It seems that since automattic purchased woothemes, we have seen moves to capitalise on their purchase.
Firstly we saw prices rises for many of the add-ons that and hey now own for Woocommerce. The open source core Woocommerce software remains, and always will be free.
We have also seen them challenge people who it thinks are infringing the copyright. This is why almost everything in WordPress is WPxxxxxx. However, now it seems that Woo is off limits. Although trademarks are something that needs to be protected. It is sometimes harder to argue this in the world of open source.
Automattic is Protecting its Woo, WooThemes, and WooCommerce Trademarks
The open source core Woocommerce software remains, and always will be free.
Recently we have seen evidence that automattic have removed their 50% discount for the woo commerce plugin renewals. The main thing that annoys me is not the price raises, Automattic, the new owners of Woothemes, can choose to charge what they want, but that the renewal charges do not seem to have been pre-announced. That means the customers will have a shock when it comes to time for automatic renewals. (no pun intended)
It seems to me a leader in open source is not being so open?
It will be interesting to see the outcome of this. If there is not a climb down on this issue, then this is a lot of encouragement for 3rd party developers to start bringing out their own plugins. We are already working with developers on some Woocommerce projects. This may be a green light for us to work on some more.
Please, don’t just stop updating
The one thing you must not do is to stop updating your plugins. This is where people find that long since fixed vulnerabilities will persist on their old plugin versions and they are going to be found by hackers and suffer all the associated problems. Almost all hacks on WordPress are due to out of date plugins or out of date WordPress installs.
Why it is easier to develop your own plugins
Things become a little ‘on the edge’ here. This is because all the plugins are released an open source. You are paying the licence fee for updates and support. Under the rules set by WordPress, it’s self, the plugin code should be open source. This means that developers can more quickly bring out software because they have total access to all the code used by others and can benefit from that knowledge to speed up production.
If you are intending to do this, you still have to compete against the great influence of Automattic, so you will need a good marketing plan. With their higher prices, there is more room to profit in their shadow. Just keep Woo away from any plugin name, and other trademarks.
However, keep clear of the people who acquire copies of the Plugins written by others, then try and sell them on, offer no support and updates, maybe some further copies from the original developer.
If you have ANY issues, you are going to be on your own. And then, you will still have to pay again for the plugin to find any help.
We will look to extend our schedule of reviews to Woocommerce plugins from Automattic, and from others.
The right answer?
I would have thought the more support is needed at first install and use. Therefore it makes sense to me for a product to have a price to reflect that. On-going support should be pretty easy if the product was developed well in the first place, so a discount for on-going renewal makes sense.