Six months ago, Zack Katz and Luis Godinho launched GravityView, an app based on the popular Gravity Forms plugin. It uses the Gravity Forms API to display unique views of form data and entries on the frontend of WordPress.
The main GravityView plugin is now public on GitHub for anyone to access for free. The plugin’s repository was previously private and the code accessible only to GravityView’s paid customers, but co-founder Zack Katz recently decided to go another direction with the project.
Katz told the Tavern that he was inspired by a discussion between Matt Medeiros and Matt Mullenweg on ubiquity vs. scarcity in WordPress product businesses. Medeiros asked Mullenweg if he could offer any advice to WordPress startups that are looking to create a new product in this crowded space. Mullenweg replied:
The one pattern I see most right now that I think is not sustainable is, and it’s because it’s the easiest thing to do, is businesses that are built on a scarcity – the thing not being widely available. If you think about some of the coolest successes so far in WordPress, the Gravity Forms, some of the theme businesses, they are inherently predicated on the fact that you have to pay to access them.
I’ve always been a fan of businesses that grow with ubiquity, that become more powerful the more ubiquitous they are, more valuable. WordPress itself is one of these. Akismet is one of these. Jetpack is certainly one of those.
So if you think about turning that on its head, I think that’s what will create the sort of multi-generational businesses in the WordPress ecosystem. Even with themes, we’ve seen that themes are very cyclical. People who used to make the majority of their money from themes, like WooThemes, are now finding it’s an ever-decreasing percentage. You hear this across almost all the theme shops.
This advice runs counter to the way many WordPress product businesses have structured their revenue models. Rare exceptions like Easy Digital Downloads, WooCommerce, and other plugins where the base software is free, are shining examples where pushing for ubiquity instead of scarcity has truly paid off.
The founders behind GravityView are looking to find the same success within the Gravity Forms micro-ecosystem. With the base GravityView plugin now available for free on GitHub, the company’s pricing is now only applicable to support and extensions.