Talking about money (and why we’re free)
Being a developer and WordPress user for years I never paid much attention to the market of WP plugins and themes; I always found free themes that met my needs and in last resort I could build one myself; same goes with plugins. When I started working on WPMovieLibrary the money was never a concern: it was always meant to be free or, more to it, it was never meant to be not free.
There’s a simple reason for this: I started building WPMovieLibrary because I needed it, and couldn’t find any alternative that met my needs, free or not; free plugins were way too limited, and premium plugins were, if more fully featured, not neat enough for me to use. I figured I may as well do the work on my own, and since I’m unlikely to be the only one to have these expectations, I may as well share it on WordPress.org.
But soon enough came the first questions about money. I honestly did not expected that. Questions about money on a premium plugin, sure, but on free stuff? Was I to make a premium version of this plugin, did I accepted donations, was I for hire? This kind of questions keep popping in my inbox, so maybe it’s not a bad idea to make some clarifications.
WPMovieLibrary is (and will) remain free.
I’m not going to charge you for using it. Ever. Period. That being said, donations are truly welcomed and comfort me in the idea I’m not entirely wasting my time! But the plugin will remain free.
That’s something I do have in mind. I don’t have time for it right now as the ongoing development takes a lot of efforts and time, but I’ll probably put something together to provide a professional support for the plugin, pretty much like Photocrati does for NextGEN Gallery; this could cover the support I’m currently providing for premium themes, something I logically shouldn’t do.
That’s also something I have in mind. The main plugin is free, but I can’t possibly put everything asked in it; some requested features are really heavy ones that requires an additional plugin to avoid bloating the main plugin with features few people will use, and I have nothing against the idea to make these plugins premium ones. There’s a double utility here: generate some tiny revenue from a work I’m doing freely for years now, of course, but also make sure that these less-used plugins won’t fall into abandon. If someone pay for it, you have to keep it working.
I have a couple of plugin ideas that would perfectly fit that model, the remaining question is the way of doing it; I’m not too fond of marketplaces like Envato, I’d rather set my own place to sell these plugins, but this implies a lot of preparation and thinking for what I, again, don’t have time right now.
Advertisement and merchandizing
Yeah, seriously. I thought it was a joke, but I really got a couple of dead serious propositions for selling stuff related to the plugin and to make advertisement for other products. Needless to say, not going to happen. First because I dislike the process, and second because I don’t even see how this could be done without being either ugly or intrusive and, in both cases, resulting in a loss of audience. No, the plugin will never include ads for third-party products, business or whatever. No way.
That’s actually the most likely thing I’ll do: making it clear that being a freelancer, I’m also for hire. I don’t know yet which form it’ll take, probably a dedicated page here the official website, possibly a link here and there. I’ll let you know when that’s decided, no secret surprise on this.