Danny van Kooten, creator of the Mailchimp for WordPress plugin, has indicated that he is interested in selling his plugin for somewhere in the ballpark of €1.6M. It is the most popular Mailchimp solution for WordPress, although it is “unofficial” in that it is not developed by or affiliated with Mailchimp in any way. It has more than 2 million active installs and has been downloaded more than 42 million times.
In a comment on a popular Hacker News post that asks, “What is the best income stream you have created till date?” van Kooten dropped the hint that he is willing to sell the nearly ten-year-old plugin:
It’s definitely not my passion but in 2013 I built a WordPress plugin around the API of a popular newsletter service and it’s been paying my bills ever since.
Still going strong at €36K per month excluding VAT.
There was (and still is) a huge market where non-technical people are looking for a GUI around something a programmer would find very simple (and usually too boring to work on). More so if the tech surrounding it is not particularly sexy, as is the case for WordPress and PHP.
Ps. In case anyone is reading this, I am open to selling. I spent about 4 hours a week on it and the rest is handled by 2 freelance people costing about €1K / month each. Contact me for details if interested and willing to pay in the ballpark of €1.6M.
van Kooten developed Mailchimp for WordPress when he was hospitalized in Vietnam due to acute appendicitis with extra time on his hands during his recovery. He identifies himself as an “accidental entrepreneur” in his Hacker News bio. In 2021, he was featured in Wired for his efforts in reducing his carbon output as a plugin developer. He refactored the plugin to send 20kb less data, and, due to its large user base, he estimates these changes reduced the world’s monthly CO2 output by 59,000 kilograms, which Wired estimated is “roughly the equivalent to flying from New York to Amsterdam and back 85 times.”
Mailchimp for WordPress has commercial upgrades ranging from $59 – $149 per year, and 1% of the plugin’s revenue goes towards environmental projects.
Although Mailchimp recommends WordPress.com’s “Mailchimp block” as the official WordPress integration (also available in Jetpack 7.1+), van Kooten’s plugin is far more flexible. Mailchimp for WordPress integrates with other popular plugins like WooCommerce, Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms 3, BuddyPress, MemberPress, and Events Manager, allowing visitors to subscribe via the checkout or comments form.
Several commenters on van Kooten’s Hacker News response indicated interest in his offer for sale. His comment offers a a rare, transparent look into a popular plugin’s revenue and potential sale price, as most companies that acquire WordPress plugins are almost never willing to reveal how much they paid for them. As Substack moves to add compatibility for Ghost themes and other third-parties, and newsletters become even more critical with people leaving Twitter, it will be interesting to see more movement in the newsletter support space. van Kooten may be setting out at just the right time to find a buyer for Mailchimp for WordPress.
Great job Danny van Kooten. This is definitely a piece of good news for plugin developers.