

  12. As a new-to-WP site operator, I have to say that finding plugins that are full featured, current, have good support, and just plain work with my site is tough. There are hundreds if not thousands to choose from, and unless you have previous experience with some, it can be a crapshoot.

    Too many of them were released to the public at some point but seem to have no ongoing support. Who wants to build a site based on plugins that aren’t being maintained?

    I for one would be happy to pay $1 for every plugin IF the plugin was current with the current version of WP and it seemed like the author could still fog a mirror. I’d consider paying more ($5?) if the author maintained an open support forum and committed to (a) answering support questions, and (b) keeping the plugin up to date with WP releases, at lease for some reasonable amount of time.

  13. I think plugins should be free…if any author changes their plugin I am using on my site, I will search for another one that does the same thing, any function can be done by at least 5 plugins.

    The average plugin will work with most WP installations but if a site specific customization is needed then obviously you need to pay.

    Do you see the difference? Plugin = free, customization = not free

    As plugin authors you should still support those free plugins, I have 12 customized plugins (all for different customer sites), I did my homework on plugin authors. The WordPress community would die if things went to a paid model.

    I have given donations to plugin authors.

    IT is up to ME to give the donation, it is up to ME to get a paid customization. Just like it is up to ME what I will be having for lunch in 30 minutes (I just ordered pizza).

    That pizza I ordered it from one pizza chain in my area that has good quality pizza and it is cheaper.

    I will pay for quality.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… WordCamp Toronto 2009 =-.

  14. Thanks Jeffro. I’m glad to see others are supportive of plugin developers and optimistic about finding a solution that gives back to them. WordPress has greatly benefited by the hard work and effort of plugin developers and I think it’s only fair that we consider an alternative model that compensates them. If Matt Mullenweg can allow premium themes to be advertised on WordPress (e.g. Brian Gardner’s Revolution2 themes) why can’t he do the same for premium plugins? If a premium plugins repository is out of the question, then perhaps a mandatory “donation” of $1/download is possible. Despite the low cost, this would do wonders for the developers and allow them to provide much better support for their plugins. Doing so would further drive innovation for WordPress and may even create some jobs in the process. That’s something that’s especially needed in these tough economic times. Regardless of the model used, it would greatly benefit WordPress to be supportive of the theme and plugin devs that made it what it is today.

  15. @Chip – The official plugin repository already has the functionality for a built in deposit button(or rather link); all you need to do is put a paypal link in the readme file for your plugin, and a link appears in the plugin info block on the right hand side…not that mine has ever been clicked on! I guess that the problem is that it isn’t really that noticeable.

    A one dollar contribution per plugin is relatively nothing in my eyes, especially when you consider that a lot of plugins have tens of thousands of downloads or more, so a plugin author would be happy with one dollar a time. I know I would, the $6000 I would have received so far would go a long way for a uni student, and would also encourage me to consider building in some of the more tricky functionality people have requested.

    Another point, which I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned, is what happens when you just want to try a plugin out. For example, I read the plugin release post on WLTC, and think, oh that plugin looks cool, I’ll try it out. The chances are it’s something I don’t really need, but I’m just interested. I wouldn’t really want to pay just to have a play and then never come back to it.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Get Posts With Same Custom Field VALUE As Current Post =-.

  16. I think the first step we need to take or action (and which is beginning to happen) is making people aware that wordpress plugin devs are not getting donations.

    Plain and simple.

    If we commit to using a plugin it should be a given that we donate, yes, even one single dollar. Im not wanting the business model to change, I love the “free” side of WordPress, the cool plugins and indeed as Epic Alex says i like to try them before I want to “buy” them. The system at this moment is fine, we just need to encourage people to be more considerate and show more appreciation when a plugin is adopted.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Have you made a donation to your WordPress Plugin Developer? =-.

  17. @Epic Alex – Well, I guess that was a good idea, then – such a good idea that it was already implemented! :)

    What about the second part – the integration into the Plugin Admin UI? Would that be feasible? If so, then I think that it might be a really good way to get people into the donation habit…
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Daily Digest for June 14th =-.

  18. @Chip Bennett – There are a few functions in the core code that would allow for a link to donate to a plugin’s author to be added to each plugin row, such as plugin_action_links and plugin_row_meta(undocumented).

    The problem would be though, if this were made into its own plugin, that the email address supplied by the plugin author might not match their paypal email. However, assuming they have added the link in the readme, then that can easily be used as the link. Although that in turn is assuming they put in a paypal donate link – quite a lot of the donate links just lead to the author’s homepage…
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Get Posts With Same Custom Field VALUE As Current Post =-.

  19. @Miroslav Glavic – This type of attitude is why I pulled all my free plugins. Obviously your time is much more important, and worth a lot more than mine, as I am but a lowley plugin developer who has nothing better to do than program a plugin to provide a function that is already served by an huge number of existing plugins and then spend all my remaining time supporting it.

    That’s when I’m not hunting for edible berries in the woods.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Snippet of the day: Ensuring the correct JSON headers are output =-.

  20. I don’t think donations will ever pay for the development and support costs of a plugin, period.
    Almost no one ever donates unless its for starving people or some other bogus cause.
    So going the donations route is just a huge waste of time.

    There is just one simple idea to making money.
    The secret is:
    You charge money for your product.
    I know its totally absurd in this no charge obsessed time of ours.
    DHH of ruby fame made an entire seminar on this topic over at Statup School 08.
    It’s really a must watch seminar.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… GWO plugin for WordPress: beta version released =-.

  21. I was going to stay out of this topic but…. @Miroslav Glavic why is it up to you to decide whether to pay for a plugin but the plugin author should have no say in whether they want to charge for it?

    You make the statement that you will pay for quality, even though at the same time you say that you’ll quit using a plugin that starts charging, when the common charge people are talking about is only $1. I don’t understand how you are willing to pay for 12 custom plugins yet you are adamant about not paying a dollar for non-custom ones that you download.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Twitter Updates for 2009-06-17 =-.

  22. @ Michael Torbert

    those 12 custom plugins were for client projects, they paid for it.

    anyways, let’s take a contact form plugin…there are many plugins to use. just because a plugin is a paid one, does not mean it is a good plugin.

    When I said paying for a plugin, I meant more than $1/$1.99, I am not going to pay $9.99 for a plugin that does not do 100% of what I want that plugin to do. Yes I am willing to pay $9.99 or more for a plugin that does what I want it to do.

    One plugin I don’t like the way it’s going it’s the next gen gallery, Until I find a replacement, NGG is on my site.

    @Barry: if you are going to put plugins then support them, wether free or not. One of the best things about WordPress is that it is free. Just because some of your plugins are free, does it mean you won’t support it? NO, as an author of plugins (this applies to theme authors too) you need to support it, I will support authors who have the passion for WordPress and who are not greedy who think they deserve my money………….earn my donation. I have donated around $80 in the past 5ish years on plugins/themes authors of WordPress, PHPBB and other Open Source projects.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… WordCamp Toronto 2009 =-.

  23. @Miroslav Glavic – I think you undervalue the price of a good plugin. Premium themes go easily for $80 each. You saying you’ve donated $80 in the past five years kind of proves one of the points of the post, that donations are NOT a sustainable, regular income for plugin developers. As a WordPress user you are not entitled to anything, whether it be free support, plugins, or themes. Just because that has been the norm doesn’t mean you should take it for granted.

    I do custom plugins for individuals and business all the time. I’ve done pretty in-depth custom plugins that peaked over $1,000. Obviously that price is for custom development and not for a widely distributed plugin, but just to put things into perspective.

  24. @Michael Torbert

    Well said Michael. Thankfully I believe that Miroslav Glavic’s stance on this is quite unusual. Almost everyone I’ve spoken with has been supportive of a low cost mandatory donation to help developers maintain and support their plugins. WordPress could do this very easily by redirecting each plugin page’s download link to the developer’s PayPal account. The developer could in turn redirect back to where the already logged in user could download the plugin and receive lifetime updates and support for $1. I don’t think that’s too much to ask and I’m betting at least 95% of people would agree.

  25. @John Kolbert

    My thoughts precisely John. $80 over 5 years. He’s missing the point. Furthermore, most people use 20 or less plugins on their site and don’t donate at all. If the cost was merely $1 per plugin he could have saved $60. I think we are wasting our time arguing with Mr. Glavic. Let’s just agree to disagree. Like I said, thankfully his position on this debate has almost no support whatsoever.

  26. @Miroslav Glavic – I don’t understand your thinking. You demand that a plugin developer is obligated to provide support for a plugin, which should be free, and as a result may possibly receive a donation from you if you feel they’ve earned it. By the way, I never said that a plugin that is commercial is automatically better than a free alternative. I don’t think anyone has said this.
    @Kevin Eklund – I don’t know that 95% would agree, but many would anyway. It’s becoming a hot topic as more and more plugin developers move on and abandon their plugins.

    For what it’s worth, most of the people who have given me donations never asked for support from me, and never contacted me in any way other than going to my Paypal donations page. Also, most of the people to whom I’ve given support have never given a donation. I can probably count on one or two hands the number of people who’ve donated after receiving support (which ranges anywhere from a couple minutes to send a quick email to hours of work, usually somewhere in between with a few emails or so back and forth), only one of which that I can think of which was over 10 dollars. Most that donated after receiving support gave $5 or less. All but one of the larger donations were from people who never asked for support.
    Do the math: I get around 30ish support emails (and phone calls) a day for my free plugins. Statistically, most or none of these will give a donation, and if any do, it will be a few dollars. Being conservative, if I spend 20 minutes on each, and get $5 from each, would you consider that good compensation for the support time, not to mention for the development time?

    Having said all that, let me be clear. I have no problems with with receiving little or nothing in the way of donations from most people for my contributions to the WordPress community, that’s not why I do it. If I never got another donation I would still work on developing my plugins and love doing it. But please don’t insult me and the other developers by having the telling us that we owe you support for the software that you didn’t pay for in the first place.
    MySQL is free. Go ahead and call Sun Microsystems and ask for support, let them know that you may provide a donation if you’re happy with their support. Have you checked out Automattic’s pricing for support?
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Twitter Updates for 2009-06-17 =-.

  27. Not wanting to “dirty the waters”, but there I think there are two distinct areas here.

    There is the fully blown, all singing, all dancing plugin with the well though out interface, version control, roadmap, etc… and then completely separate from that the “I’ve been working on something”, developed a bit of code that might be useful to someone, format it into a plugin and put it out there – type plugin.

    The first, obviously, takes a lot of work, effort and, frankly, is deserving of compensation.

    The second, from my own personal experience, is part of the journey to the full blown plugin and is a rough and ready “do what you want with this” piece of code. I don’t expect anything other than maybe a thank you and even better the price of a coffee in a donation, but I also don’t intend to support it.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Snippet of the day: Ensuring the correct JSON headers are output =-.

  28. @Barry – You have an excellent point, but I don’t think it applies to everyone, nor to every plugin. Take CForms II and Contact Forms 7. Contact Forms 7 is ugly, clunky (although much better than it used to be), and until recently could have been subjectively considered a member of the latter category, but serves a great purpose and works well if you’re happy with its features. CForms II is extremely attractive, has fancy ajax, and a million features, but there are issue with it that we don’t need to get into. Guess which one would get my donation?

    *No offense to Oliver, as CForms II is still a great plugin.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Twitter Updates for 2009-06-17 =-.

  29. @Michael Torbert – Point taken, I suppose these things take on a life of their own :) and it’s up to the developer to see which has attracted an audience and is deserving of more time, and which to abandon :)

    Both of the plugins you mention though, I would consider approach my definition of the former category. The “throw away code” type plugin I envisaged would be a much less complex beast than either of the them.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Snippet of the day: Ensuring the correct JSON headers are output =-.

  30. @Kevin Eklund

    I should probably clarify: I am absolutely *not* in favor of a mandatory “donation” (if it is the former, it is, by definition, not the latter) model for WordPress plugins.

    I’m all for some plugin developers putting together their own for-pay plugin repository, if they so desire; however, I think that approach would be detrimental to WordPress in the long run.

    Now, if every plugin developer wanted to create a for-pay support system, I’d be all for that, too. That approach would allow developers to set support rates commensurate with their time/effort spent on plugin support.

    At the same time, perhaps I’m too idealistic, but I think that the right donation system could prove to be a significant means of compensation for developers – again, if it is optional, visible, and convenient.

    I would posit that part of the problem right now with the donation model is that the plugin author donation link is on the Plugin’s repository page – somewhere that is rather seldom visited by the vast majority of plugin users. (Once plugins are installed, the repository listing becomes out of sight/out of mind.)

    I would imagine that it should be rather easy to pull that same donation link into the plugin’s listing in the Plugin Admin UI – or if not, how difficult would it be for Automattic to expose it through some sort of API?

    And once the donation links are listed for all plugins in the Plugin Admin UI, I would imagine that one of the e-commerce plugin developers would have both a good code base – and also, great incentive – to develop a plugin that would facilitate the plugin donation process, both one-time donations and (the ultimate goal) recurring donations.

    Then, start a community-driven effort to increase use of such functionality. Start small: ask community members to volunteer to set up recurring payments of $1/plugin per year, and set a goal of 10% of all WordPress installs.

    What would critical mass be, for a self-sustaining donation system? I’m guessing that it would be even less than 10% of the userbase.

    A quick look at the top 75 most popular plugins (according to the repository) shows almost 50 plugins with 100,000 (or more) downloads – up to and including AIO SEO, which has over 2 million downloads. Getting a $1 donation from 10% of the userbase would bring in between $10,000 and $200,000 (each) for just those plugins alone.

    Is it possible? I think so.

  31. I think some plugin developers are doing something wrong. From looking at the download stats for some of the most popular plugins around, I’m pretty sure that if my own plugin was that popular I could just sit on the beach and drink martinis all day.

    Comparing my own stats to his I’d have thought Michael could earn at least a US$1000 per week from donations alone.

  32. @Miroslav Glavic and @all –

    just because a plugin is a paid one, does not mean it is a good plugin.

    This is a good point that should not be ignored, and touches on what has already been mentioned. People will start making plugins that are near to useless just to get the income if a paid ‘app-store’ is created.

    I understand all the ethics etc of paid vs no-paid for plugins and their support or customisation. But how about we look at this from a new angle. We are all here saying that plugin authors should be supported for the work they do. If this is the sentiment throughout the community, now that the issue is being discussed everywhere, and even if only 50% of the community agree, why not create a site where a donation is expected for a download, rather than required?

    So the site may work the same way as the official repository, but those of us who are conscious of the fact that we should do more for plugin authors can visit it, and the donation process could all be in place, and the user wouldn’t have to search out how to send their favourite plugin some money. Simply by using this new site, support is being shown, and a community movement could be underway. A little bit like having a clear conscience on matters of the environment when you add carbon-offsetting to your flight…
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Get Posts With Same Custom Field VALUE As Current Post =-.

  33. @Ryan – what does having a popular plugin in the repo have to do with financial freedom? ;)

    You may think that it leads to an easy life, but that’s exactly the point everyone is discussing. Especially Micheal up there, who does have a plugin in the top ten. Simple having one really popular plugin doesn’t lead to hardly any compensation.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Additional post – more testing =-.

  34. I mostly get nothing for my plugins.

    Just had a look at it: during the 6 first months of 2009, I got 20 donations, making $117.01 (yeah, someone was kind enough to donate $0.01, bet you didn’t even know Paypal was allowing this did you?)

    During that same period, my most popular plugin was downloaded 75,670 times. So if all donations had been made for this plugin only (which is not the case) that would make a 0.025% donation/download ratio. Considering all my plugins the actual ratio is probably 0.018 to 0.020%

    This said, I don’t do plugins for the money (duh, obviously) and coding plugins has given me some “authority” which converted in a few paid gigs (and a few gig requests I turned down due to lack of time or interest, to be honest)

    Donations surely warm the heart but they’re not even a goal or a way to compensate my coding & support time. The only case I can get rude is when people get in touch with messages like “can you please fix this for me? It’s urgent as I have a client waiting for it”: having the feeling that people make money with my work and don’t really reward me in the end pisses me a bit.

    Oh, and the other case I can get rude is when I make a donation to a plugin author and don’t get a “hey, thanks for the tip” email in return. I do respond to every donation made, this is just basic politeness.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Hot News of the Day: WordPress and WordPress Mu to Merge =-.

  35. Similar to Ozh, I don’t do plugin for money. I just want to share a “hack” that I made that maybe useful to someone else so that he will not reinvent the wheel but built or customize upon my plugin to suite his needs.

    School has been very busy for me and now I am on internship and I have hardly have time to update it by adding new features. I am just updating it to make it somewhat more efficient and make it compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

    Support has taken a troll on me as well. Some users do not bother to search and expect to be spoon fed with all the things that they need. Even worst, some users come find what they want and started scolding everyone as seen in,2093.msg25815.html#msg25815

    Donations is considered to be extra allowance to me, to use it to buy things that I like.

    I feel that people are willing to pay for premium themes more than they willing to pay for plugins.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… LG Press Conference at Communica Asia 2009 =-.

  36. @Lester Chan -Wow. I’m sorry that you’re getting comments like that. I certainly can’t see where he’s coming from (not to mention his inappropriate tone and language). I’ve used a number of your plugins, and whenever I’ve gone to look at your supporting documents have found them to be among the most complete for any plugin out there.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Twitter Updates for 2009-06-18 =-.

  37. I am with Ozh and Lester on this.

    Over the past year I would say I have received $75 in donations. Probably $25 of which I actually refunded to the persons who donated it and thanked them very much for the gesture.

    I have only, and ever intend on using my donations for WordPress related expenses such as purchasing tickets for WordCamps. So if you want to see me at a WordCamp I suggest donating.
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… WordPress Maintenance Mode Without a Plugin Part 2 =-.

  38. Ironically, I just posted on Twitter asking what is an acceptable donation level for plug-in authors.

    I propose a Month of Donations for Plugin Authors. Where we as users pledge to donate at least $1 or more to our favorite plugins.

    July or August? I’m in. Most WP users have in the range of +/- 20 plugins, and that amounts to $20 per person, give or take.

    What say you?
    .-= Most Recently Published Blog Post… Soccer Team Eats 1500 Hot Wings in 75 Minutes =-.

  39. I must be doing something right then as I make considerably more from donations than all of you combined (who posted their donations above), and my plugin isn’t even particularly popular. I couldn’t live on the income, but it will comfortably pay for all of my costs including air fares to WordCamp NZ this year.

  40. Kevin, you really should have done some better research for that article. Your descriptions of services and plugins provided by Automattic aren’t very accurate. Your descriptions of statements and positions of Matt are inaccurate as well.
    I couldn’t make it past the first few sections.

  41. @Michael Torbert

    That’s the exact premise of the article; to address misconceptions. If something is not accurate in the article please point it out and help clarify it for others so they can learn from your insight.

  42. Lester, I’m surprised that you allow that stuff. You shouldn’t have to deal with that sort of thing. I would think you should just delete and ban posts and the people who make them. You’re welcome, thanks for the great plugins and all the time you spend on them.

    Kevin. I read the rest of your post, and the comments. Your post reflects that you are either new to the WordPress community or that you have misunderstandings regarding the repository and the license for which WordPress is filed under both of which have been addressed countless times on various blogs and forums throughout the community. Matt has stated more than once in many different places what the guidelines are regarding the plugin and theme repositories and if you were to ask a few notable members of the WordPress community, I believe they would have pointed you in the right direction which could have changed the entire tune of your post.
    .-= ´s last blog ..WordPress Plugin and Theme GPL Misconceptions, Misinformation, and Perspective =-.

  43. @Michael Torbert

    Michael. The post contains real concerns and questions that most in the WP community have and currently still do express. Matt Mullenweg can put these concerns/questions to rest once and for all by simply posting direct answers. He instead chooses to refer to the GPL which fails to address specific concerns/questions. Most people still don’t understand that when the GPL refers to “free” it means free to distribute, not free as in price. That speaks volumes and trumps whatever “few notable members of the WordPress community” believe. Bringing the issue to the forefront is a good thing and that’s exactly why you and I both chose to write about it.


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