Your Members Plugin Closes Its Doors, Releases Assets Under GPL

Your Members LogoThe membership plugin Your Members has announced that they are ceasing operations. Your Members, which has been around since 2008, was one of the early successful commercial plugins in the membership space. The tale of the plugin’s demise is an interesting one because it has more to do with development than anything else.

We started work on YM13 early this year and it became clear the new version wasn’t going to work with our current codebase. Indeed it reached the stage where even little changes are causing massive issues. So in August it was decided that we needed to make YM13 the last release on the current codebase and start on YMv2. I was rereading the blog posts that are sitting in drafts explaining where we were going and why, we never published them.

It became clear it was just not financially feasible to build YMv2 we estimated it was 6 to 9 months work to do what we wanted to do properly and to do it we need to do it properly. We also believe we can’t continue to support and update the existing codebase.

While the developers of Your Members received offers to be purchased, they declined them as they didn’t feel the buyer would provide the community with genuine support and were after their email list instead. Thus, it was decided that Your Members be withdrawn from the market and would no longer be for sale.

One of the unique aspects of Your Members is that it contained a sunset clause. Now that the plugin has been withdrawn from the market, that clause has been invoked meaning everything in the Your Members download, including assets are available under the GPL license. Prior to closing, Your Members operated under a split license with the PHP licensed under the GPL and all other files under a different license. The plugin as well as the documentation will now live on Github.

Is This The Way To Close a Business?

It’s disappointing to see any business fold but I have to hand it to the folks behind Your Members. They are making everything open source and laying the ground work for anyone else who wants to try to pick up where they left off. How do you feel about the way they closed up shop?


15 responses to “Your Members Plugin Closes Its Doors, Releases Assets Under GPL”

  1. Amy Hendrix says:

    Not a YM customer, but major HUGE props to them for taking care of their community and thinking about how to shut things down right. I hope someone is able to keep the work going.


  2. Eric J says:

    Wow, what a great sunset clause now someone can create a fork and continue the work if there is a need.


  3. Bob S says:

    So they turned down a vulture purchase in the interests of doing the best thing for their customers. That’s class big time!


  4. Jeffro says:

    @Eric J – Yeah. They were already split licensed GPL but with the sunset clause, now everything is GPL which is a great thing.

    @Bob S – Not too often we read stories where the company goes into sell mode but still has the community in mind.


  5. M. says:

    Kudos to the YM team, excellent honourable way to close things up and fantastic forethought putting in the clause…


  6. Glenn Pegden says:

    Disclaimer: Former Sales Director of Coding Futures (YM’s parent company) here.

    This just goes to show what a great guy Tim is and despite being constantly knocked back by influential sections of the WP community, he still did the right thing for the community.

    Tim always wanted to give something back to the WP community, it was after all supplementing his income, but our status as commercial developers meant he was often faced with everything from mild disdain to outright hostility for us having the audacity to charge for plugins and not GPLing sections of the code. This left us unable to sponsor WordPress events* and were denied access to other normal WP facilities (such as the repo) for similar reasons. One the whole we were made to feel pretty much unwanted but thankfully many of our customers knew nothing of the community (or of WP in general), so we survived. We could have gone down the route of others and simply turned the plugin into a hosted service, but that would have been far worse for the customer and Tim tried to avoid that at all costs.

    It also made it harder for us to shout about some of the awesome things we were doing. Back when the first Facebook plugins were coming out, we first got the entire YM payment system running in Facebook, then entire WordPress sites. We launched a whole YM powered Facebook video-on-demand system (including payments obviously) that people could buy for less than $100. Some genuinely fun and interesting stuff, but none of the WP news sites wanted to carry our press releases as it was obviously commercial (WP Tavern I believe did actually break ranks and covered the FB stuff I believe – Thanks guys :) ).

    YM grew as featureful as it did (and even today, many of it’s more awesome features haven’t been replicated by it’s competitors) because even as the bespoke development studio Tim ran grew, he was still happy to constantly divert development resources to YM, despite us finding a chap in Turkey (who later went on found his own membership plugin) selling YM (including the none-GPLed bits) for less that us, with the license key checking circumvented, then sending his customers to us for support. Tim being the nice guys he is actually honoured those licenses and rather than take the Turk to court, agreed to a retrospective licensing deal.

    It wasn’t all bad, there were some great people in the community and I cherish my time with CF and the people it introduced me to, but ultimately I came to the conclusion that it’s simply not an arena where commercial developers can flourish, certainly not writing native plugins. People used to be amazed when they saw we had offices, full time staff and telephone support, but in truth, that could never have been supported by just the WordPress sales and it’s a shame for WP as a whole that nobody really can, When Tim did actually decide to call it a day with YM, it came as no surprise that rather than selling it to somebody who had no interest in further development, the money was never the main driver for him when it came to YM.

    I urge you all, if you’re looking for a consultant on payment gateways, PCI Compliance (don’t get me started on how many WP Plugin devs get that so so wrong), data mining, SEO or just want a great speaker at your conference, then get in contact with Tim via and give a little something back to nice guy Tim.

    (* It seems after I left they did sponsor a WordCamp, but only under the parent company name, no mention at all of Your Members)


  7. Takes a lion’s heart to put things down, prepare for closure, refuse buyout offers, yet care for the customer so meticulously… most aspiring entrepreneurs should take note of this!


  8. Tim Nash says:

    The choice to release the code as part of sunset clause for us was a no brainer and we always knew if we were to stop being commercially viable that the code needed to be available.

    That said we would strongly discourage people forking the project, not because we don’t believe in forking but simply if we felt it was viable to carry on building on it we would have done!

    Instead what we would love is for other membership plugins to take a look at our data structure and payment handler to help them build migration tools to help our customer base migrate.

    I’m really proud of what YM achieved and it’s very mixed emotions closing and a really hard choice but we think it was the right choice overall.


  9. Sean Barton says:

    Your members has indeed come a long way. I was the developer who took it from an abandoned Greek guys awful code to something saleable. I stopped working on it a couple of years ago and Tim Nash, the guy who made all of this happen, had a new team in place and continued the project thereafter. Tim saw something, a problem and some guys using the old plugin and decided to do something about it. We had an excellent community driven plugin and at the peak we were doing several bleeding edge releases a week. It’s one if the things that made the plugin so successful but was also one of the pitfalls in that as we bolted on more functionality based on forum requests and custom paid jobs the code base for worse. I believe an attempt to refactor was made around version 10 but even so as Tim suggests in his quote above it would take months to rewrite or refactor. I might have a look myself at some point and an certainly willing to be part of a group if anyone picks it up properly. I think anyone who currently uses S2 member for a simple free plugin should seriously consider using Your Members as it’s easier to use in my eyes and with the new license will be easier than ever to extend. I suspect Tim and the team are open to custom work as ever and support via the GitHub community etc. hats off to the team.. A commendable way to close their doors.

    Sean Barton


  10. Dave says:

    WOW. To think that I worked with Tim while he created Your Members and I created WP-Member. We even shared code, well I did, Tim wanted me to buy his plugin to see the code.

    As projects age, we all become somewhat tired of the project and sometimes it is better to let it go. I didn’t want to let any of my projects go, but they needed fresh blood and it was the best thing for the project and customers at the time.

    Its sad to see such a successful project killed.


  11. I have put YM to work on several sites of non-profit associations, and have come to immensely appreciate the profound thinking that has been invested in that plugin. It’s not “just” a membership management plugin, it’s a membership community management plugin, and I have always felt that it is not just hugely underrated but (sadly) not widely enough appreciated for its thorough approach in serving organizations that have paying participants with varying roles for varying terms. Other value adding things were built in like adaptability to PCI compliance, integration with third-party mailers as well as self-hosted mailing support, individually programmed mailing schedule (a.k.a. “drip mailing”) support, timed progressive access to content (i.e. more traditional content dripping), seamless integration of Simple:Press forum plugin, support for protected access of streamed media content, support for protection from link and password sharing, and I could go on and on. Glenn, Sean, Barry and of course especially Tim: I’m really sorry to see it go like this. Here’s to hoping against the grain that someone, somewhere is seized by a spark of imagination and puts the necessary fuel into a fantastic concept. Not to dis other great membership plugins (and I agree, s2Pro is the most immediately suitable replacement) but I think the WP community is going to miss out on a great plugin that should have fared a lot better than it did. In fact, the GPL sunset clause is a nice symbolic proof of Your Member’s well-thought out design.

    Much better luck ahead, Mr Nash. You deserve it.


  12. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for this post which has allowed many to comment about the YM situation.

    I’ve exchanged emails and forum posts many times with Glenn Pegden, who has been the nicest and kindest competitor (he used to work for YM then) I’ve ever met! Glenn and I (disclosure: I’m the co-founder & co-developer of DigitalAccessPass) have been more than cordial, and exchanged kind words and words of praise many times on competing forums. We’ve always felt that YM and DAP have been two of the most well developed membership plugins, and we competed with grace and respect. I’ve also crossed path with Tim Nash online, but we’ve never officially met (hi, Tim!).

    Tim & co, what you guys have done in making your code open-source is really a very honorable and commendable thing. You could’ve easily gone the route of trying to sell it for a few bucks (another plugin Memberwing recently shut down and sold for like $4K on flippa) to someone who may or may not have cared for your software or customers the way you did.

    So you kept your customers at the forefront, and kudos to you guys for that.

    If there’s anything at all that my team and I at DigitalAccessPass can do for you or your customers, please let us know and we’ll be happy – and feel honored – to be a part of it.

    Cheers and good luck with your future endeavors. Hope to cross paths again in the future.

    – Ravi Jayagopal


  13. Jean Pierre says:

    Putting myself at risk to come across as a “hater”, I believe some remarks, and a fair warning, are in place. While that sunset is certainly nice, it was preceded by a considerable period of darkness, in which the radio went silent and the support forums offline, very inconvenient if clients (i.e. paying customers) run into trouble (the forums being the main source of troubleshooting as decent docs were persistently lacking). Before, support was okay, even though problems were often not really explained or resolved, and evasive or cryptic “yes, but…” answers were of frequent occurrence.

    Basically, the plugin does it’s job, but the code base is actually really messy, indeed with all sorts of functionality bolted on (a co-worker of mine once described YM as “a big ball of spaghetti”). Migrating to another system now being more urgent than ever, this proves to be a real pain, and furthermore reveals some of the intrinsic flaws which have existed from the onset — a fact that probably contributed to the decision that refactoring the code base is not worth the effort (anymore). I could give examples, suffice to say I even found unhashed passwords in the transaction log, which is very uncool.

    In short, I don’t think YM is currently a viable option for WP membership management, considering the more elegant and streamlined solutions available on the marketplace today. Given the current state of affairs, and contrary to some advocates here above, I would definitely NOT recommend to use it on your site.


  14. etrangefruit says:

    I was a YourMemeber Developer plugin in owner for 4 years. I had nothing but major issues, I was a member of their support forum and that was no help sometimes. If Tim was helping you it was rude (Especially if the plugin itself was at fault) but on the bright side Barry was a dream when it came tech help. We purchasers on this plugin never where told about closure Just INFORMED about a move. When I bought my version this nightmare membership plugin was about $360. I sincerely question this articles purpose because if you Google reviews and forums about YourMembers most of the long term customers had MY same experience with support and the plugin itself from the beginning.


  15. dd says:

    Got to agree with etrangefruit, very poor codebase and rude support, no wonder it didn’t last the test of time. Now a lot of PAID users are left without support and upgrades, shameful!



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