This week we’re publishing a series of interviews here at Alledia.com.
Every day this week we’ll be talking with a Joomla developer who works with a commercial GPL business model.
Our fourth interview of GPL week is with Achim Fischer from joomster.com
1) Could you explain a little about your Joomla product(s)?
joomster.com currently offers two Joomla! Extensions and some corresponding Modules. There are Marketplace Classified Ads and Primezilla Private Messaging. Both Extensions where born on my German Community Website www.italobikes.de (Yes, I love italian motorcycles). There are already plans for more Joomla! Extensions.
2) What subscription packages do you offer currently?
There is a 6 month subscription package (currently 60 Euro) and a 12 month subscription package (currently 90 Euros)
3) What extras do you offer to people who subscribe?
Sponsors get all my newest extensions and modules during this subscription period and have access to the support forum. In the support forum I answer questions about installing or running my software. If needed I give advice how to change the code to customize it to the sponsor’s needs. Feature requests and bugs are also handled in the support forum.
4) You started on the subscription model before the recent decision by the Joomla core. Why did you decide to offer subscriptions instead of selling your product?
Good question. I haven’t thought very long about this. I simply liked the idea that people who sponsor the development by subscription, get my full attention. The feedback of my sponsors makes me think that this idea was the right one.
5) How did you handle the introduction of subscriptions? Were people willing to subscribe or did you need to educate people about the benefits?
The plan to change joomster.com into a subscription based website was announced a few month before the switch. There where special offers for users who have already donated money before. People are always informed about the benefits of a subscription on joomster.com. Emails regarding the subscription are answered daily.
6) Do you mind us asking about the level of subscriptions? How many of your users subscribe?
During the first year the development was sponsored by donations. Well, that absolutely didn’t work.? My expectations haven’t been high when I switched to the subscription model. I was (and still am) very suprised how many users subscribe and how positive the feedback is. This works much better than I have thought before.
7) Do you think that now or in the future it will be possible for you to make a full-time living from a GPL business model?
I would say, yes. Currently I am doing the Joomla! development in my (rare) spare time. If I decide to make self-employed CMS development to my fulltime-job I would add another (JAVA-based) CMS into my portfolio to have 2 horses in the race.
8) Do you have any other thoughts or advice about Joomla moving to the GPL?
I am not following the discussion about the GPL in the Joomla forums very closely. It’s rather complicated to make it right for all. My opinion is, that 3rd party developers should be allowed to create and sell commercial extensions. I am sure this would help both – Joomla! (more good extensions) and the developers (to make their living from extension development)