[wp-hackers] Making money from GPL plugin development (Was: Advertising on plugin pages)

Joost de Valk joost at yoast.com
Mon Mar 2 16:22:31 GMT 2009

Good to see this discussion going on, some thoughts inline:

On Mar 2, 2009, at 5:10 PM, Mike Schinkel wrote:

> "Rich Pedley" <elflop at googlemail.com> wrote:
>> I've just bought a netbook with my donations - and not
>> the smallest or cheapest either.
> Saying it could only buy beer was a euphemism. The reality is your  
> donation income isn't sufficient to support a plugin developer  
> without alternate full-time income. US$1000 is peanuts, I make that  
> in less than 2 days doing consulting. IOW, plugin development  
> (currently) is at best a hobby, not a career unless it is done as a  
> way to market consulting services which some people would prefer not  
> to do (myself included, really.)

Same here. I average about $150-200 a month I think. That's not a lot  
compared to the time I invest in it.

>> already available for plugins
> Where is said functionality?  I've never seen any requests for  
> donations that operate in the manner I was suggesting.
>> yuck - suggested amounts will deter more people if
>> they are pitched too high, and if pitched to low
>> would restrict your income. Much better to allow
>> people to specify what they want to give.
> I think setting a suggested amount would increase likelihood of  
> donation but honestly I don't know statistically would which works  
> best but I'll bet your don't either. My suggestion was just a  
> starting point for discussion.

You're right in most cases. People don't know what to give and then  
just don't give. (though i should probably start trying this)

>> I also don't like the idea of third party adverts in
>> the admin side - to me that has moved away from GPL,
>> and towards 'ad supported'. I don't install ad
>> supported software locally, why should I use it in
>> the back end of WordPress?
> FWIW, I lean towards no ads because it would probably lead to too  
> much focus on ads and not enough on functionality but not because I  
> have an ideology against ad-support. If you don't use something of  
> value simply because it has ads it seems you are harming yourself  
> more than anyone else.

Exactly, and it was just a thought to start the discussion, which  
seemed to work ;)

>> set up your own forum, and use that - much much easier.
>> Point people at that instead. they also get to see the
>> support you do give, when given freely anyway.
> This requires the user to proactively search for the forums and  
> signup, which most won't ever do.

Agreed, I've switched to the WP support forums for that same reason,  
but am now reconsidering, because my own forums would allow me to make  
some money there... Don't know whether there is really an improvement  

In the end I develop plugins because I like doing it, but other  
communities seem to be a lot better in getting people to benefit from  
their plugin / extension work. I think the WordPress community would  
benefit if there were a system that would allow people to make a bit  
more money with all of this.


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