No, seriously VaultPress, what’s the point? I must be missing something significant because I’ve been kind of scratching my head for the last day or so just thinking about your announcement where you shared that your plugin is now available on the WordPress.org repository.
Now, before you go and flame the living daylights out of me let me be clear on two things, to add a bit of flavor and context to this post:
- We have been swimming in DMs via Twitter and notifications through our Submit News button about this which means very clearly that many of you are confused about this. So, I’m clearly not alone.
- I am actually a really big fan of VaultPress and had, at one point, 10 active and paid accounts (see image below). I now have one active account and really like the service.
So this isn’t flowing with hatorade or anything like that, I’m genuinely wondering what the deal is.
So what exactly is the rub? What’s the issue that many of us are wondering about? It’s this: VaultPress is a premium and paid plugin that requires an account / access key / API key to actually use. Without that the plugin pretty much does nothing.
As one person stated in via our contact form: This pretty much puts an advertisement in your dashboard until you pay and signup.
Another contributor added his perspective as well:
It’s not usual to see plugins that are nothing more than just a shell – it seems odd coming from Automattic and it defeats the purpose of offering free open source plugins when all you have is a pay wall. It sets a precedence coming from them. The SAAS argument is poorly used here. Anything can be SAAS behind a paywall.
That wasn’t and shouldn’t be the normal use of the WordPress repo. Period!
I would prefer to see plugins that have some functionality and an API key for Pro Features versus an empty shell. Give the users an option.
I couldn’t state it better myself. Now, I get the one obvious value is the fact that you will get notified of updates to the plugin, but I’m just not sure if that’s enough to warrant plugin repo clearance.
Unless (and that is a big unless) there are some crazy scenarios that could come down the pipe. For example, I’ve thought of three that are at best very unlikely:
- Free Variation – VaultPress will soon be enabling a new “Free” tier to their service based on some variation of features. It would naturally provide an avenue for an upgrade later down the line. Probable? Maybe, but I doubt it.
- No Longer Premium – Perhaps they plan on giving this away entirely for free. Scale of 1 to 10 where 10 being “IT WILL HAPPEN” and 1 being “ARE YOU CRIMINALLY INSANE?!” I would say it’s probably… a 2. Maybe, a 1.5.
- Education – They plan on providing some educational content around the plugin to really give people an inside look as to how they built an premium / paid plugin and service and this will be a public place to access the code. Eh, highly unlikely (but could be really cool if they did).
And that’s all i could come up with.
So I pass this on to you (and the many people who submitted their thoughts to us privately) – is this right? Is this an abuse of access and power? Honest mistake?
We report, you decide.