Our plans for the marketplace...
Some thoughts for your consideration ...
There will be a shopping cart, you will be able to put stuff from many different folk in your cart, and purchase with just one credit card transaction. As a developer, you will get a balance in an account here on the c5 site. You can cash that out via paypal (helps with international issues), or you can use that balance to buy other stuff (themes, merch, block you might want, etc) without putting more money in. Every transaction you make on our site, we're going to take a 25% fee from. 5% of that fee is going to go to a charity you can choose in your profile. You'll be able to see from your profile how much money you've donated to your favorite cause. We aknowledge that 25% is a big number, but- art galleries typically take 50%. I can't understand dotNetNuke's T&C very well, but it reads like they're taking on average 25%. More to the point, we need to make some money eventually and we see this passive revenue angle as much better for both us and you than if we were to take advantage of all the consulting gigs we're being offered. If we can generate enough revenue to pay our bills through runnign the marketplace, then it makes sense for us to spend all our time improving the marketplace, the c5 core, and answering forum questions and the like. If we have to continue to sell our time, y'all are gonna get less and less of it. ;) If the numbers above don't sit right with you, I encourage you to post here and get the debate going now. Transparancy is good.
Oh, paypal's fees are coming out of your payout as well, so it makes sense to wait until you have a balance you'd really like to use - and leave the money in the site if you plan on buying stuff..
Now that that ugliness is out of the way...
We want to keep the license structure around the end sites people get as simple as possible. Even today when you put c5 intohttp://fossology.org/ you get a suprising number of sub-licenses around some of the plugins we're using like TinyMCE. We like the simplicty of the MIT license, if you're going to make something free, just make it free, but making it easy for everyone to sell stuff but also easy for clients to buy stuff is a head scratcher.
We're thinking a block, app, or even theme on c5 should be offered under 3 potential license structures.
o... FREE. Using either the MIT or creative Commons 3 license (the cc3 flavor where you have to leave a link in it)
o... Per Install. "domain" is probably the wrong word as many sites have pointers and some people use one c5 install to run multiple sites. we think people should be able to buy a block for their "instance" or "install".
o... Per developer. If you build forums for new clients every week, you're going to get frustrated with Per Install license. This is a bulk license type deal for the specific developer/business purchasing. Buy once, use many.
As someone posting something to sell on our site, you would have to choose 1, but could chose many of these. Each would get it's own downloadable file, so you could have a free version of your theme with a link to your portfolio in it, and a non-branded one for a fee.
We need to choose licenses for the Per Install and Per Developer. I'd like to pick something that has already been written both to save money and also to make it easier for everyone to know what they're getting into at a glance..
We're also going to spend some real time around flags/badges for these things. This will probably emerge over time as the library grows, but is paramount in our mind. Does this block with with that block? Is this theme ie6 friendly? You'll be able to search by this stuff, and we'll be able to group things into friendly sets easily...
Does this all make sense?
There's obviously a lot more under the hood we're talking about here that I didn't fit into this post, but the stuff above is happening next week so now's the time for feedback.
Either way is fine, but I think the per server deployment is the way to go, $55 for a site or $55 for a deployment that may be hosting 10 sites, or a $55 + 15 honor system per separately deployed install on a different server.
In terms of pricing, just to be 100% clear, c5 will always remain free. We're talking about add-ons: specifically Blocks, Themes, and Apps. (Apps are simply a collection of blocks and page types with a theme attached and are needed for things like this forum.)
I'm thinking we'll run this marketplace somewhat like apple runs their iphone store, but a good deal more relaxed. If you want to simply give something away, I'm likely to let you post that without a lot of approval from our end. We'll do a quick check to make sure its not malicious, and up she goes. If you want to sell something, I expect you to tell me what you want to sell it for. Think of the c5 marketplace as a bazare, we run the whole place but each merchant is gonna be able to set their own price and be responsible for the support of their own product. I think for stuff that's going to be sold, we owe it to our audience to do some more detailed poking under the hood to make sure it's stable and follows the c5 aesthetic.
So you tell me. "Hey I wrote this sweet drop down menu mod to the auto-nav, I'm calling it atomic-nav and it does X,Y, and Z - I wanna sell it for $20".. We take a gander, post it up with a bunch of descriptive tags (no categories) and away you go. Someone buys it, you get $15, we get $5. I think those descriptive tags will be all sorts of useful search stuff like browsers it behaves on, type of app, rank from the community, and we'll also be 'packaging' stuff into c5 endorsed 'sets' that we know won't be destructive to one another. (This is one of the challenges Drupal has and thus Acquia - too open of a marketplace means your weather block uses the same tables as my commerce block by accident.)
In terms of the multi-use license; I think per server is hard. I've had a single c5 setup across multiple machines before, even if you have dual-processors, is that one "machine" or two? Too funky. What if it's a cloud?
I think per developer makes sense. Font's are sold that way. In my mind, that bulk license is really for the freelancer/small shop that says "hey, I'm gonna use this more than 10 times in the next year or two, lets save some cash by fronting these developers some money now."
The benefit to us (and c5 sellers) is a quicker payout against the time that has gone into developing the product. So doing some type of 'coffee card' model where after your 9th purchase it's free, misses the point. I dunno. I also dunno if 10 is the right number, or if that should be 3 or 5 or what.. I'm not sure we /need/ both anyway.
I guess you know I firmly believe less is more for everyone on this type of thing. I know we don't want to let people define their own license from scratch on our marketplace, because that sounds like a lot 'more' for the end site purchaser to have to deal with. I know we don't want to spend too much time building the backend for this, because I do realize it's totally subvertable anyway. Much like fonts - the rules will no doubt be bent if not broken at times.
I do think that three options (free, once, many) /feels/ right, just not sure on the wording.
So everything should be free, and everybody should be encouruaged to add within this for free. Of course people might have a free version and use this to promote a more featured payed version. But this should be up to them. Not a feature in the market place.
Of course you might say - we need some money... If you look at other sccessfull OSS products, this could be come through:
* payed support (why not offering this for a CMS?), with faster bug-fixing etc. for paying members
* custom work
a partner modell, where partner pay a small fee depending on partner level (maybe bronzce for free, silver and gold partner) and are encouraged to add to the above models.
a donate/sponsoring model, which could be not only a please-donate-to-help-C5, but although a you-need-this-feature model (e.g. the community shows interest in a xyz-feature. You estimate implementation cost $xxx - no let's go to the community and ask for donation and sponsors for this feature, when the money is there, you implement this feature and share it with the whole community
just my thoughts...
The revenue options you suggest certainly have come up, here's where we're at on them:
* Paid support - Something you should be able to buy, but not from my little team of half a dozen. If you have to pay to get help, and there's only a few of us to help, that's gonna get ugly fast. Moreover, I'm not jumping up and down to spend the rest of my time billing hours to other development shops.. We were actually quite effective at this with our own clients back when we sold our software.
* hosting. Yes. we do that.http://getconcrete5.com . we'll be doing an even better job of that before long taking some of the pain out of all the install discussion. Interesting that we're spending so much of our own time helping other people install it in our install forums now..
* templating.. so wait, you're saying if a developer spends their time writing a custom block, that's not worth anything. But if a designer spends their time making a skin, that is worth something?
* custom work. Yeah that's how we pay the bills today. lemmie be perfectly frank: i've got enough money in the bank to worry about c5 through January. If my team isn't worried about a billable project by then, we're not gonna make payroll. Whatever billable project we're worried about will mean that we're not on here writing emails like this, or doing multi-lingual support, or what have you. Certainly I think custom work is a huge part of the whole business cycle around a cms, but it's stuff I want you guys making money off of not us. There's a lot more of you.
I don't mean to sound grumpy, and maybe its just because I didn't sleep last night with the kids screaming every hour, but being told everything should just be free is a real turn off. I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on building c5. Even though we've only been open source for a few months I know of other developers who have spent dozens if not hundreds of hours building add-ons. Surely, all of that effort needs to be compensated in some fashion. If you're going to use c5 to do more than basic CMS, if there's some block that saves you days as a developer and lets you win a gig with your prospective client that you couldn't before, that's worth something.
moreover, if we don't figure out a way to position my little core crew to actually be worried about the core, the whole project will just fall apart.
We're just trying to architect a system where everyone can share in that reward.
This is actually quite a difficult situation.
I think if 90% of all the blocks wouldn't be free, there wouldn't be a community.. You can be quite sure, that whatever code I write will be available for free. That's part of the community.
As soon as everyone tries to get 20 dollars for a little job, it might destroy a lot. Please don't forget that!
Hey I'm not going to write about all the details here, that topic is already quite long ;-) Can't you make that forum a bit wider?..
all thing i can do is translate and test c5, its my hobby :) just4fun.
ifUcant traslate sorry4that :)
With the revolutionary c5 solution, the effective flow of c5's promoting, and Franzes verbal skills you can sell subscriptions all day. Although accounts types would be more fair and suitable for everyone c5 and it's community. single site or a developer's account. Many people will require just one single site, which of course is a great "upsell" but most of those people are likely to pop up here...
A developers accounts i imagine as a over friendly resellers account. Where a developer can intergrate c5 for an unlimited amount of sites. A formal license in cold and unusual!
I've been eagerly awaiting the Calendar module; it's the one thing that could turn c5 into a real community-collaboration platform for me. I check this morning and, yay! It's finally here!
Then I check the price: $55.00.
I'm sorry, frz. I know you're a private company and need a revenue stream. But I'm rolling out sites for nonprofits, as a volunteer. I can't ask them to shell out that kind of money. The ad server and gallery block are also things I could use effectively, but that would bring the total to $125.00.
There's no need to justify the decision to charge that kind of money--I'm sure you have your reasons, and I respect them. I just wanted to give you my honest feedback, and let you know that it's making at least one enthusiastic fan feel the need to look elsewhere.
c5 is elegant and beautiful, and I won't stop saying nice things about it. But it looks like I'm going to have to reluctantly spin out my sites in Drupal and/or WordPress.
I've seen a number of other (free) solutions to the calendar solution including embedding a google calendar. I think it probably comes down to how much of your own time you're willing to throw at something to make it work, vs. paying for an add-on from us that just works automagically.
You're right though. In all honesty, many hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone into giving concrete5 away for free. While I am passionate about making it easy for anyone to edit websites, I do not feel like we are offering crippleware here. Core concrete5 does an awful lot, and $55 buys an hour or two of anyone's time here at most. I'm sure eventually someone will use the form that has been on our marketplace since day one to submit THEIR calendar block to us and not want to sell it at all. I will happily add it to the marketplace and let it compete with ours, even if it is far better and we lose all our sales to it.
The simple fact of the matter is, you're right. We need to eat. We need a steady revenue stream that isn't entirely project focused so we CAN do things like make version update paths smoother and whatnot. I'm really eager to hear your suggestions on that.
If we are expressing ourselves honestly today, I guess I am realizing we have reached yet another milestone in our progress as an open source app with the release of 5.3.... no matter what we do, someone's outraged by it. awesome.
ps: I'm probably not trying to be quite as catty as this post reads. Just keepin' up the transparency that has served us well so far.. I love you, and your steam-punk smiley avatar.
The way I see it, I pay $55 for the calendar, have it setup within a few minutes, themed within another 30 minutes and I have just saved my client countless hours of work.
I am working for a non-profit site who has a small web budget. Giving them a fully functional calendar for less than two billable hours of my labor is a fantastic value.
It's natural to want to look to want to defend a non-profit's bank account, because you know they don't have much money. However, by knowing the real world expenses of their needs, they can budget, apply for grants and eventually carve out a small budget for keeping a fully functional and well featured website.
I presume you have sponsors but you need INVESTORS enabling you to develop the APPROPIATE commerce system from scratch. At the same time you establish a WAITING LIST for existing and upcoming online shops.
All non-profs have some sort of budget. Many are supported by local grants and some are lucky enough to have multiple grants and phalantropists (SP) that give them money.
Spread that over several of those projects and the paid for add-ons are paid for and you save hours of work.
Most nonprofits can, of course, come up with $55. But my challenge has been to sell them on committing to Concrete in the first place. I show them the great features, but they're still wary of going down some technological dark alley. My preference would have been to get them addicted to it--to start putting it to work right away. But a calendar was on that near side of core functionality.
Now, if I ask for them to shell out up front, it's a double leap of faith: one, that I know what I'm talking about, and two, that other expenditures won't be popping up all of a sudden. It's the latter that's a hard sell.
Software needs a certain core of capabilities to reach critical mass. It's a difficult balance to strike, I'm sure. Still cheering you guys on.
"The idea of free core with affordable add-ons is fine for a revenue stream, particularly since you guys have been reasonably transparent and open about administration of such things to date - but to me, a calendar should be part of core functionality."
I don't believe we ever said our calendar WOULD be free. So it's not like we got anyone hooked and then started charging for something..
Good Idea Franz!
$55-- psh I would gladly pay that for a calendar so I don't have to build one myself!
Plus the value of having a tool like C5 is priceless... (that would be a good commercial for C5 ;) ) I know I could never make something like it myself.
p.s. drupal sucks!
it costs $1000 and puts a picture of a gem on your website.
But what the heck. Try out this approach, then try out another. Godspeed!
i mean; guestbook, slideshow, survey, form builder, video, picture... throw in some navigations and that's the building blocks of the vast majority of websites. It's not like we're giving you some "fully functional" app that can't save a file till you register or something.
The fact that we're losing you over a calendar is really disappointing to me because I've seen you around here for a long time. That being said, we've already sold quite a few calendars and image galleries since launch - far more than i expected - and to be honest it feels like a tiny bright light at the end of what's basically been a 8 year trip through a long dark tunnel... soooo.... certainly expect us to give away add-ons we see as too small or obvious to eek a buck out of... but as far as my team goes - yeah, we're gonna actually start trying to make some money in the marketplace. if any one has beef with that, i'd strongly encourage them to check out the quality of drupal's marketplace. (quality, not quantity)
this whole conversation should be draped in the fact that the open source community has submitted less than half a dozen blocks for us to review over the entire length of the project, most of them from remo, and most of them posted to the old marketplace and in migration to the new.. (oh yeah, we're doing that on our dime too - i was just asked if we should push back on people to convert their own stuff and my answer was "of course not")
Not to beat a dead horse - but adding recurring events to calendar (something im somewhat embarrassed about not having) is going to have an approximate /cost/ to me of $4,000. That's something I'm going to say yes to as soon as I can afford it.. but this whole idea that "I chose open source because it was free" is .... .
..perhaps the wrong thing to be saying to me today. I am getting no stimulus money here.. there is no c5 grant - tho if someone wants to write one, I'm all ears. Frankly, I'm open to any revenue stream ideas..
I'm done responding to "it should be free cause I want it" posts tho. I guess this is just the karma I get for stealing all those MP3s. ;)
To be perfectly honest, I mostly bought the calendar just so I could read your code and see how you guys did a few things. I honestly think that was well worth the $55 dollars, if for nothing else than I now know how to add the tinyMCE editor to the stuff I make :)
Hope that's OK...
...oh, and drupal sucks.
It all boils down to providing something that saves 10s or nearly 100 hours of time developing, for the lowly sum of $55, why not? I know of a few guys that sit on non-profit boards and you should see their houses...just saying :) If you feel like you can't pass along $55 for a paid or "my labor is free gig" you should think about moving on. I would probably run.
I did write to Franz to see if there is a server license available instead of per site because we produce a lot of sites and I would rather not deal with the management of making sure we have a license for each site, but I definitely do not think $55 is too much to ask for this block.
Drupal? Implement that, and then look how much time you are donating to them on training them how to use the system.
Concrete5 is a stellar product, and 5.3 has really made a drastic step forward!
some points left to clarify i posted here
i'm really lookin forward for some answers and a clear submission structur for devs.