Why WordPress Can’t Kill Commercial Plugin Businesses

Will WordPress be a Plugin Business Killer? The post is based on the idea that features from a commercial plugin added to WordPress could kill the business based on that plugin.

The short answer to Poulson’s question is no. Here’s why.

WordPress Needs To Be Generic

gravityforms logoWordPress serves a huge audience. Commercial plugins usually address a specific niche and hammer away at it with features and functionality. It wouldn’t make sense to take GravityForms or Backup Buddy and merge them into WordPress because those plugins are not generic enough to cover a wide audience.

Even if a GravityForms were to merge into core, it would likely be stripped of its niche focused functionality and probably be rewritten. It would be stripped to a point of basic functionality to cover the majority of WordPress users. GravityForms would likely continue to exist as a successful commercial plugin since it would contain features that didn’t make it to the core of WordPress.

Don’t Sell Features, Sell Products

Within the comments of the article, Carl Hancock of RocketGenius made a great point when he said:

To me a viable commercial product is just that. A product. Not a feature. If something is more of a feature, then unless it’s part of a collection of offerings it could be dicey to rely on it as a commercial plugin. Features aren’t products.

I agree. Commercial plugins that are just glorified features are more at risk of being added to core than full-fledged products. Regardless of either camp, merging existing plugins into core is not a routine task. Outside of the features as plugins first model, it rarely happens.

I don’t think commercial plugin author needs to worry. Is it a possibility worth considering? Definitely, but it’s one of those thoughts that should be in the back of your mind, not the forefront.

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