What do Knock off WooThemes Extensions Really Cost Y-O-U?
We had this discussion a few years ago in an Advanced Group. Back in the day, on Fridays, I’d go through wp.org/plugins/browse/new/ and look at all the plugins. One day I noticed one from this “gang”. The “gang” had knock off WooTheme’s Extensions and they had uploaded one of them into the plugin section with TONS AND TONS of links back to their site advertising all of their “other” knock off WooTheme’s Extensions.
Now this was over a year before WooThemes was owned by Automattic. And in the Facebook post (that’s been deleted), a guy named George with JetPack absolutely publicly reamed my a$$ because he thought I didn’t conceptually understand GPL. Instead of answering, “Should this ‘gang’ have their plugin freely hosted on WordPress.org?” he went into an ‘offshoot’ of GPL. I had just simply asked if the Gang’s plugin should really be freely hosted in the .org plugins. George fully proceeded to drop huge F-bombs and demonstrate some really weird “keyboard courage” that he didn’t dare repeat to my face at loopconf.io where I gracefully (obnoxiously) smiled and said “Hi George!”
But George is NOT the point here! You’ll find this question / topic / debate come up hundreds of times in Advanced WooCommerce, Advanced WordPress, WooCommerce Marketing, WordPress Help and Share, and all over the innerwebs. Again, the point here is not George. Even though he wanted to ‘report me for defamation of character’ and some other weird stuff, I want you to look much deeper. Look at his passion. Look at other people’s passion for GPL. You’ll find the passionate purist GPL people pop up from time to time all over the innerwebs in blogs, Facebook groups, chats, and anywhere else. So, let’s tackle a few of the issues real quick. And then we’ll move on to ‘why’ you shouldn’t use the knock offs.
Is it Legal? YES! Let’s just make that clear and get it out of the way. But some folk, like George, are very passionate and proud of the open source license. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s going to happen. Regardless of how their personal character actually handles their passion about open source, let’s look at those actual sites for a minute….
The real problem with those knock off WooTheme’s Extension sites is that you WILL
wind up paying more. You’ll wind up paying more in both time …and MONEY!
Let me show you in a quick example:
Suppose you want Storefront Designer. It’s $39 from WooTheme, but you find it for only $10 on another site. Seems like a great deal, right?
Now, look at the official Storefront Designer changelog again. See where it was updated on August 13th? Now imagine that you’re sitting there with your site wondering why the headers and menu layout is all jacked up. You’re googling solutions, posting in Facebook groups, and racking your brain trying to figure out what is going on with your WooCommerce site.
Now, so far, you’ve saved a whopping $30 by purchasing Storefront Designer from the knock off site, right? And finally you realize that your woes, stresses, and troubles are all happening because your plugin isn’t updated. Still convinced that it wasn’t worth the extra $30 to buy the real one? Was all the stress, lost sales, googling, lost sales, broken header, lost sales, and lost time worth it? Remember: you could have spent all that time doing something else. But, you’ve found the problem / bug with your WooCommerce site. Ok, great.
So now you run back over to the ‘fake’ site because you’ve got to buy the updated plugin !again! (at the low, Low, LOW price of only $10) Now your cost of the plugin has gone to $20 (remember, the real Storefront Designer was only $39). But, hey, you’ve saved a whopping nineteen bucks at this point ~ rock on right?
Remember those updates that keep the plugin working nicely with other themes and plugins? Well (back over to the changelog) you’re going to have to do it again (after you figure out what’s wrong with your site) in December (at the low, Low, LOW price of only $10)
Now you’ve paid an additional $10 and your cost of Storefront Designer is up to $30! (again, the real one was only $39!) At this point, you’re probably starting to see where I’m going with this. All your frustration, lost sales, headache, and stress is because you chose to buy the WooTheme’s Extension from that knock off site.
I want you to know that my problem isn’t against people like George who seem to be passionate absolute ‘purists’ with the GPL license. My argument against the knock off WooThemes Extensions is actually about Y-O-U! Yes, you: The End User!
No really, I’m doing you a favor!
Stop using those sites! It’s going to cost you MORE than you know! It really is! It’s not about the GPL. It’s not about some ‘hidden malicious code’ that might be in those plugins. It doesn’t matter how passionate you are about ‘defending the GPL’. Even if you join the knock off site’s club, it’s still not going to work. They do not give you a notification about updates. They lock-you-in to their monthly club! So you’ll be paying $10 a month. If you bought the plugin (or theme) from WooThemes, you’d have paid $39. And that $39 license is good for a full year (12 months). Even with a ‘club’ membership, to get the same updates, you’ll have to pay ($10 a month times 12 months) $120!
And, in the end, you’ve paid much more than the original plugin. Oh, and did I mention that you’ll never know when there’s an update and you’ll be losing sales the whole time? I did? Ok. Good!
Again, it really all comes down to YOU. It’s all about the PEOPLE who use WooCommerce! Please just use authentic WooCommerce Extensions.
( oh, and those knock off WooThemes plugins that were being freely distributed on wp.org/plugins? Yeah, I got ’em removed. Even amidst all the name calling and drama from folks, it was ~INDEED~ the right call, and they were removed)