Continuing the conversation, ideally what would the $100/yr get you as a user?
It seems, socially, much of this split in communities - and creation of a fork - boils down to having more democratic control of the project itself. That places high value on a members vote. I would put that at the top of the list and make sure it can not be altered. E.g. One member one vote. Always. If a larger business wants to join each employee is a member - For the same price as everyone else. No Platinum, Gold, Silver tiers etc. No paid for Thought Leaders. Sorry, that last one is a peeve.
Other than that email support compared to forum support for non-paying members would be fine with me.
That should allow you to keep it simple and Open Source across the board. Not sure it works in reality as I have not done any math. The 100 per year I pulled out of my … basic gut feeling that is about where I start to raise my eyebrows at price vs value.
I agree with the concept that we can’t give preferential treatment to larger sponsors when it comes to voting; it’s how other open source projects have fallen prey to manipulative tactics. I think it would be hard to police, though. If I’m working for a (big box) company who’s a sponsor but I’ve also got a side gig company of my own, what’s stopping me from voting as a member of my own company, but voting according to what I know the (big box) company wants me to do?
Another perspective: the individuals within the company each may have their own opinion, and it may or may not align with the company’s overall POV… their opinions shouldn’t be muted just because they work for said company; and definitely shouldn’t be muted if they disagree.
I’m pointing both of these things out just as conversation points – these are two illustrations of how complex this gets, very quickly.
So – $100/year – would that be per installation? I’ve got 30+ live sites I’m managing right now and probably another 18+ dev installations.
But one vote…
But if each of my business owners joined the forum and paid $100 they would each get a vote.
Here we go down the rabbit hole again.
I would love to hear some feedback on this. Obviously ClassicPress needs funds to operate. We want to support our developers who are working so hard. We also want to get the word out; we can’t do that effectively without some paid marketing; which others have pointed out (and there have been a few heated conversations over) but we can’t do paid marketing without $$… and so we circle around the drain again.
Personally, I am already donating financially on a monthly basis to support ClassicPress; this is in addition to the time and effort I happily give. I want to see this succeed, and this is my way of doing what I can to contribute.
Thanks for continuing the conversation.
I think doing some polling from different segments would give a lot of clarity in the direction of monetization/livelihood:
Segments (may be more, I’m just winging it):
- Users - current, “on-the-fence” folks, “hell no” folks
- Devs - Plugin authors, theme devs, etc
I think a few, well thought out polls would help.
For example, on the user segment:
- Needs assessment - What does end users want? What do they absolutely need? What would make them switch? etc
- What’s the market willing to pay…and for what? Once new features begin to get introduced, plugin authors start creating more assets, adaptation becomes more widespread, value of CP goes up. I personally think a free version should exist and a premium version should exist. The free version could be with limited features, while the premium has much more and at a price point that makes it a no-brainer for business-owners. WP-type price points range in the $100-$200/yr from what I’ve seen.
This I don’t know yet. Just off the cuff, I would want to know that my $x is going to someone that is actively working/maintaining/improving a product, and will be there if I need some help making something work.
Obv more thought needs to go into this, but the gist is defining the direction while making money. Yes, democracy, rainbows and unicorns are cool, but things happen when there’s incentive.
I think hobbling the CP core will create a barrier to entry and will slow the adoption of CP. The project would be better off creating some premium plugins, maybe even premium core plugins, to generate some cashflow. These would be targeted at larger sites making it easy for startups to get started with CP and add functionality as they grow.
the free system you have now can be manipulated. charitable orgs can also be heavily influenced by large donors. if you charge the same per member at least you have made it harder on large orgs to manipulate the system. add in real transparency and imo you have an OK system. not perfect, as no system is, but likely serviceable.
i think a more important flaw in my proposal would be that a large org only pays for one member to get access to premium support on a large number of sites. so it might work better to have people pay some number per year to be a voting member and then offer support at various levels as an up charge.
This is really good feedback, but paying for opportunity to vote: really don’t like the sound of that
I support a business model for the project, but, I’m hoping it’s not a replacement for donations. I don’t have a use for a support plan, but, I do make yearly donations to a variety of organizations.
I agree, this sounds too much like buying influence which is what has the appearance of having happened to WP. The important thing is to make sure it is CP users/stakeholders voting.
You ARE paying to get to vote. That is my point. Your vote has value and CP should charge for it as a member owned and controlled cooperative. I think it is easier to sustain than a charitable org, and a better match for a B2B CMS. Just my .02.
Paying money to vote is an ANTI-democratic way of qualifying stakeholders, and I hope we never go that way. I would rather see ‘contribution’ be a qualifier, and that could be as simple as registering and participating in a discussion here on the forums, perhaps. Pretty sure money is not the only way of providing or measuring value (and I’m a capitalist).
I’ve been working with WordPress since it came out and as much as dislike Gutencrap, it’s what my clients want. Most of the time it’s because there is a plug-in that exists for WordPress that meets their needs. WordPress has such a huge repository of plug-ins, you can typically find one for anything you need.
If I told my clients I’m going to be using ClassicPress, they would say what’s that and is the plug-in I want available for it.
So, I want this to succeed but I can’t risk my business moving to it until there is a much larger following.
For that reason, I’ve taken a wait and see approach. If I suddenly see it gaining momentum within the developer community, I’ll jump in with both feet.
In addition, if you start charging for this, then it’s doomed. It needs to be monetized in other ways.
I agree with this point. It’s one thing to accept donations in support of a project, another to outright charge for the privilege of using it.
I completely agree, that being said I do like “upgraded” support - but not charging for anything else.
Monetisation should come in the form of “Premium Services” i.e. Cloud hosting, premium plugins and themes, email support by “happy engineers”.
If we have to pay for the privilege to vote then I’m out, I’d be happy to shelf my planned projects than participate in undemocratic processes!
I have clearly confused a bunch of people. Sorry. I’ll wrap up my input below:
@raygulick Explicit and implicit rules for gaining/maintaining citizenship in a democracy are not new. E.g. Not being a felon supposes paying your taxes. I think you are viewing this as a public utility and I see (at least part of) it as a private service. I think we could both be right.
@azimpact @BlueSkyPhoenix I am not saying to charge for CP. It’s Open Source. None of that changes with what I proposed. You simply charge to be a voting member in order to fund the org and ensure members have equal voice. Could be just to vote on who gets to run the org/sit on the board, as in typical coops. Could also be the right to vote on dev priorities, which would make it closer to a direct rather than representative democracy. Really not sure if that has been tried as a coop in this context.
Hope my input has helped. I sense the direction this is taking, and hope it works out. Just don’t have time right now to get into the inner workings of another startup. Cheers!
Maybe free for do-it-yourselfers but premium for people who want managed support? That might appeal to wordpress.com bloggers who don’t like Gutenberg but are scared of self-hosting.
@cglusky paying to vote is not democracy. What happens if I don’t have the money to support? If votes are paid only a certain group of people will direct the project. This will end up with big entities trying to hack the project.
Instead I think offering a “plus” of aggregated services (adding value to the CMS) is the way to go.
For example custom plugin/theme development, technical assistance given from a vetted group of professionals on the job board, our own hosting/domain service… All of this revenue could be split in two. A part to ClassicPress and a part to the pro issuing the service itself.