UPDATE: I have recently started having issues with WooGang and some plugins coming through “dirty”. I know that some folk in the comments below have been having similar problems as well. With this in mind, I cannot recommend WooGang. I have left this post up as it has become popular. Any other recommendations? Please share in the comments section.
If you have spent any time with clients’ WordPress sites you will be familiar with premium plugins. All the crazy requests; add this functionally, I want my check out to do that and the like.
You know to manually code these requests will cost more than a plugin and the search begins.
Most plugins on the market can be found free on WordPress and although they work, many are still lite versions or require more than one to get the desired result.
Premium plugins on the other hand vary in price from a few dollars through hundreds for some of WooCommerce’s plugins.
The funny thing about all of this is that WordPress is an open-source community and many of these costly plugins are in fact GPL (General Public License). This also includes themes.
If you are not familiar with GPL here is a simple breakdown from Wikipedia:
The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or GPL) is the most widely used free software license, which guarantees end users (individuals, organizations, companies) the freedoms to run, study, share (copy), and modify the software. Software that allows these rights is called free software and, if the software is copylefted, requires those rights to be retained. The GPL demands both. The license was originally written by Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the GNU project.
In other words, the GPL grants the recipients of a computer program the rights of the Free Software Definition and uses copyleft to ensure the freedoms are preserved whenever the work is distributed, even when the work is changed or added to. The GPL is a copyleft license, which means that derived works can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD licenses and the MIT License are the standard examples. GPL was the first copyleft license for general use.
In short, if it is GPL, in theory, you can use, copy, share and do pretty much whatever you like with it, without any worries about getting your ass sued.
So my next question is:
So What the Heck am I Paying For?
This really gets my blood boiling. It’s almost like a master trick plan to make you pay for something that is meant to be available free of charge. I have often paid a premium price for some plugins from the good guys at WooThemes only to unzip the pack to see a BIG FAT GPL notice. Fuck!
A quick search online and the usual defensive stance is that you are paying for updates. To purchase the open-source code with “x” period of support and updates. The price you are paying is in fact not for the GPL plugin but rather a “right’ to receive updates and in case you require; support from the plugin developers.
Now, I am PRO getting paid for one’s time, however; this is simply taking the piss. For anyone who is not familiar with GPL, this may be like water off a duck’s back, but it feels like a bit of trickery to me.
WooGang- Da Real MVP
In comes the lads from WooGang. Bringing you guilt-free savings since like, forever. Yes, I too purchased from them and to be totally honest with you, was scared shitless. After some research about them and consequently, GPL licensing; I quickly realised that not only should I not feel guilty, these lads are doing us all a favour.
Ok, so, they charge a small fee. Let’s call this nominal as in most cases their services have saved me thousands of dollars on paying for “support & updates” that in most cases I simply don’t need.
Moreover, for a small monthly fee of $15 ongoing, you can keep all your plugins up to date with the latest versions. Now that’s a bargain for most of you out there building multiple sites a month.
How do They Get Away with It?
GPL. GPL. GPL. In theory, once one person has paid the price to get a plugin that is licensed under GPL, you can then on-sell that exact same plugin for a smaller fee to whomever you want. This could also be provided free of charge if you are so inclined. I am far happier paying WooGang their small $10 fee for the exact same plugin found on WooThemes for over $100.
Keep It Real.
Everyone is trying to make a buck to support themselves and or their families. This is normal. I am not against this whatsoever. I am against charging exuberant prices for plugins that should not cost that much. WooGang would not exist today if it weren’t due to the pricing charged by the likes of WooThemes.
Want it to stop, simple, drop the pricing. Even on CodeCanyon (Envato Market), prices are reasonable, support is provided, and everything is transparent.
To wrap it up, support WooGang. No doubt they are in it for the money, however; their pricing is fair, they offer the updates free for a monthly subscription and at the end of the day, we are sort of keeping GPL a little more GPL.
Any comments or insights into GPL or your thoughts and experiences with WooGang- please share.