A couple of months ago I was talking with a colleague and I asked him what his view was on crowdfunding Prestashop modules. He thought it would end up being more trouble than it was worth, but I kept the idea in the back of my mind. Then last week one of my clients sent me a link to an Indigogo campaign about another company doing something similar.
Here is a link the the campaign that I am talking about, it is for a mobile app for Prestashop. Also here is a link to a discussion on the Prestashop forums with the developer if you would like to chime in. For the record, I did donate to this campaign and I would recommend that you consider donating as well. This could be the start of a new way of developing modules and features for Open Source Software.
Why do this?
Prestashop has a huge following, over 200,000 stores use Prestashop for their e-commerce. So the market for modules is definitely established. At the same time, with some modules being almost $300, it seems the idea could be feasible. I realize a lot of people do not know what development of a module costs, or even the support costs to maintain it, but being crowdfunded I think some popular paid modules could be made available to the masses for cheaper.
Plugins for Micropayments
I am going to run with some numbers on this part, this is how have imagined things in my head. Take two popular modules, the Amazon Market Place plugin which sells for around $259usd and the Google Merchant Center which sells for $125usd. These modules could benefit most shops, but the cost is out of the realm of possibility for some people. I think if a Linux / Walmart approach was taken, this could be something that worked. What do I mean by that? It is about quantity and using paid support. The Amazon Market Place module, I would estimate making it from scratch would cost around $6000-$8000 worth of time for development. That sounds like a lot, but if it was crowd funded, you are only talking about 1200 people giving $5. That should be a relatively low tipping point to having the module developed and made available to the community. Below is a breakdown of how I think it should work.
- Crowdfund the plugin development cost with a low buy in.
- Provide no support other than documentation, but have paid support packages, like Linux.
- State the version compatibility upfront, so there are no surprises.
- Charge more for people that were not in on the initial funding. (This will be talked about more below)
- Have a better larger community!
Above I mentioned charging more for people that were not in on the initial funding. By charging more, I would suggest doubling the price from say $5 to $10. This keeps the module cost lower than 99% of the modules on the market, plus it gives incentive to be one of the early funders of the plugin.
This is something now more than ever I am seriously considering trying to start. I would love to know from the Prestashop community a couple of things.
- What modules would you suggest?
- What do you think the funding price should be?
- How do you feel about low cost modules, but with paid support packages?
- Could this extend to themes?
- and anything else you can think of.
You can post your thoughts below on the comment section, or email me directly, but I would love to hear from the community on how you guys (and girls) would feel about this as a model to bring rich cheaper modules to Prestashop.
About the Author: Lesley Paone
Lesley has worked in e-commerce for over a decade, and is the founder of dh42. Starting out with PrestaShop and brancing out into other platforms like Shopify. He loves all things e-commerce and loves a challenge, in his spare time he helps moderate several forums on SEO, e-commerce, as well as the PrestaShop forum. If you have any questions for him about any of his articles just use our contact form to contact him.