NinjaForms plugin chops its way into WordPress Dashboards

32 Comments

A new form building plugin has launched this month called NinjaForms. The developers have come out swinging (or karate chopping?) on the plugin’s website, positioning the plugin against competitors like Gravity Forms by pricing itself at just $15. NinjaForms appears to include everything you’d expect in a form builder, but what caught my eye was that it models its form building screen off the WordPress menu editor, which I found neat.

The plugin comes from the folks behind WP Ninjas, who themselves have a handful of plugins and a theme on WordPress.org as well.

Be sure to check out their intro video after the jump to get a feel for what this new plugin offers.

Are you interested in trying out a new form builder plugin like NinjaForms for only $15? Is there still room to innovate and compete in the WordPress form plugin space?

32 thoughts on “NinjaForms plugin chops its way into WordPress Dashboards

  1. Don’t know why exactly, but this plugin seems to be a complex version of Gravity Forms. NinjaForms isn’t going be a competitor to Gravity Forms, not even with that low price. If you are going to use a premium plugin, you want to use the best one and will not try to save just a couple of dollars.

  2. The problem NinjaForms has is that almost everyone that works with WordPress daily already owns Gravity Forms πŸ™‚

    However there’s always place for competition. Actually I love the fact they used the Menu interface in their design and at 15$ I might just buy it to have a look at the code.

  3. While there is always room for competition, the difficult issue with “competing” against Gravity Forms is that Gravity Forms is SOOOO much more than just a form creator.

    • @Benjamin,

      I completely agree. We don’t yet stack up to “everything” Gravity Forms can so. Perhaps in time. But to be honest, It’s the only decent “Form Builder” out there and we wanted to offer alternatives in cost and those who perhaps don’t need all that functionality which certainly is why the cost is much higher.

      Again, much praise for Gravity Forms and all it does do.

  4. We really appreciate the constructive criticism. Truthfully we developed more for end users but there is no reason devs couldn’t get great use out of it. My thought is even $39 is a little pricey for most end users for a form builder. We have complete respect for Gravity Forms dominance in the market but think there might be room for a lower cost solution. And who knows, NinjaForms could develop into something that could be a real competitor.

    The only way to tell is to put it out there. Thanks again for the write up and all the feedback. We’re watching and learning from all of it.

    • Have you looked at the pricing for Wufoo? Formstack? Those are true competitors to Gravity Forms and will run you $29 PER MONTH or more depending on the package. $39 for what Gravity Forms does is a steal.

      As Benjamin points out, Gravity Forms is so much more than just a form builder. Anyone who calls it just a form builder doesn’t truly understand what it is capable of doing.

      When you choose to compare yourself to Gravity Forms in your comparison chart, be prepared for the inevitable backlash you get when it doesn’t stack up to it.

      Right out of the gate you are already comparing yourself to the $199 version of Gravity Forms which is misleading. You are doing so to make NinjaForms look better despite the fact the $199 version of Gravity Forms includes an entire suite of Add-On plugins bringing features and functionality that you can’t compare to NinjaForms because it doesn’t have them.

      Don’t use the comparison that it’s because it’s for unlimited sites… Gravity Forms is GPL so that is all that matters when it comes to the number of sites.

      • I only use that comparison because they list it as a feature on their own site. But like I emailed and posted below I am more than open to correction and suggestions to keep on the up and up. My apologies if this came across as anything less than genuine.

        • I’ve already explained the Gravity Forms licensing, which is GPL. I included the simple solution to resolving this. It’s up to you to implement it or not. You can either mislead your users and potential customers, or you can be honest and upfront in your comparison. The ball is in your court.

          • Carl Hancock (aka George Burley) at least according to your email to me

            Your point is well taken and realizing that you are the developer of Gravity Forms so is your insistence on the matter. I’m going to look at our comparison and take the kind constructive criticism of others and see what I can do to make sure that page is as clear as possible.

            Thanks for your comments.

        • Hey James, George is definitely not Carl Hancock. He’s a commenter that participates in discussions here and there on this blog; no reason to think he’s anyone but George.

          • Carl emailed me directly and cleared up the poor approach of George. Koodos to Carl for helping me see the light. πŸ™‚

            Sorry this post turned into the flame war that it has. Not our intention. Just trying to offer a decent product to users who deserve the options. I will also work on a different version of our comparison table. I am a man of peace after all. πŸ™‚

  5. I love how the comparison charts doesn’t mention that Gravity Forms is available for $39.

    Instead they are comparing NinjaForms to the Developer License of Gravity Forms… which includes Add-Ons for PayPal, User Registration, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, and FreshBooks at that price.

    Funny, they don’t list those options on their comparison chart. Oh yea. Because they don’t have those options.

    Terrible comparison.

    Not a fan of the WordPress menu builder interface. It’s clunky. Just look at the Settings page in their screenshot, there is stuff everywhere. Cluttered. For $15 it better be easy to use, and it might be, but judging from the screenshots and their web site it looks like it’s more complicated to use.

    • @Geaorge,

      I responded to your email with this as well but since you mention it I will post it here as well.

      We in no way meant to mislead which is why we added the note that explains that this is just for a comparison of all the features listed and what you would pay for “those” features. As an example to clarify my point, On Gravity Forms you can’t install on unlimited sites without the 199 version. The comparison is only for features shared and I tried to point out that each had many more features that might not be shared among the others.

      So first let me apologize for the confusion and perhaps unclear comparison. Second, I would love anyones input on how to make this clearer. I don’t want to lie or mislead. Just trying to do some honest work. But I can make mistakes and want to clear them up as soon as possible.

      Would love the suggestions.

      • Gravity Forms is GPL licensed. So yes, you can use the Personal License on multiple sites if you want to. Your comparison is purposely misleading to benefit NinjaForms. If you don’t want to lie or mislead, you would compare it to the $39 option which is the closest accurate comparison to NinjaForms.

        Comparing it to the Business or Developer License is doing so only so you can make NinjaForms look better from a price perspective and completely not taking into account the large number of features those more expensive options include.

        Your little disclaimer does not make this okay. It’s shady. Pure and simple. so if you don’t want to lie or mislead, fix it.

  6. It is most definitely hard to try and be a competitor to Gravity Forms because their plugin is great and they have many integrations available for the plugin as well. With Ninja forms maybe in the future they may be able to become a competitor as they add on more functionality and integrate with other types of popular features (mailchimp, paypal, freshbooks, etc).

    For now I think it’s a good start but more should be added to the plugin. Gotta love the price though.

  7. Hello all,

    Our goal with NinjaForms is not to create something that is, in its current state, a direct competitor with Gravity Forms. We simply want to offer a less expensive alternative for those who do not need all the features that they are paying for with the more expensive premium form plugins.

    As James said, our goal wasn’t to intentionally mislead anyone, and if there is a real problem with our comparison page, we will fix it. I am, however, looking at Gravity Forms pricing page and it says quite clearly that the $39 “license” is for a one site install. Moreover, the Business version also touts the ability to install on three sites. If it is GPL, why do you list a “limitation” that you are not able to actually enforce? Why not tell your customers that Gravity Forms’ personal “license” can actually be installed on as many WordPress sites as they’d like?

    It’s shady. Pure and simple. so if you don’t want to lie or mislead, fix it.

    – Kevin

    • Wait… so you are a competitor to Gravity Forms, because you put them in your “comparison” chart. But then you say you’re not a competitor, just going after a different “market”. They when people point out the flaws in your comparison chart, you turn around and attack Gravity Forms for being shady. Way to keep it classy.

      • No offense Benjamin but we were called shady for our one particular comparison. Sure, NinjaForms could be a comparison to Gravity Forms for Web Form Building and those are the comparisons we make. Let’s be honest, the free plugins tend to be very hard to use for end users. They are usually pointed to Gravity Forms as a solution. The only problem is they don’t need all those features nor would they even know how to use them. And it’s expensive if all you need is a form builder. In that regard, yes, we are a competitor.

        We are not perfect. And we are most definitely not done developing. We do feel we have something to offer and would appreciate the honest chance to do so.

        I would also like to say that @Kevin’s response is not directed at Gravity Forms. But to George who claims that we are being dishonest for something stated on our site as he overlooks something in error on Gravity Forms website. I’ve been emailing Gravity Forms and the “real” Carl seems like a perfectly nice guy. Much respect for him and the great product he has developed. Can’t we all just get along. πŸ™‚

    • So…I’d like to apologize for this comment altogether. It has a lot more vitrol that I had intended, and, to be honest, is not one of my better moments as a human being. At the time, I thought that I was replying to the author of Gravity Forms, who had just spend a few posts calling me a liar. I’m sorry to anyone who reads this, and it’s ok with me if the site admin just removes this comment outright as it is childish, irresponsible and petty. From what I’ve seen in emails, the author of Gravity Forms is a stand-up guy and it’s shame that I’m an idiot.

    • Thanks JJJ, we were really excited about that element as well. We wanted it to feel as much like a built WordPress utility as possible. Also, as users are already getting used to custom menus they will be already be very familiar with how to use the plugin. We think it’s a nice feature.

  8. I personally don’t use a form builder at all as of yet – but I do have a question since I skimmed the video (my computer is running slowly at present, running too many things at once with #$%! latency)…

    What I want (really all I want) is the ability to produce a form for readers to sign up to my Aweber list. I want to be able to widgetize the form and put it into the sidebar.

    What Aweber has for forms is OK, but I want a Mad-Lib style form that integrates with Aweber.

    I couldn’t care less if it washes my dishes and takes donations – I have solutions for those other functions – I just want a customizable form builder that integrates w/Aweber.

    The other function I want to see is to include a form at the end of a post – is this currently possible with NinjaForms?

    To summarize:

    1) Aweber integration – yes or no?
    2) Is the form widgetizable (for lack of a better word)?
    3) Can I build a mad-lib style form with it? e.g.: My name is ______ and you can email me at _____.
    4) Can I use NinjaForms to create an opt-in at the end of a post?

    For $15, I don’t see what everyone has their knickers in a knot for – it looks great to me. You can email me at james AT theaveragegenius DOT net if need be. Best of luck!

    • @JamestheJust,

      The short answer to all you questions is yes, with the NinjaForms API, a developer could do all of the above.

      Now point by point…
      1) Out of the box NinjaForms does not integrate with any third party services.
      2) An actual NinjaForm widgets is coming in an update but you can, with a very short function, include the NinjaForms shortcode in the text widget until update comes.
      3) Certainly. With some creative CSS you can display NinjaForms any way you like.
      4) Yes. Ninja forms can be used as an opt-in and placed in any page, post, or template you like.

      I hope that gives you the answers you needed. πŸ™‚

  9. Man these comments turned out to be a chaos. Anyways it is my understanding that when a product is released under GPL (it means use it however/wherever/whenever). So that does classify that you can use it on unlimited sites.

    I myself have the developer version of Gravityforms because I like the additional addons and support. However what I believe they mean by saying use on 1 site or 3 site is that the support will only be provided for those.

    Correct me if I am wrong anyone.

    So from a marketing perspective, I can understand how this would help you guys by comparing yourself to Gravity Forms and actually show that you offer something that they do not. However realistically speaking, it is not even fair to compare Ninja Forms with Gravity Forms because Gravity Forms offers so much more.

    Yes it is misleading and just bad business to do comparisons like. You just have to review the pros and cons of the marketing decision. Is it helping you to compare yourself to Gravity Forms?? or is it hurting you??

    The best model is when you do your own thing and not worry about your competitors at least not in public. I don’t see Gravity Forms comparing itself to other forms… I don’t see Genesis having a comparison page where it compares itself to other frameworks. The point is make your product look good by what you offer. Not by trying to DEGRADE other products specially when they are a lot better!!!

    • @Syed,

      All valid points. It’s an obscure version 1.0. We certainly don’t do all that Gravity Forms does. We state that clearly whenever we post about such topics. We are definitely not trying to make people think that we do. In the future we may but not yet. With further development (as we plan to do) we could be viable alternative to Gravity Forms on all levels but we needed to get a 1.0 out the door.

      Marketing for something that no one knows about is “almost” always a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Certainly there are pros and cons to making comparisons. Gravity Forms is the current standard and we admit that. From an SEO standpoint to not make some mentions and comparisons relegates us to further obscurity, regardless of how good our product might be. If it can’t be found then there is no product as an alternative to what is found. I will point out however that regardless of any marketing or comparisons, I’ve personally never insulted or “degraded” Gravity Forms. I never intend to.

      Admittedly, negative exposure is not the kind that we want. With that in mind we are still evaluating how we will handle our maligned comparison page. I care deeply about the WordPress community. I volunteer my time occasionally in the support forums and I’m part of the theme review team. Bickering and insulting other people in this community is the very last thing that I desire.

      As we continue to evaluate our “comparisons” I hope that we can all get past them and see NinjaForms for what it is, a WordPress web form builder that is feature rich and easy to use for end users, flexibly adaptable for developers, and very inexpensive.

      Anyone who would like to review the plugin on those merits I welcome you and send me a message. I’d be happy to get you a copy of the plugin.

  10. @James @Kevin,

    Best of luck with the launch of your new product. From watching the video it looks very promising and offers some features that are not available anywhere else.

    Including the visual editor on the confirmation and email is a huge plus to the end user. I recently had a client hire me to code a custom confirmation page and HTML email that they could have easily done themselves with Ninja Forms.

    I also really like the ability to choose label position on a per field basis.

    Again best of luck and I will be recommending Ninja Forms next time I have a client who wants a simple to use inexpensive form plugin.

    • Chris, Thank you for the kind words. We really think the end user is where NinjaForms strength is while a more creative developer could hook into it and do anything they need as well.

      We appreciate your recommendation and look forward to making NinjaForms even better.

  11. Wow those comments took some reading. Having already installed NinjaForms, I found it dead simple, but I’m interested in Gravity forms as well now.

    The big puzzle for me is I need the ability to have user registration. It’s not clear to me that NinjaForms can do this, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

    At the moment I’m using WordPress Members Plugin to make people register before they see the form.

    I’m guessing that with Gravity Forms I’ll need the developer Licence to get user registration?

    Thanks…it’s great that we have options. Well done on both camps for producing what looks to me like two valuable pieces of software.

    Dave

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