PHPurchase relaunches as Cart66, talks about new features and plans for the future


PHPurchase has completed a rebranding and restructuring excercise, and they are now Cart66. The basic premise behind the rebranding was to take PHPurchase beyond a plugin and into a complete e-commerce solution, according to the announcement.

Cart66 is, in many ways, the next generation of PHPurchase. There are some fundamental, internal differences that make Cart66 a separate plugin from PHPurchase so you cannot auto-upgrade from PHPurchase to Cart66. We have taken all the great feedback we have collected over the past year and built Cart66 to better meet your needs.

Some of the plans for the future and cool new features Cart66 customers can expect:

  • Recurring payments with PayPal
  • Enhanced, multi-level, members-only content
  • Zendesk help desk integration
  • New shortcodes for various e-commerce features
  • Speed – Cart66 is “up to 4x faster” than PHPurchase

In addition to the PayPal integration, Cart66 also plans to integrate with Spreedly to allow customers to pay with traditional credit cards.

For a full list of features, including details of an upcoming “lite” version, which will be free, see their full features page.

Because of the significant code changes from PHPurchase to Cart66, it’s not possible for existing PHPurchase customers to auto-upgrade. Also, standard license PHPurchase customers will have to pay, with 50% off, for Cart66. PHPurchase Pro customers get Cart66 for five years.

Pricing for Cart66 ranges from $89 per year for a single site membership to $399 per year for an unlimited membership.

In addition to all of the technical differences between PHPurchase and Cart66, the developers shared some of their plans for Cart66:

We will be offering a WordPress ecommerce hosting platform powered by, we have partnerships with theme designers who are developing Cart66 powered ecommerce themes, and we are continually planning new feaures and enhancements for our WordPress ecommerce products. As such, we wanted to do more than just provide a plugin, we wanted to develop a professional, online community around WordPress and ecommerce.

It will be interesting to see how these partnerships unfold. I have a feeling we will see the emergence of WP Stores as a part of these partnerships. My guess is that it will be a totally hosted, themed, managed e-commerce solution using Cart66 and the platform — but I’m just guessing. 🙂

What do you think? Are you an existing PHPurchase customer? How does this affect your relationship with Cart66? If you’re not a PHPurchase customer, does this make you want to become one?

84 thoughts on “PHPurchase relaunches as Cart66, talks about new features and plans for the future

  1. Surely that’s got to be a pretty good guess Brian? — Other than that, an interesting change in name for sure, and who knows if I’ll ever become a Cart66 Customer, it’ll depend if I ever need the functionality.

  2. It’s a good plugin and looks promising, The only thing for us though is that with digital products that are not a subscription they do not get a Zen Desk or Members Area Login created, Thus your customers can only download the digital files from the email you send them.

    If they can allow standard digital products to have an members login tied to the purchase it would really be a great plugin. 😉

    • Adam:

      We have the exact same need. We have a one-time fee for lifetime access to our support system which, after next week, will be ZenDesk.

      Standard Theme

      • I’m a little confused as to what you guys are referencing. Maybe I’m not the only one?

        The only thing for us though is that with digital products that are not a subscription they do not get a Zen Desk or Members Area Login created

        So you’re saying cart66 only allows for a Zen Desk or Members area if the product you, the provider, are selling is a subscription model?

        • Hey Brian, Yes that is correct.

          No subscription = No ZenDesk or Members Account.

          This is really something that needs to be added to make Cart66 a great e-commerce plugin for our needs.

  3. While I am all for evolution of products I am not happy about this one at the moment. I just bought the plug in 3 days ago and now you are telling me I need to spend more money? I don’t need the additional features. What you were offering was perfect for my clients needs. No is it back to the drawing board? I also don’t like annual subscriptions. Just one opinion on the news.

    • Chris, I can definitely understand where you are coming from. Perhaps a phase-in or warning of the changes upcoming would have been good?
      Have the cart66 folks contacted existing customers by email or anything? Maybe you could describe your scenario of having just bought it, and get a helping hand… Good luck.

  4. That’s got to be the best business model ever. You launch a paid plugin, promise support, keep saying “great ideas” when people suggest features in your forums but you never deliver, then you relaunch under another brand name with some of those features your users are waiting for, increase the price 5 fold and make it a paid upgrade.

    Sorry but these guys are not reliable, don’t deserve this attention and should take a lesson or two in satisfying their customers first.

    • Hey Yoast – came here on a link from your Tweet. Its very relevant as I have just been looking at PP after @bgardner suggested it as a possible option to Shopp. While pondering Cart66 appeared on the scene and have been mulling over a dev licence.

      Have had contact with Lee Blue and he (she) was very helpful. But after reading your post and Richard and others – I’ve made up my mind – A Leopard even by another name – still has the same spots.

      Back to the drawing board. Thanks to one and all for the heads up.

    • even if the plugin had change in some aspects i think you are right, why the re-branding? a good plugin can remain with the same brand for ever if the author gives the importance the customer deserves and take notes of the feedback and requests

      • We needed to rebrand the plugin for several reasons. When the WordPress folks themselves started using our plugin they made us aware that The PHP Group (the developers of the PHP language) as well as some other members of the PHP community would rather us not have “PHP” as part of the plugin name. The name also was causing confusion among our customers thinking they needed to know PHP in order to use the plugin. Lastly, the name PHPurchase was constantly misspelled as PHPPurchase (too many P’s). So we decided that with the announcement of the members area and the free plugin in the WordPress repository that we’d change the name.

  5. Hmm, I’m not so happy I think.. PHPurchase is (was) a great plugin! But several times we asked the developers to do some upgrades, because without those upgrades a dev licence would not be worth its money..

    And now this?? $400 a YEAR!! If they had just made some minor updates for PHPurchase, I would have buy the dev licence and it would save me $1700!!!

    Really, this is so not cool.. Regardless how cool the plugin itself is…

  6. bought PP single license a while ago, it was missing a lot of features, for which I took part in the forums, and got reactions stating my ideas where great and would be integrated in the future.

    There has never been a single update afterwards and now this? I won’t pay again (even recurring, f*ck that) for a plugin that was missing stuff before which never got solved.

  7. Hi everyone. I’m Lee, the lead developer for Cart66, and wanted to mention a few things. First, we are all very sorry for any frustration this rebranding has caused. It is not our intention to change things in a negative way for existing customers. All PHPurchase Pro customers will get a free 5 year membership to the cart66 website where you can download the new Cart66 plugin as well as PHPurchase, get support, etc. In the future we’ll be populating the members area with free themes, add-ons, beta-releases of Cart66 and other cool stuff as it becomes available. The membership area is going to let us provide a lot more value to our customers – much more than just a plugin. Also, you do not have to maintain a membership to use Cart66. The membership provides support and upgrades. Cart66 (and PHPurchase) will both continue functioning with all of it’s functionality whether you have a membership or not.

    To comment on Adam’s post about selling digital products, if you sell a digital product, the digital product will be immediately available on the customer’s receipt page and will remain available there forever. A link to their receipt page will also be included in their email receipt. We are working on expanding non-subscription products so that they can create membership accounts – so that feature is coming.

    While we are growing rapidly, we are a small company and doing our best to develop all the features everyone wants while, at the same time, trying to provide prompt response to support inquiries. The last thing we want to do is try to give WordPress developers a bad reputation. I am really sad about that comment. We don’t want to take advantage of anyone – ever. This is why we have always had a 60 day 100% money back guarantee. If for any reason our Cart66/PHPurchase plugin doesn’t do what you need it to do you get a complete refund.

    We will also be giving back to the WordPress community by providing a version of Cart66 for free in the official WordPress repository in a couple of weeks. The free version will not have all the features of the paid version but will still be a very capable ecommerce plugin.

    Lastly, we are totally open to any ideas on how we can make this a better experience for everyone. We wanted to send out notification emails to all our customers, but we do not have their permission to email them because they have not opted in to a newsletter from us. This is our fault for not setting up a newsletter. We are in agreement that their should have been more notice of this rebranding and we’re sorry for dropping the ball on that. So, if anyone has any ideas on how we can improve or what we can do to make this a win-win for everyone please let us know. Thank you!

  8. Suggestion to the PHPurchase, um Cart66 folks…
    Grandfather in your existing customers. If not, expect a backlash and plenty comments about the missing features, bugs, and the lack of support we’ve received up to this point. Launching a new product by throwing your entire customer base under the bus is not a wise move. Here’s to hoping you make things right.

  9. I liked it for it’s simplicity and did not needn a full shopping experience like getshopped or shopp that’s why I bought the plugin. Using only short codes was the perfect solution for me. Some people need something between a simple PayPal checkout page and a full scale cart. Phpurchase fit that need. I hope they reconsider and somehow keep it alive otherwise Cart66 is yet another e-commerce engine with too many features that I don’t need.

    As others have commented there should have been some warning about the charge and or we should be offered refunds if they are not going to support the product. I literally bought this on Sunday.

    I am always will to pay for a well thought out plugin and have many developer versions it is sad when something gets such a drastic change in an attempt to grab more revenue. While a see a lite version will be available I imagine it will be loaded with marketing information for cart66. No thanks

  10. As you can read from this thread, the current PHPurchase model was just not a sustainable business practice:

    I’m sure their intentions were not to make you guys angry, but hey, would you have rather had PHPurchase just folded because they could no longer afford to make updates and provide support? I just bought it a couple of weeks ago myself so I have to redo all my customizations which will take some time. I won’t use all the subscription and members features either for now, but maybe in the future for other projects. However, I would rather see the product continue to develop and evolve even if it means money.

    They couldn’t have just made minor changes for some of you – it looks like they needed to make major changes to suit the needs of many. LIke any product, there will always be features you need and features you don’t. This product has way more features than I need, but it also has exactly what I do need.

    Also, I was in the dark as well, but I’m not going nuts about it. PHPurchase/Cart66 really is a good product, so I’ll go with flow and see how things develop.

  11. Wow. I can’t tell whats more outrageous, the price or what they are doing to their current customers. Come on now, this is a competitive market, don’t give these people your money.

    • @Davey,

      Competition? Can you name a better ecommerce shopping cart solution that integrates so easily and intuitively with Gravity Forms? I need registration forms as a product to collect data, then I need all those forms added to a shopping cart with PayPal integration and order management. I can’t find anything else that suits the bill better than PHPurchase/Cart66.

      What’s outrageous here is jumping to conclusions and writing Cart66 off so quickly. Read Lee’s comment above. Their intent is not to screw you. Their intent is to create a business model that will enable them to continue to develop the product. Yes, they should have posted something on the old website during the last month or so before people like myself purchased the product, but they didn’t and that’s that. I wasn’t happy that I spent some money that I might have to spend again and spent time on customizing some of the PHPurchase files, but I’m willing to see if Cart66 and the membership support will be better. They are already offering a great deal to PHPurchase Pro buyers. And, according to Lee’s comments it sounds like they are open to helping current customers out. They are a small outfit so it might take some time to sort through some things.

      My guess is that some of the features and updates spoken about on the old PHPurchase forum were being implemented or will be implemented in Cart66. Give it a chance. Try out the new free version that’s coming out.

      Here’s a good response by Benjamin at the forums:

      • FYI PHPurchase and Cart66 don’t really integrate that well with Gravity Forms, the ‘send’ is just a redirection to pay, and if they cancel before paying … The form is still published.

  12. I also just installed phpurcchase on a client site in January and was really happy with the plugin and the ease of use. I also informed the client the license fee would be a one time charge. Now either I’m going to have to support the ongoing costs or inform the client that they are, not good. I am pretty bummed about these changes. It’s a bit confusing, though I haven’t visited the new site yet. Also, this idea that you couldn’t email your existing clients and let them know is pretty lame. While I could be wrong last time I checked you can send transitional email to your clients, their purchase gives you permission to do do. Further, if you’re going to be making significant changes and phasing out a product what are you doing selling it just days even weeks before getting rid of it. Lastly, this idea that you can buy a product but don’t have to buy the membership or subscription for the updates is also a poor business model customer support and marketing. That’s like selling a car and saying you don’t have to tune it up or replace parts as they wear out. If you wan to to keep it running yes to you do. Just because you call something an option doesn’t make it an option. This doesn’t seem like a well thought out transition.

    • @Corrinda,

      Now, I agree that something should have been posted about the change or better customer notice could have been done, but Lee has apologized and explained what is going on. I can accept that and hope that the changes are for the better. It appears that they are continuing to work through this transition and will hopefully find a happy medium for everyone.

      I don’t agree with your statement that its a poor business model. Lots of plugins, frameworks, themes, etc.. allow you free access or a set price for the plugin or product, but if you want additional support, features or major upgrades you have to pay for them. I pay monthly subscription fees for a couple of wp frameworks and plugins. That’s their business model. They can’t sustain constant support for hundreds of people for a $50 – $100 product.

      Take Event Espresso for example. Good product – basic license is $60. Addons run another $25 to $40 each. If you want access to premium support then you pay $5 a month ($60 per year). Gravity forms only allows upgrades and support for one year then you have to purchase it again if you want another year of ugrades and support. You can use your current version but you don’t get support or upgrades. Justin Tadlock’s Hybrid theme is great and free, but if you want support and all the extra documentation you have to pay for it. It’s the only to continue to develop the product (unless you have someone willing to pony up tons of cash). Lots of wp plugins and other products operate this way.

      • @hbarrett

        To clarify what I find to be a poor business model is not the pricing, I use Event Espresso and am also a part of their monthly membership. I find the notion that it is an option to not get updates is not really not an option. It’s sort of like buying a car and never expecting to change the oil or replace worn out parts. If you are a service provider and expect to deliver a quality product to your web clients you need to provide updates and expect to pay for them and work that overhead into your own business model.

  13. Ok – just visited the Cart66 website now I’m not bummed but quite angry. Wow big deal I get 1/2 off a year membership. I just installed a shopping cart for a client that doesn’t exist nor can I upgrade to the new product since they are entirely different. Had I known I would have NOT made the purchase in December. I am now going to ask for my money back and will have to figure out what to do with for the client I just set up with PHPurchase. This job was delivered and paid for. I’m going to lose money now on this client project. I agree that all recent clients should be grandfathered in for free and then some as it requires setting a new installation with a new product at a new annual cost.

  14. I wanted to let everyone know a few things:

    1) is back online so you can access the support ticket system and everything else

    2) Everyone who has PHPurchase Standard will get a free year membership to Cart66 (not 1/2 off as previously stated on our website)

    3) Everyone who has PHPurchase Pro will get a free 5 year membership to Cart66

    4) There will be a form on where you enter your PHPurchase order number and can create your own Cart66 account. We are working on this right now and it will be available by Monday.

    We really love and value you guys. You have provided amazing feedback which has had a huge impact on the features we have built into the plugin, our pricing, and this rebranding transition. Hopefully you see the changes we are making right now as a sign of how serious we are about listening to your feedback and doing what is right.

    I know we’ve made mistakes during this transition and all of us behind Cart66 simply could not be more sorry about the frustration all this has caused.

    • Thank you Lee –

      I emailed Cart66 directly and got a good, prompt response. To clarify my objections were not regarding the transition, rather how it was handled. Which, to me, was quite abrupt for such a sweeping change. We all need to find sustainable business models, vendors, service providers and clients. It looks like Cart66 is making every effort to stand behind their product and the changes they need to make to continue to provide a quality product.

  15. What seems strange is that people are complaining that they loved PHPurchase and installed it on their client sites and it worked fine… But now they are upset that they “have to upgrade”. Umm… no. You can still use PHPurchase. If you loved PHPurchase before (which many of the people complaining HAVE said they loved PHPurchase and it did exactly what they wanted), what exactly changed? Nothing. You can still use the plugin that you “loved” and you don’t have to change to Cart66 if you don’t want to. Maybe I’m missing something. Your original purchase email receipt of PHPurchase contains a link to download the latest version of the plugin. So no, I guess I don’t see the world is ending because of the change to Cart66.

  16. In full disclosure, I’m a core developer for another competing e-commerce plugin.

    I definitely appreciate both sides of the argument (Scandal! Outrage! Ripoff! WHAA??) vs. (Sustainable! Rebranding! This hurts us more than it hurts you!!). And I’ve personally got nothing but good will toward these guys. They’ve got a great entry-level product that obviously works well for a lot of people.

    That said, what they’ve now done is (almost) what they should have done to start. Make sure everyone with a current license is grandfathered in. Indefinitely. Period. It will hurt and cost them in the short-term, but in the long-term; they will have a happy customer base. The compounding support load vs. stagnant revenue stream argument they made elsewhere is a moot point; their new recurring revenue model will easily sustain all grandfathered licenses once they break a tipping point.

  17. Lee, thanks for bringing the PHPurchase support back online in time. That was wonderful you did this. I was a bit worried about your new transition, especially since I have touted PHPurchase to many members of Chicago WordPress Meetup Group at our regular member meetings and 1-Day WP Workshop events. I was curious if I was going to have to eat my words. I also just put a highly respected Chicago independent investment banker on PHPurchase / Rackspace Cloud Sites etc and they want to launch their site in 2 weeks for sales of digital products. She just bought the PHPurchase plugin a few days ago. I surely thought I was going to have to rework her ecommerce solution. However, after reading everything and the offer you made to others here on these pages, I am not worried at all. I know personally your support has been top notch (almost as good as Rackspace Cloud, but they have way more folks and are a public company) and I will continue to recommend it to members of Chicago WordPress Meetup Group and mention it in our 1-Day WP Workshop events. As soon as I decipher all the details (I admit some of the information is confusing but I know how it is to run small shop and do a launch, etc) I will obtain a Cart66 developer license and help support your efforts further, possibly next week if you keep providing us more details and informing us of what’s happening. Thanks for developing a wonderful plugin and I will support the continued development by getting the developer license when you guys roll out some more informational items. AND I will encourage others to get one as well. Good luck in the future and keep up the good work. I am confident you guys will satisfy your customers and your reputation will be all good in the end.

    Dante Hamilton
    Chiicago WordPress Meetup Group

  18. All I really wanted from phpurchase was usps shipping integration so I can ship t-shirts without charging an arm and a leg. Any info on whether USPS is included in “live shipping rates” ?

  19. Lee, thanks I setup my account it was painless. I downloaded and printed out the new 48 paged PDF documentation. I like the new enhancements. I clearly see where you guys are headed with this and I must say it’s brilliant the way you bundled the add-ons. I don’t need a Spreedly now, but I may need it later. I just purchased WordPress Affiliate Platform plugin to use for my affiliate marketing, but I am also going to test the iDevAffiliate out as well since it’s integrated with Cart66. Again, this is brilliant to do this – the integration. I like the new personalization feature in the cart so shoppers can personalize their purchases (i.e. engraving, etc). The ZenDesk is awesome too but I personally don’t like hosted solutions and would love this idea if ZenDesk offered a self-hosted version. I’ve had bad experiences with hosted solutions and stay away from them although ZenDesk is used by many major players. Great work so far Lee, thanks!

    • Thanks Dante! Cart66 is still integrated with the WordPress Affiliate Platform plugin too. You don’t have to do anything other than install the WordPress Affiliate Platform plugin and Cart66 will know that it’s installed and will automatically award commissions to your affiliates. This is also a feature in PHPurchase. When we realized their plugin was not GPL we began to look for other affiliate solutions. The WP Affiliate platform isn’t mentioned much in the context of Cart66 because it may not be able to stay in circulation unless they become GPL. Nevertheless, the integration is still built into Cart66. Thanks again!

  20. Looks like it was an oversight on Lee’s part but quickly remedied on the past customer upgrades. It happens, but how they handled it shows they mean business.

  21. Lee, maybe you should spend a bit more time on your own forums (yeah plural now), instead of coming up with lame excuses (name change was necessary, pfff) on other websites.

    The “support” on your new forum is only a tiny fraction better than on the getsatisfaction site and questions that are “too difficult” are again simply ignored.

    You have done everything in the PR book wrong with your move to Cart66 and instead of doing some much needed damage control you’re only doing things behind the scenes and you leave your colleague Ryan with your forum(s).

    Your old plugin was and your new plugin still is completely flawed. The biggest problem is that it is totally unsuitable for any other market than the US and although you are totally aware of that, you are still keeping that for yourself instead of at least putting a small warning up on your site to inform potential buyers from outside the US.

    On top of that, we have been hearing already for the past 6 months at least that you are planning this and going to do that and listening to all the great ideas and suggestions your users have given you. And what is the result? What have you actually done with all these ideas and suggestions? FAK ALL, that’s what you have done with them!
    Instead you have massively FACKED OVER your existing customer-base and although some are still supporting you, most of them are really pissed off with you and your colleagues!

    So you give me 5 years because I bought the Pro license a while back? Do you expect me to jump up and down from happiness, you expect a thank you from me?
    The plugin as it is now, is totally unusable for me for the lack of localization and who knows when you guys decide that localization is important enough to start making that happen…

    What about the guy who bought a single site PHPurchase on February 1, 2011 only to find out a few hours after his purchase that he was ROYALLY RIPPED ANOTHER AHOLE?
    You couldn’t disable the ecommerce on your own pages and a redirect to Cart66 was also not one of the options?

    We already know that communication is not one of your strongest points, but isn’t there anyone in your team that has suggested to perhaps inform the existing customers about the upcoming changes?
    Also if you are making a Lite version, wouldn’t it have been a much better idea to have that one finished BEFORE the switch?
    Now you again tell your existing customers that new features will come after Lite is finished.
    Do you really think that I still believe your empty words and false promises?

    “I know we’ve made mistakes during this transition and all of us behind Cart66 simply could not be more sorry about the frustration all this has caused.”

    How many times have I already read “sorry” from you guys? In my book to say sorry, means that you apologise for something you have obviously done wrong and at the same time you promise that you will do your very best not to screw up again.
    Your sorry’s however are completely empty ones, because you keep screwing up time and time again. False promises are not something where you stay in business with for a very long time!

    • Wow Piet… you’ve already been given a full refund based on their support forums. The PHPurchase/Cart66 guys have taken care of all their customers (granting everyone access to the new version). What more do you want? You do realize that there are plenty of other shopping carts / membership plugins out there. I’m sure they would LOVE to have a customer like you.

      • Well as a matter of fact Benjamin, the plugin might be the perfect solution for you, but for me it is completely unsuitable.
        The mere fact that there is no localization whatsoever – and that Ryan has informed me that implementing this localization in the future is not very high on their list – plus the currency symbols show up wrong on the front-end (when using the Gravity Forms integration, see screenshot:, plus the inability to change the amount notation, makes this plugin completely unusable for any market that is not solely focusing on the USA.
        The people behind PHPurchase/Cart66 are fully aware of this, yet they choose not to put some kind of warning on their site to inform potential buyers of their plugin.
        So after downloading the (new) Cart66 plugin and installing it on my site I discovered that none of the above issues were dealt with. Even after many many “suggestions” by several people including myself on the getsatisfaction fora, these issues are simply ignored.
        Then I asked on the new support forum and Ryan gave me unsatisfactory answers, so I requested a full refund which was granted.
        It’s really wonderful for them that there are fanboys like you, but not everybody is the same and wants the same things.
        The plugin is great IF you’re in the US AND only need your site in English, however the world is bigger than the US alone, and for a premium plugin not to realize that I find very un-21st century.
        But hey, like you said, there are plenty of other shopping carts available and I already have switched to one of those.
        So, in the end, everybody happy, end of story.

        • You do realise that they are in no way obligated to localise their plugin? Just because your market is outside of the US it doesn’t mean that theirs has to be.

          • They don’t have too, but they’re selling the plugin to people who they know can’t use it. Also, they’ve been telling people they’d fix stuff like that in the forums for ages.

          • O…K… so you are making a premium plugin for one of the functions that WordPress is still very much lacking and you make it so that it cannot be used internationally?
            Maybe I am not seeing this, but if you have a commercial product, don’t you want your market to be as large as possible? After all it’s the internet, they’re not selling porcelain cups!
            The mere fact that WordPress itself is 100% localised nowadays, should be a sign for plugin developers to do so too. And if you don’t you should warn people about that and not take their money and run!

          • I am definitely with Joost & Piet!

            I just finished building a custom product catalog and was expected to integrate PHPurchase this week, only to realize Canadian shipping is not recognized. This would have been my third project with PHPurchase, the previous were based on digital goods. I am incredibly disappointed, I cannot use this application for any business outside the US.

            I now pray to the web design gods, I am not sued.

          • I do actually agree with you there Piet. It would make sense for their plugin to be available in as many languages as possible. But you do have to consider the size of their business and their goals. Expanding into a global market would increase support volume exponentially – perhaps beyond their capability to contain. I just wanted to remind you that it’s their product and they’re in no way obligated to do something even if their customers are calling for it. It’s their discretion.

            It should certainly be 100% transparent if such a feature is not supported so I agree with you again.

            Being part of a team developing a rival product I empathise completely with creators of these plugins. I appreciate that not everyone can be pleased, it’s just a shame that the criticisms are always louder than the plaudits.

  22. I’ll be giving it a miss… sadly.

    I’ve priced up 3 jobs for clients based on PHPurchase, so was just about to invest in a dev license. I’m very disappointed with the new subscription based model. It’s unattractive to tie developers into a recurring fee for a purchased plugin, and the bottom line is that the pricing structure is greedy.

    I loved the simplicity of PHPurchase too, so to charge extra for un-required functionality is also quite disappointing.

    It’s a shame because PHPurchase was looking good and was priced attractively. But, I think Cart66 is seriously heading in the wrong direction now.

  23. Why is subscription so terrible?

    Just to clarify a real life scenario, for anyone who may be considering this plugin but is on the fence about the subscription model…

    I don’t personally require any cart functionality, I’m a developer and just need a reliable plugin for clients’ sites where cart functionality is required. I don’t have any personal reason to maintain a subscription.

    If I build a number of sites with Cart66, I am automatically tied into an endless subscription contract for the life of all of the sites which use the plugin. My clients are small and do not generally agree to annual maintenance fees. Without providing a reasonable & competetive one-off price I will not win the work.

    So, the big question is… what happens down the line when I discover a better solution to my needs, or for some other reason I choose not to continue with Cart66? I’d still be tied to your plugin because of the legacy websites that use it. Sites that were paid for perhaps years ago and no longer provide me with any income.

    An annual bill of $399 (currently), for a dev license, is quite a hefty price tag for a plugin that no longer provides me with an income/profit.

    The subscription based model is a very poor deal for the designers & developers that make up your customer base, hence the feelings clearly being voiced here. Whatever the costs involved, our projects need to be financially self-contained, meaning that they must not require ongoing funding.

    Like many others developers I simply cannot use Cart66, regardless of whether I think it’s a good plugin or not.

    You need to rethink you position if you want a large uptake.

    • $399 a year for any remotely serious eCommerce web site should be realistic.

      A site which has been launched for 12 months will likely not need support anyway so you can forgo the second years subscription?

      Without a subscription model the product simply cannot be sustained and will cease to exist. Look at all the successful premium theme / plugin retailers – one thing in common – subscriptions.

  24. Wow, what a debate. Probably not one I would normally weigh into but kind of have to since we have an offering based on this cart and I got a bunch of feedback myself this weekend.

    First, Lee you have provided excellent customer service to us. We run two commercial businesses off your plugin. One, in full transparency, is our billing at HostCo which we implemented last year splitting off from our legacy system. We did so to eat our own dog food in the WP world. It’s been fun. And, your Cart66 path and change in subscription support for Authorize.Net actually made me happy as it gives me the perfect excuse to fork your plugin for our internal needs which we’ve already done. International, etc. It does, however, put your customers in a pickle. Back when I worked at Microsoft, there was a little known fact about Windows XP. . .sales were great but deployment was one of the worst in history. We made it tough for our customers and you are getting a dose of that on this post. It is a tough problem to crack. Step back, listen to your customers, and stay true to your end game but realize freebies and grandfathering is the easy part.

    We had gone out the door with our Suite eCommerce offering based on a PHPurchase license. In our volunteer work with SBA/SBDCs, it was the perfect answer for people with online business dreams and limited budgets. We think it was a great model for startup eCom businesses. It is confusing now, however. Though it is still on our site, prospective customers are really hitting us on “your” debate. We are going to sort through this and figure out whether it makes sense moving forward or whether we open it up to other carts. In good faith, we are bringing another commercial site online with Cart66 to give it a workout.

    In terms of communicating with your customers. The Can-Spam Act has no opt-in requirement; you simply have to have a relationship to email someone. You have that. Get a newsletter out. We want to hear from you.

    I could easily have a beer with several authors of the above comments on topics like internationalization, subscription models, the importance of USPS integration, and even forking the code base. However, I do respect what you’ve done with this plugin and the optimist in me hopes you survive the bruises, learn from it, and take your ventures to the next level.

  25. Thank you all for caring enough to leave a comment here. Even though some of these comments have been hard to read, without them we wouldn’t know what you were thinking and we wouldn’t be able to improve to meet your needs. Based on your feedback we are making some changes to the membership model that will help with developers, like W!cky, who need projects to be financially self contained and do not want to be tied into a subscription. It seems the biggest concerns folks have are that if they do not maintain an active membership their site will stop working and/or they will stop getting upgrades.

    This first concern is a misunderstanding. You do not have to keep an active membership to have Cart66 (or PHPurchase) continue to function. Cart66 retains 100% of its functionality whether you have an active membership or not.

    We are changing the membership system to address the concern about not getting upgrades. Originally, an active membership was required for both support and upgrades. We are changing this so that EVERYONE will ALWAYS get upgrades regardless of your membership status. So, even after your membership expires, you will still be able to get the auto-upgrades through your WordPress plugins panel. An active membership is required to access the support system.

    So if you are a developer and need a fixed cost for your project, you can get the Single Site support plan and immediately cancel the subscription so you won’t be billed again. Canceling your subscription just means you won’t be billed again. You membership will remain active (meaning you can log in and access support and whatnot) for the remainder of your year. This means you will have:

    1) A year of support
    2) Cart66 upgrades for life for the site you are building (even after your membership expires)
    3) No recurring fees (self-contained cost)

    We are in the processing of updating our website to reflect this change, but I wanted to let you all know that we take your comments very seriously and are thankful for them.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Please leave a comment to let us know if this sounds like it will work for you.

    • Wow Lee you are really hanging in there.
      I have been researching shopping cart and membership solution for wordpress and tried a number over this past few years, this looks great.

      I am so glad that you are engaging in this conversation, you cleared up a number of my questions and it’s clear by your tone you are trying to win people over and you really care about your product and listen to your custom.

      It was had to actually read your sales page to find ‘You do not have to maintain your membership to use Cart66’

      I’ll be checking out (buying) you plugin in the morning and start testing it out. really glad I could read through this forum.

    • After carefully researching the various plugins for a shopping cart site (our first–but not last) I purchased Gravity forms and then went to ‘PHPurchase’ clicked on ‘Buy’ ended up with Cart66 at a higher price which was not really a problem. When I tried to check out via PayPal I was kicked back to the “buy now’ page in an endless loop.
      I email support asking what to do and in two days received no answer. I still decided to buy and tried to check out with the same credit card I use on PayPal and which I have been using on line for a couple of years. This time I got an error message:
      We’re sorry.
      Your order could not be completed for the following reasons:
      transaction blocked by your settings in fmf:

      I have no idea what this means.
      Can anybody out there from Cart66 let me know what is happening. I need to finish my project and have already wasted a couple of days just trying to get the plugin?
      I'm a little put off to think I can't get a reply from Support when I know that I'll need some of that while I'm initially on the learning curve. I need a little reassurance and an explanation.

      • Hi Vern. Sorry about the trouble with your credit card. We’ve got really tight fraud prevention in place for the credit card form. Sometimes that results in false positives. Checking out with PayPal Express Checkout should work though. I see the email from you in our support system and will reply with more details there.

  26. @Lee

    Thank you for listening, and I really appreciate the fact that you’ve taken such a pragmatic decision. I think it says a great deal about your commitment to both your customers and the project.

    I hope & believe the plugin will provide you with a great deal of success.


  27. I was really really disappointed yesterday when I went to check out PHPurchase site, just to see if there have been any changes around, only to find out that they changed, well, everything!
    I purchased PHP because of it’s simplicity and now it seems like I purchased something completely different. I don’t have anything against development, but with single purchase license up by 100% Cart66 is becoming a premium e commerce solution, still lacking in basic import-export products, newsletter opt-in, or product sheet that we could submit to Google Merchant base.

    A week ago I was changing my hosting and went through a trouble with having to rewrite all of my products (not a small number), now I’ll have to go through this AGAIN, or I’ll have to wait for Lite version, and meanwhile my one year ‘subscription’ is running out.

    If I had Cart66 (89$) and Shopp(55$) dilemma, I would go for Shopp, because Shopp provides those standard features I mentioned. Besides that, you don’t have to put your time into WP theme development, as they have covered things like product gallery and archive pages.

    Said that, I was a Shopp user and then became a PHPurchase user.
    What I liked better in PHPurchase is more intuitive shipping creation options and ability to use currency of our choice.
    But with this price change I wonder would I ever consider Cart66 to be 45$ more worthy than Shopp.

    Come on, guys/gals, I support your ambitions and I would LOVE to see this Cart66 becoming really worth 89$, but you first have to create a quality product and then charge for it, not vice versa!

    And, yes, I also agree that your current customer base should be grandfathered.

    Thanks for reading!

  28. @Innocent the reason I found cart66 was because i needed a shopping cart pluggin that had reoccurring payments and custom field ( plus it has gravity forums integration!)

    Yes $89 is a lot if you are working on your own site or a free project. However if you professionally build sites for a living this is just a few hours of dev time cost wise and the cost saves you a lot more then that.

    Anyways just my thought its odd to see people mad that someone prices some things they way they do. If you don’t like the price because you can get it cheaper else where then get it cheaper and let every one know of a good second option.

    Me I can not do it cheaper and the extra features means no out side dev work.

    • I am not mad about prices going higher, I am wandering what this product is actually giving to it’s consumers to justify higher price.

      Very simple and logical question, me thinks.

      Besides that, I have mentioned cheaper options and why I choose PHPurchase instead of them, so I think my reply to this theme was very correct.

      Also, I have managed to replace PHP with Cart66 and it crashes all the time.

      I am really disappointed with how things are going.

  29. After doing a good deal of research, I bought PHPurchase because: 1) It met my limited needs well, and 2) It involved a one-time fee rather than a recurring subscription fee.

    From what Lee and others have said here, am I correct to believe that the PHPurchase shopping cart currently on my site will continue to work as it is now without me having to pay a recurring fee?

    And in which case will that be true: By not joining Cart66 (doing nothing)? Or by joining Cart 66? Or does it make any difference?

    Many thanks, Richard

    • @Richard: You are correct, you site will keep working as it does now and you do not need to do anything. The recurring fee part is just for the membership to Cart66 which provides you access to our members area, support tickets, support forums, etc.

      • Thanks, Lee. That’s good news.

        One more question:

        If I want to keep using my shopping cart on my own site as I have been without incurring any additional charges (and that is what I want to do), should I do nothing regarding Cart66? Or should I take advantage of the free one-year Cart66 membership to obtain support for the next year? Would taking advantage of the one-year free Cart66 membership in any way endanger my continued usage of PHPurchase as I’m using it now and with it already paid for?

        In other words, if I joined Cart66 right now (without charge because I’m an existing PHPurchase owner) to take advantage of the free one-year support, would I then be obligated at the end of the year to pay a new subscription fee to Cart66 in order to continue using PHPurchase?

        Many thanks, Richard

        • Hi Richard. No matter what you do, you can use PHPurchase forever without having to pay in more money.

          If I were you, I would create a free Cart66 membership using your PHPurchase order number. Then you can look around the members area, get support, etc. We are actively working on themes and stuff that will be available in the members area too. Plus, if nothing else, you can see what Cart66 can do because it powers the members area. Then, after your free year expires, all that means is you won’t be able to access the members area and file support tickets. The plugin will keep working just like it does now – including auto-upgrades through your WordPress admin plugins panel.

  30. Lee

    When I log in to Cart66 I get a download option for PHPurchase as well as the Cart66 plugin. What’s that for? Can I use either or am I supposed to use both? Is PHPurchase still relevant?

    • Dante – Lee has been focusing on the release of Lite for the last two weeks. One of our other developers, Andre, is working on the porting script. I don’t have an ETA, but I’m hoping to get an update from Andre this week on where it stands.

      • I’m doing some final testing on the script right now. Currently it is able to import:

        – Non-subscription products
        – Settings
        – Tax Rates
        – Shipping Settings
        – Promotions

        It also has a script to automatically replace the PHPurchase add to cart buttons and gateway shortcodes with the Cart66 syntax.

        With a little bit more testing I am going to release it as BETA and you are free to use it. I highly recommend backing up the database on the site you wish to use it on before running the importer. As a safety measure, we only copy data from PHPurchase into Cart66 so if something gets messed up you can just delete Cart66 and reinstall and try again.

        Realizing this has taken a while and many PHPurchase customers are anxious to get access to it we have decided to release it in BETA to allow you to get access the importer and provide any bug reports to help us tweak it on the fly. I plan to finish testing and release the beta by Friday 4/8.

  31. A quick update to let everyone know that buying a Cart66 license no longer includes a recurring payment subscription. Now it’s just 1 payment for 1 year of support and free upgrades for life for all Cart66 1.x releases. The ability to sell single payment membership products is also now a built in feature for Cart66 1.1.

  32. I came across this forum and I am new to Cart66, however I have used shopp and WP eCommerce. Neither were user friendly and pretty buggy. I had a client that wanted an eCommerce plugin on there costume WordPress site and they wanted it in two days. Because of how easy it was to implement Cart66 Helped me to make that deadline. I am already working on a few more sites where I will use this cart. I just wish I would of found it sooner.
    Thank You Lee for a great Plugin. It really saved my butt.

  33. A subscription based model for this type of product is totally acceptable. Is the issue that it auto renewed? then give buyers the option to auto renew or pay manually each year.

    If developers are not happy with it then pass the cost onto your clients. Its that simple. From a client’s perspective, given the functionality of a shopping cart and the essentials it provides a business its worth the cost…if you’re not making at least $90/year from your online store then you probably shouldn’t have it up anyway. $90/year is a drop in the bucket compared to other shopping carts.

    I am assuming PHPurchase was cheaper and that is why everyone is peeing their pants.

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