Jigoshop eCommerce plugin adds good faith developer licenses to their extensions

10 Comments

Jigoshop has added developer licenses to their themes and extensions today today, though not in the traditional way. Jigoshop the eCommerce plugin itself can be downloaded, for free, from the WordPress.org plugin directory, and currently over 6,000 people have done just that. But Jigoshop also offers themes and extensions for their core plugin on their website, and have today made it possible to purchase developer licenses for those downloads.

The kicker? Developer purchases aren’t required for multiple uses of the plugin, just encouraged for those developers who “would do the right thing.”

In the announcement, Jay Koster of Jigoshop recognized that since their works is licensed under the Gnu Public License (or GPL) there are no restrictions they can place on the use of their themes and extensions. He did say, though, that he believed the community would respond well to that move:

So why bother with developer licenses at all? Well, we believe Jigoshop is a great product. We also have a huge amount of faith in the WordPress community. So while our standard and developer products are essentially the same thing, we’d like to think that if you’re using one of our themes (or extensions) on more than one web site you would do the right thing, and purchase a developer license.

So that’s it. No hard sell, no complicated / restrictive licensing, no forcing current customers to upgrade to developer licenses, just an option to pay extra if you wish to.

We’re all about supporting WordPress community projects around here. After all, that’s how we exist.

Do you think many will be drawn toward upgrading their purchase with Jigoshop? Or will most, in the end, go with whatever route is the cheapest?

10 thoughts on “Jigoshop eCommerce plugin adds good faith developer licenses to their extensions

  1. Commendable, but nothing in the GPL restricts you from implementing functionality and features that require purchasing a license key.

    Features and functionality that work via an API for instance can still be locked down and restricted to only users that have a valid key.

    Support is another area. Your time isn’t GPL, or at least my time is not released as GPL. So there is nothing to say you have to support that product on every site they run it on. Which is another area where Standard and Developer License schemes come into play.

    Downloads is another area. Your server resources and access is not governed by the GPL. There is no reason why you can’t charge for access to these resources for managing update deployment and archived downloads.

    Not all of these may apply to Jigoshop of course, but all good examples of how you can restrict usage of GPL code in ways that aren’t shady, aren’t “against the spirit” and are completely within the rights of the developer of said code.

    As I mentioned, it’s commendable. But don’t count on most users to do the right thing. The donations mode has already proved to be a failure. The honor system won’t do much better. Sure you will get people that do the right things, but unfortunately the vast majority are going to pass. Sad but true.

    Meanwhile other solutions that may not be as good as Jigoshop such as Cart66 and Shopp are going to continue to provide their developers and employees a very good living while Jigoshop still struggles in their shadow.

    You got a good product but following it’s progress from the beginning you seem to be floundering about looking for a model and don’t quite seem to know what business model you should be using. Hopefully you guys figure it out before it’s too late and lack of revenue = no time for development which will mean a slow death… which would be sad because it’s a promising product that could have a bright future. For that reason I hope it works out for you.

    • We’re well aware that the majority are simply going to pass the opportunity to pay the developer license. However, we’d rather spend time developing our product(s) than worrying about licenses and restricting our code.

      It’s true we’re taking a different approach to the other eCommerce plugins in the market and only time will tell whether we’ve made the right decisions. But we’re strong believers in the freemium model and feel that by offering the best eCommerce plugin around, for free, (plus opening it up to other developers contributions) we’re creating amazing potential.

      We only launched a month ago and have seen promising conversions of free users into paying customers. There are big plans for Jigoshop and our most exciting developments will be arriving in a couple of months.

  2. Interesting policy. I don’t know why but it actually repels me a tiny bit. I’ve been thinking about a distantly similar model for an upcoming product myself, but this makes me reflect how important a policy like this is worded it. It’s pure psychology I think, it makes a buying decision feel like I’m doing it to conform to a company’s sense of what is just and not just (rational or not), rather than a clean purchase of something I like and want.

    • We’re placing no restrictions on our products and flatly telling you that we don’t mind which ‘license’ you purchase / how you use the product and yet you feel repelled?

      There’s no pleasing some people! 😛

      But seriously, we’re very interested in hearing what you guys think about how we’re doing things at Jigoshop.

      • I doubt most customers would pick up the same nuance as I did just reflecting on the wording in this blog post, ultimately it wouldn’t stop me from buying a cool product though, that’s what matters in the end. It’s great to see business models being discussed though. I have a freemium product in the making and face similar decisions, it’s hard to know in advance what works and doesn’t.

  3. I’m not surprised at all. jigoshop is turning out to be the best WordPress eCommerce plugin available hands down. A big thumbs up to them…

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