Why Plugin Developers Should Charge Money
Buddystream is a popular plugin that would probably be a heck of a lot more popular if there weren’t so many bugs. It needs active developer follow-up and much more frequent updates, but we can’t fault @blackphantom or anyone else when they are doing this for free. On the contrary: thank you guys for getting it this far!
And maybe that’s the point. For example, if Buddystream cost a mere $10 and included a lifetime of upgrades, the developers would have collected tens of thousands of dollars (versus a few hundred donation bucks). Sure, there wouldn’t have been as many downloads at first. But the plugin probably would have received a lot more attention and time and have become much more stable and powerful than it is today – which certainly would attract a lot more downloads.
And I’m not just picking on Buddystream here, this applies to dozens of popular BP plugins and hundreds more WordPress ones.
I’m all for free, open-source technology. But with so many slow-moving and abandoned free plugins, it has become impractical to depend on it when I am building a community that actually intends to function as a business. WordPress and Buddypress evolve weekly. With this example, so do twitter, facebook, linked-in, and others. Making Buddystream work once is a hobby, but maintaining it through the years probably requires some financial incentive.
@sbrajesh, @travel-junkie and others are doing a great job at this. They’ve taken some heat from time to time because they charge money, but I can depend on them for their products to work and always be up-to-date. And, they provide great service.
As a plugin consumer, I hope that more plugin developers follow their lead.
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