Our plans for the marketplace...

we're working on a marketplace where developers can sell/give stuff away.

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?
Any questions/concerns?
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.

View Replies:
ScottC replied on at Permalink Reply
Is the code going to be zend compiled or have some sort of callback upon install back to your server (Kind of like the RSS feed in the dashboard, you can track where it is installed that way) or is this just an honor system?

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.
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
I dunno how you guys feel about it, but I'm thinking honor system. I mean how much energy do we all want to put in copy protection against our selves? How useful can it really be when we are all capable engineers who know how to get around such things... Moreover, if we're all building and selling add-on's we're kinda shooting ourselves in the foot to not follow the license. I'm sure it will happen, but what goes around comes around.

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.
macmac replied on at Permalink Reply
Personaly I do not like an idea of a pay model in the marketplace. It always distracts me from working with an opensource product, when this money making jumps too directly into my face (e.g. that's what I do not like about Webgui - the only think I remember from them, that most of the add-ons are not free).

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
* hosting
* templating
* 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...
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
I dunno man. I think we're describing something that's pretty fair to everyone. If we had wanted to go down that path we would have used a license model where you HAVE to contribute your code back to the core codebase. We went with MIT specifically because we did want people to see there was value in spending their time adding to the project. If everything is free, why bother?

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.
Remo replied on at Permalink Reply
I understand both of you guys..

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?..
DreamCast replied on at Permalink Reply
idlike to by some stuff from marketplace but i cant do that, i dont have paypal acc, visa or dollars acc at bank. to do that i need to spent alotoff time.
all thing i can do is translate and test c5, its my hobby :) just4fun.
ifUcant traslate sorry4that :)
jincmd replied on at Permalink Reply
interesting arguements but being that the last post was in november i'm assuming the c5 crew pulled a in couple big ones and perhaps we won't need to give this much mind anymore=)
jincmd replied on at Permalink Reply
Limitations are no fun and i thnk we all want to stay turned on for whats mutually beneficiary.
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!
jincmd replied on at Permalink Reply
or 5.2?
any estimates?
Jsn replied on at Permalink Reply
...but the new pricing in the marketplace is losing me.

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.
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
I'd hate to see you give your customers a more painful editing experience over the price of an add-on, but I certainly understand a budget is a budget.

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.

jereme replied on at Permalink Reply
I charge in the neighborhood of $50 to $70 per hour depending on if the client is a friend, non-profit, in need or a successful company that should pay full price.

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.
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
how much more time are they gonna end up spending trying to figure out drupal anyway?

jincmd replied on at Permalink Reply
frz you're a powerhouse. I am tired of these conventions. c5 brings the nature of CMS to new grounds. Frz I can't see how you have the courtesy or time to sit and rreply these long ass explanations to those like myself, concerned with money. I understand your setting the stage for the sale, but I believe c5 is a goldmine waiting to abrupt.
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.
bcarone replied on at Permalink Reply
I agree with Jereme and Frz.

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.
Jsn replied on at Permalink Reply
...Drupal is one dreary slog. No argument here. And you know I'm a c5 fan, so let me make one last point.

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.
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
So basically what i'm taking from this is:

"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..
bryanlewis replied on at Permalink Reply
I think the way Franz is wanting to set things up will work great and it will be fair to everyone!

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!
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
we'll be releasing an add-on called "im rich"

it costs $1000 and puts a picture of a gem on your website.
Jsn replied on at Permalink Reply
I'm sure you don't mean to deride me for giving you honest feedback. And yes, Franz: I AM saying that you might be better served by integrating a few distinctive, cool capabilities like calendar, so people can grok immediately how it can solve community-oriented problems right away, out of the box. The "amazingly cool interface" part sells me, but I'm not the ultimate consumer of the end result.

But what the heck. Try out this approach, then try out another. Godspeed!
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
i think this just comes down to calendar is part of your core needs and not mine.

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. ;)
hereNT replied on at Permalink Reply
"we've already sold quite a few calendars and image galleries since launch - far more than i expected"

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...
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
totally fine with me.
jincmd replied on at Permalink Reply
c5 for anyone non profit or not should not hold anyone back. It's natural for client chose to personally interact with his own content, rather then contact a PROVIDER for each update. Their non profit + Maintanence fees are a killer...they need c5!!!
jincmd replied on at Permalink Reply
just fix my site and make me rich=)
jgarcia replied on at Permalink Reply
So I know I'm the guy who in the e-commerce conversation (http://www.concrete5.org/community/forums/block_requests/ecommerce ) was griping about that fact that there's not a decent free e-commerce system out there BUT i just want to say (even if it's only to appease my own conscience) that the selling of add-on's like a calendar in the marketplace is more than justified. and actually $55 is quite cheap for it and if an organization (yes, even a non-profit) is not willing to put forth a little extra cash to get another piece of functionality...well, i guess that's their loss. if i was an organization investing in building a new site, i would be willing to pay much more than that just for the functionality of C5 itself...even if I had to work a little harder to find the funds.

...oh, and drupal sucks.
ScottC replied on at Permalink Reply
sorry but I have to personally weigh in. I know most companies/non-profits (sorry they all try to bring in money) have different goals, and many small business owners with s/c corps spend money like it is their own, even though legally and figuratively the money is provided by an independent entity that is hiring another independent entity (llc kids) to provide a service.

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.
nolmscheid replied on at Permalink Reply
and donate to the non profit and write it off!

It's $55!

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!
wizardontherun replied on at Permalink Reply
couldnt read the whole thing in 10 mins, but I believe that everyone need to make some funds.. If having a starting point for free is not enough, then write it yourself. and sell it..but if you cant then buy it a great price. and markit up... Thats what make the world go around.
mario replied on at Permalink Reply
Given that the core product is free and pretty standalone with many built-in features, I'm for paying for add-ins. Particularly if my company is making money and saving time off of the sites created for clients. If this is one of the things that it takes to keep the core Concrete open-source, I'm for it.
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
synlag replied on at Permalink Reply
i'm also willing to pay, no question.

some points left to clarify i posted here

i'm really lookin forward for some answers and a clear submission structur for devs.
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
saw that, we'll get on it.