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WooCommerce Turns 1 Year Old

In celebration of their 1 year anniversary for WooCommerce, WooThemes announced today:

  1. They will have a new website.
  2. They will be managing members and orders using WooCommerce.
  3. They are changing WooCommerce Extension License agreements to only be valid per site (every site/domain requires a separate extension purchase from now on).

The first 2 items are great, congratulations to WooThemes on a great product in WooCommerce.

WooCommerce Extension License Agreement Change is a Game Changer for Many Web Developers

The 3rd item, changing WooCommerce Extension License agreements to only be valid per site, is a game changer in a negative way for for the business model of many Web Designers who incorporate WooCommerce into websites for their customers.

We lead off all ecommerce websites with using WooCommerce. Each ecommerce website tends to require about 7 to 10 or so WooCommerce extensions to get the functionality that we require for our customers.

This new licensing model for WooCommerce extensions where you need to pay for each extension and for each website you use it on is going to quench many opportunities to use WooCommerce on new client websites due to the significant per website cost involved.

Actual Increase In Cost

Most WooCommerce extensions cost about $35. Even if you get a discount from Woo (30% discounts tend to be available frequently), if you use on average about 7 to 10 WooCommerce extensions on an ecommerce website, then your hard costs suddenly rose by about $175-$250 per website (assuming about a 30% discount)….likely effectively knocking you out of bid contention on many smaller websites (10 pages or less).

This new business model for extensions is familiar since it is the way that CodeCanyon/Envato handles licenses for plugin purchases from their 3rd party plugin developers (which tend to be a lot cheaper per plugin). Which in our opinion still tends to be cost prohibitive in many instances (you have to really be sure a particular plugin is necessary before shelling out the required cost per plugin per site). This type of licensing also adds to the accounting and tracking when building websites.

We surely hope that Woo will reconsider this new policy. If they need to charge more for Premium Support or figure out another way to make their business model more cost effective then so be it.

The one good thing is that Woo says that they will grandfather in all prior WooCommerce extension purchases, meaning that if you purchased a WooCommerce extension prior to October 1st 2012 then you can use that extension on as many websites as you want for one purchase price (effectively a Developer License).

That helps a lot since not only do we pay $240 per year to be a member of the WooThemes Developer Club, and we have purchased over 35 WooCommerce extensions so far (several hundred dollars worth)…but inevitably we’ll need more extensions as the product line matures and our customer needs increase, meaning our hard costs per site are going to go way up. Not good.

Further Info – Tiered Pricing

After reading the comments on the Woo blog, Woo is planning on rolling out yet-to-be-announced tiered pricing for extensions.

The tiered pricing will offer a premium price for WooCommerce extensions for a Developer license with unlimited use, extension upgrades, and support.

Without an active license for any particular WooCommerce extension, support and upgrades for that extension will not be available.

@CoenJacobs: “We will not limit the usage, but limit the support and updates. We can’t even limit the usage, if we wanted to.”

So bottom line is I suppose we need to wait and see what kind of pricing we’re talking about for the Developer licenses as to whether this is going to hurt us as Web Developers or not.


P.S. – For those interested in the discount mentioned that is offered by Woo, go here for a 30% discount on WooCommerce Extensions or Woo Themes (limited time offer).