Welcome to ManageWP.org

Register to share, discuss and vote for the best WordPress stories every day, find new ideas and inspiration for your business and network with other members of the WordPress community. Join the #1 WordPress news community!

×

Paid-only Plugins in the Official WP.org Repo!?

Aug. 8, 2014

I really don't know how long has this been going on but my jaw dropped yesterday when I found out that there are paid-only plugins in the official wordpress.org repository. The same one that every WP user can install plugins from via their admin panel with only a couple of clicks. The same one that should add functionality to your WP install, in my opinion, free of charge!
The one that I'm talking about is VaultPress wordpress.org/plugins/vaultpress/ and I went ahead and installed it on of our blogs to confirm: you cannot do _anything_ with it without a subscription. Nada, zil.
Do you guys feel this is a way WP.org should be headed? I don't, but maybe I'm wrong...

Comment
27 votes   Flag
JS Morisset

Looks like you're paying for the service, not the plugin. It's a free client, but you need to subscribe to the service. I don't see a problem with that. I assume the plugin is GPL and free. Lots of other plugins require an API key to do anything - some API keys are free, some are not.

Reply
Peter Booker

The plugin guidelines allow this sort of thing, which I think is disgusting. Anything on wp.org should provide some usage for free. There are a lot of plugins now which do _nothing_ without the user paying for a service.

Reply
Alex Bezborodov

If all plug-ins provide only free, it will not be any competition, one enthusiast can not support a big plug. This requires money, that would be developed and improved. Paid plugins set high standards for all such

Reply
Kyle Maurer

I actually don't believe that plugins which depend on paid services should be prohibited from the repo. Imagine I made a handy dandy plugin which integrated my Salesforce account with my WordPress site. That would be pretty useful to me and many other people but would be pretty useless without an SF account which isn't free.

Is the problem that the service provider is the author of the plugin?

Reply
Mark Gavalda

That's a good point Kyle! My main problem is that this way the authors are using the repo as a free marketing channel, nothing more. Imagine if the repo was full of these plugins, my fear is that it would detriment the overall "WordPress experience" and would turn away many newbies :-/

Reply
Alex Bezborodov

This gives us a great choice, if the repo will only free plug-ins, you'll never know all the features and plug-ins are mediocre except for that little will be interesting

Reply
Robert Babak Rowshan

Jean, if we go by that technical definition of "paying for service, not the plugin" every single plugin out there can be tweaked to do this. Imagine for example. Yoast's SEO plugin being free but the service being a subscription. What service you ask? Well of course the service of actually "working" and making any sort of change in the wordpress installation's SEO.

I know this is a silly example. But technically it falls under your definition. You provide the plugin for "free" and then the "service" of it actually doing what it is supposed to do is on a subscription basis.

Frankly, I have a policy of paying for plugins but never ever under any circumstances paying for a subscription service. Why? Because I think it is idiotic to take the risk that I'll be locked in to a service which may at any moment cease or break down (and it is out of my control - that is, I can not do anything about it)

Reply
Wesley Deer

I for one fully support this! For anyone that uses composer as a dependency manager this would be incredibly helpful, seeing as any paid-only plugin that isn't in the main WP repo can only be maintained manually in a private repo by the individual developer. Having premium plugins in the main repo would simplify the process of automating deployments tremendously.. you could deploy new sites with premium plugins installed and up to date and then just enter in your serial number post install. +1

Reply
Pascal Birchler

And what do you say about Akismet? It's bundled with every WordPress download and usually needs an active license key. The service is free for personal blogs, though.

I think we can't change that, but maybe plugins like these should be better declared as such by the authors.

Reply
Jonathan Griffin

The vaultpress plugin is actually now included in Jetpack by default.

Reply
Olaf Lederer

Sure, add paid plugins to, but Wordpress need to add a filter option for them: include paid plugins into search
It's pretty nasty to install a plugin, just to notice that I can't use it. What if the same plugin has already installed a few database tables? There are so many plugins which didn't clean up their mess.

Reply
Creative Beacon

I am okay with it as long as what you are paying for provides a good quality service. Many develop these plugins for free, with no return on their investment. They are business owners just like us, and they need to make money. If they spent weeks developing a killer plugin that saves me hours of time, I'll gladly pay them $10 per month for their service.

Here's why: I average $50-$75 per hour. 2 hours of work time = $100-$150. If the plugin saves me an hr per day, that's 5 hrs per week, which at the least is $500 per week or 2k per month that I have the potential to make with the extra time, so $10 per month is worth it. It really just depends on what you need, what they provide, and whether you can justify the cost. Unfortunately, everyone needs to make a living, and can't provide everything for free.

Reply
Mark Gavalda

Olaf that's a good idea! Make it filterable and display a very visible notice that it's a paid-only plugin!

Reply
Zach Russell

This is obviously a point of contention. On the Dradcast (episode 007)Matt Mullenweg expressed his position to paid plugins and why there won't be a paywall behind any wp.org plugin, but you can pay to integrate with the service. Akismet does the same thing on their paid licenses. While everyone may not agree with this, this is how it is and likely will be.

Reply
Mark Root-Wiley

See also this related post and comment thread. torquemag.io/vaultpress-wtf/ I tend to agree with Otto: "If anybody but Automattic made the plugin, this post and conversation would not exist."

Reply
Mark Gavalda

"and there are many, many "paid service" plugins already in there. Some have been there for years." I honestly haven't crossed paths with any of those before. In 8 years... so that's why I was a bit shocked to see this. And I still don't think this should be allowed, doesn't matter which company's plugin it is! It's bad for the WP community as a whole.

Reply