the economy of wordpress plugins

January 23rd, 2013 Comments Off on the economy of wordpress plugins

there is a very interesting discussion going on about the emerging business landscape of wordpress plugins, between Evan Solomon and Pippin Williamson, and even Matt chimed in.

English: Matt Mullenweg during the conference ...

English: Matt Mullenweg during the conference WordCamp in San Francisco CA 5 August 2006 Français : Matt Mullenweg lors de la conférence WordCamp, à San Francisco, le 5 août 2006. Deutsch: Matt Mullenweg während der Konferenz WordCamp in San Francisco, USA am 5. August 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

they observe correctly, that plugins are becoming real businesses, however they feel that it’s not as serious as the themes business, nor that it ever will be.

while this is probably true if you consider only ‘custom plugin development’ and ‘premium plugin’ models, however there is another significant business model that emerged in the last years, that they are ignoring here.

for us at Zemanta, wordpress plugin has always been a core driver of adoption, and we’ve built a real business around it. but our business is actually software-as-a-service offering built on top of the plugin, rather than the plugin itself. the plugin is essentially a delivery mechanism, that is very efficient because most publishers are using a modular CMS, predominantly WordPress.org. but the real business value lies behind the scenes, in the cloud, where we can afford to process large amount of data.

I see business like ours grow tremendously over the past few years, and I see a lot of WordPress.org plugins being leveraged in this way – to deliver real value for the publishers, and enable diverse business models from utility, advertising and agency work, scale.

WordPress.org has built an impressive ecosystem, it’s tight integration of the CMS with the plugins directory enables SAAS models with almost frictionless infrastructure to customers (auto-updates, integrated discovery, security guidelines), but at the same time it’s sometimes limiting. it’d be great if WordPress.org was more aware of the needs of all constituents.

 

 

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