EP2 – WPwatercooler – October 1 2012

On this episode of WPwatercooler, the panel delves into the complexities of theme licensing, discussing various models from one-time payments to recurring subscriptions. The conversation also explores the ethical considerations of reselling themes to clients and the value of providing comprehensive solutions rather than just code. Additionally, the panelists weigh in on the learning curve associated with different WordPress themes and frameworks. They highlight the importance of setting client expectations, especially when it comes to the difference between a theme’s demo and its actual appearance post-installation. Overall, the episode offers a multifaceted look at the challenges and considerations WordPress developers face when working with themes.

  • Twenty Twelve theme released to the repo – mixed feelings from all of the panel.
  • WordPress 3.5 beta 1
    • Overhaul of the media library
    • XMLRPC enabled – They did this to allow their mobile apps to work with WordPress installation without users having to enable it.
    • Comparing the changes to the new changes in the Facebook Images
      • We feel this is not finished yet, which is isn’t.
    • Links “blogroll” functionality removed.
    • Privacy settings moved
    • Press This
  • Jetpack Mobile Theme
    • Problems with Jetpack conflicting
  • Quality Control – webapp for WordPress
    • Customizing can be a pain with most webapps which makes it harder for the developer to recommend them to clients.
  • AppSumo – Great place to get deals for WordPress related stuff
  • InfiniteWP is the new hotness
    • A few of us host it on a webserver
    • Security questions regarding it
    • Jason had issues with Deny ALL, Allow specific IP
    • Most of us charge our clients to do maint agreements by leveraging InfiniteWP
  • Themes that suck –  Avada | Responsive Multi-Purpose Theme
  • Justin Tadlock brings the awesomeness – Unique: Customizable WordPress Magazine Theme
  • Bloated themes
    • The “plugin in a theme” makes things hard for a developer to work with
    • Making a newly installed theme look like the demo requires lots of work and confuses users
    • Documentation, Documentation, Documentation and Documentation!
    • Woothemes take work to make them look like the demo
    • ThemeForest take work to make them look like the demo
    • It shouldn’t take a consultant to make easy changes to a theme that should work “out of the box”
    • Not documenting the prerequisite plugins
  • Post Type Switcher doesn’t work with Press This.
  • You can download this show as an Audio Podcast in iTunes.


Episode Transcription

(62) EP1 – “WordPress Premium Theme pricing schemes” – WPwatercooler – September 24 2012 – YouTube

(00:07) um i wanted to quickly go through our introductions here and get everyone introduced um let’s start over on the left there with chris uh hi my name is chris lemma are we skipping jason yes we’re skipping me i’m jason tucker how are you doing in that case i’m john brown i’m lucy beer well you can just read my lower third i’ll read milo a third um my there i have a lower third now too and i’m saved read hi how did you skip three other people what do you mean i’m actually happy no wait look there’s suzette
(00:57) suzette’s in the middle somehow right she found that a second ago introduce yourselves who’s that so wait who left i thought we could only have nine you can have tana i think yeah he lost right suzette we can’t hear you okay because i wasn’t talking what you should worry about much more is getting a light that is not behind your head but in front of it yeah yeah that’ll be um for next time maybe that’s all right look like an interrogator like um so i guess i’m up i’m stephen p kane and
(01:47) i’m in a brown out in irvine as you can see there’s no lights it’s been great i hope you guys enjoyed the donuts i really enjoyed the panther wait are you really in a brownout what is that no i just don’t have a freaking light oh all right i’m so confused you know with the sarcasm who’s that other guy wasn’t me i’ve never seen him yeah i don’t know who that is is that really him or is he impersonating steve exactly i think he’s impersonating jeff i think it’s jeff impersonating steve
(02:21) hi everybody i’m steve jenkins zinger zinger nice dang it think it so um i brought everybody here together and i wanted to uh you know see what you guys are been up to and talk about some of the things that you’re you’ve been going you’ve had going on and uh you know what what type of work you’ve been doing anybody science uh it doesn’t matter what are you guys working on i can tell you that uh woo or woo themes announced today that by the end of next week i think uh they’re changing their licensing
(02:57) model uh for all the extensions for woocommerce so that literally instead of it being you buy the extension once you can use it on as many sites as you want it will soon be licensed uh where each extension is licensed for the number of sites that you you plan to use it on so you’ll buy a single license or a five pack but if you buy the extensions before the end of the week your grandfathered in with the unlimited kind of developer version so i spent most of my morning buying up every extension i thought i might ever
(03:34) well that’s a trip so i that’s a that’s a new trend that’s been going on lately with people uh you know these companies that are trying to get people to spend as much money as possible up front and then hopefully you’ll save later on with that it works for me yeah i know i don’t like it i don’t like their pricing like i don’t know quite how that single licensing ever really works in a gpl world but since it’s kind of voluntary adherence to it but um see how it goes i thought about buying up a bunch of
(04:10) plug-ins because i’ve never really worked with world commerce until literally yesterday um but i’m not going to be pretty buy a bunch of stuff dude what the hell did anyone else’s computer just totally turn off like no i thought you were doing a costume change yeah that’s a long beach thing she moved out i was totally engaged by what john was saying until someone decided to interrupt us go ahead john i know we were all rolling along on wordpress related stuff and now we’re back on seg can i see
(04:44) so it’s interesting how that model works i you know i had i had a hard time with with also with like wp um infinite wp is doing the same type of thing where you know they’re trying to yeah we just got that actually i just set it up and um i have all some of my sites on there already and we got all the extensions well that’s a better topic to talk about than woocommerce so how’s infinite wp working for you because i totally want to switch to that for managed wp yeah we’re switching from manage wp it
(05:17) just looks like the inner fight face isn’t as nice as manage wp um but it has a lot yeah it’s a little bit similar yeah i heard somewhere that it actually shares a bunch of code base like infinite wp whether with permission or just because it’s gps ripped out a whole bunch of the worker plug-in code and reused it yeah it’s very similar very similar features have you used the remote backup to amazon s3 and stuff like that i haven’t used that yet i just got everything set up and i’m going to try the backups
(05:59) because i’m not really happy with backup buddy yeah i never liked backup buddy either yeah it’s unreliable but that’s the key feature for me i’d switch to infinite wp if i knew that s3 would backups would work nice and reliably i got to get that set up this week yeah the the schedule backup sounds like a pretty pretty cool idea and also being able to you know to migrate and migrate a site from one to one to another um seems like a pretty good setup as well yeah i know they mentioned it at work
(06:28) camp la and they actually recommended not putting it on a server but since we have so many people accessing it i did put it on the server but i limit it to only a certain ip address and um i think that should be okay one of the greatest address so i can hack your account look brandon’s here brandon when did you show up one two three i think he’s just a picture of brandon no there’s look there’s so many of us now one two two left i’m besides me i mean no one you can have ten people oh the other thing that i was noticing on on um
(07:08) infinite wp is the whole code snippets thing which i’m not quite sure how someone would use that or how they would go about using that have you guys yeah that looks really interesting that’s something i want to dig into it let you run php uh let you run php code straight from the their interface there on to the remote site and you can save snippets and stuff and have it you know execute those so i guess you could like i don’t know maybe use that to like reset passwords or hack your own website or whatever because it
(07:39) you know at that point you’re you’re you’re able to access the site remotely and be able to access it from the back end with it already being authenticated and stuff well jason you’d asked a question earlier about what we’re doing today and one of the things that i’m doing today is related to one of the things i was doing at midnight when chris lima was still online he was um i was reading his building and managing virtual teams ebook i don’t know if anybody else has had the time yet to see it i’ve been
(08:11) looking at it thinking about it yeah well the two things that i’ve been doing today as a result of that is i’m thinking about what i own thanks chris really appreciate that what i’m accountable for and um you know so like it’s really kind of helped that but the delivery what are you delivering today and outside of this like really cool half hour at the water cooler it’s made me think about what am i delivering today so thank you and i recommend that folk to everybody here let’s hear it for christmas lima
(08:42) right here that’s great and also the the dun dun series i think you’ve revolutionized um all of us a little bit and it hurt just only a little bit careful with it i’ve been hearing i’m so bummed i missed word camp la because i’ve been hearing about this dun dun thing from everybody and i can’t find a video to watch it wordpress tv maybe we’ll have it soon it was a great uh presentation and we’ve been having a meeting every morning now because of it let’s uh let’s talk about w wordpress tv
(09:19) brandon yeah because i’m sure that it’ll be up on wordpress tv sometime between the next week and 12 years wait wait wait we get to talk about that stuff here so what is up with that what is 10 years but why because then it’s all out of date right we realized this yes right like they go out of date like after you save them like the next hour there’s like 12 more plugins that like eliminate everything that you just said so we should probably who do we need to like send cupcakes to in order to make
(09:54) it depends on it depends on who’s speaking if it’s say it’s like already on a date before you say it well she doesn’t have a bookstore you know she does a bookstore so it makes sense i got a bookstore i don’t know i own a bookstore for like a month and a half more i think just you heard it here first folks oh no so you renaming it then to closed or what i i am i’m no it’ll still be named open it’ll just be closed because i like to be dichotomistic clear-cut early in the morning hey chris did you
(10:30) um in terms of crowdsourcing any you know like when you publish a book like that you know you did a great job of introing it and saying hey this is going to be outdated you know almost immediately in some sections because things are moving fast and um so you know you’re getting feedback from readers i i was on my ipad last night reading this thing and you can make notes and you can do you know you can you can take paragraphs and post them out to your social networks which is really cool but how about communicating back to the
(10:59) author and going hey there was a typo on page 10 that you know i just want to send you so you could fix it quick um um yeah i have a i have a special mailbox that um you can send typos to and and it’s i don’t give a rat’s ass at gmail.com is that all cats i go straight into the junk mail right no i was still hoping that chris had invented a mailbox that corrected typos automatically but that’s even better yeah okay here’s a different question can i insert typos yeah so so here’s the thing
(11:37) start whatever you want all right buddy so so stephen the truth was this right um the whole i mean i’ve been i’ve been talking about uh virtual teams and remote management and and team dynamics and high performance organizations literally for like eight years but it was a it was a bet with one of the ceos i was coaching which one of us could get an ebook out first it was nice this was i was coaching him on how to do it and he’s like yeah talk talk talk but you haven’t done it and uh and and so that was in january
(12:17) sorry you have to pause whoever’s typing needs to either stop talking typing or type softer because what the hell oh it’s probably me sorry about that you’re like that’s fine you’re angry are we in the office that was in january of 2011. so i moved very quickly to write it all down and published in february of 2011 just to let you know my my friend ceo who i was coaching still hasn’t published so i won yay good job but uh but yeah that’s that’s why there’s a few is that because
(12:54) you did less collaboration chris or i think you’re like you want to compete huh well that’s because he didn’t worry about typos that’s why that’s yeah yeah let’s go back to blue themes what’s up um john we were talking about the pricing on wu themes actually chris brought it up so i pay a developer license for woo themes and i reuse them on a lot of those sites that we build is that gonna change because i i paid my 200 bucks whatever and then i paid 20 bucks a month is that okay that’s not changing so it’s just i
(13:34) think what they’re trying to do is they’re trying i mean they’ve had a massive success not only with the underlying uh plug-in but with the extensions but in the midst of that i think they’re seeing the use the download rates and everything else way higher than the monetization right and so this is a way for them to say look if you if you are going to use it you know 30 times let’s just they’re not going to raise the price 30x but they’re gonna move it up the bar a little they’ll get
(14:04) a little more money they’ll be able to do a little more support and obviously there’s they’re really working at trying to bring on additional developers uh not on staff but literally other folks to develop woocommerce extensions so i know we’ve i’ve been working on one for you know set of weeks now and they’ve been very good about trying to get you know support and walk me through what i need to understand about their world and uh and so it makes sense that they you know want to maximize revenue for me
(14:32) for themselves for everybody else i find this whole idea of this whole building this like monetizing i think that goes right into that whole gpl thing where that was being discussed and i still don’t think that’s resolved the like whole all this kind of selling on top of something that’s free thing i think that’s still shifting like radically i in my opinion well i think there’s lots of economic models that work on that right like there’s nothing wrong with the entire plethora of profitable models being placed upon gpl
(15:06) a lot of them are just fine um it’s the issue of as soon as you say this extension that i’m going to give you can only be used on one site you’re violating the distribution agreement on gpl that once you have it you can do whatever you want with it so um so my question is i don’t i don’t mind paying my developer license for woo and for studiopress we have both of those we use those themes for several sites um i was also looking elegant themes off of the same pricing model what are the companies that operate that because i
(15:39) actually like that do you have a list of questions that you’re reading from no and it’s funny i don’t know i don’t have a woo developer package because it just doesn’t price out for me it’s so rare that i actually use a lou theme okay that everything they have looks too expensive to me where i go well i want to pay 200 bucks to start up a subscription that i’m then on the hook for 25 bucks a month for when i’m gonna use one wu theme a month if that it just that would never price out for
(16:11) me that’s just personal right the way the way i look at it is this i mean we use it on one site it pays for itself i can easily code it myself once and that’s already paid for itself same with students with studio press there’s no ongoing monthly cost right studiopress was a one-time fee and you’re in the club with wu they were one of the first ones to say okay you’re going to pay an upfront fee and then we’re going to get you know 20 or 25 dollars a month from you and i think that i think that that makes
(16:42) sense because you’re getting ongoing support like there’s a reason for that model you get you know endless access to their support forums but i’ve still never liked subscriptions who’s doing the heavy breathing on the microphone totally stephen because he’s the one with the microphone in his face i’m not breathing heavy but i can so so steve i’d say i have i have the the lifetime at uh studio press i have the developer one at woo themes i do own the one elegant themes i also have the one at i themes
(17:22) the developer suite developer suite for those um real quick so if you deploy that for a client say you have your subscription whatever you deploy that for a client does your client have to continue to pay or is that’s just a one-off done over there and then you just go on with your life i’ve always interpreted it as no because no they don’t they don’t have to pay so you buy the thing and then you can deploy it as much as you want wherever you want the client what the client would be paying for if they wanted to would be
(17:52) support forum access right that’s ultimately what you’re paying for here and so i just had a client ask me this yesterday i’m going to use the woo theme on their site because it’s going to be woocommerce and they ask well do i get access to wu theme support with that i said well not under my license you’d have to buy your own support license it’s only 70 bucks for one theme on new themes but you’d have to buy that because i can’t i can share the theme with you technically under gpl you’re my client i can install
(18:19) on your site but i can’t share support with you and so i’m totally fine having customers clients buy licensing to support one by one like that yeah and i guess it’s the same thing with the woocommerce extensions but they haven’t really said if they’re going to do anything in code restrict use on multiple sites no they’re not they’re not going to okay it’s not going to be restrictive it’s just going to be support based and everything else so they’re not going to they’re not going
(18:46) to go crazy on it but they are going to adjust their pricing on it um are they changing their pricing downward where since you’re only buying a plug-in to use on one site it’s going to be cheaper than it was before when you had unlimited use of it for the same price yeah i haven’t i haven’t heard they haven’t mentioned that but it’s it’s the way i bought types and views so that’s another one steve that i bought early on and i try and buy most of them early on because they do the whole
(19:12) uh if you bought types and views before they went 1.0 it was it was a lifetime and developer and then all of a sudden when they went 1.0 it was suddenly a yearly license and you had to repay each time yeah i did that for catalyst theme as well um what was that one cap the catalyst theme do you guys then do like make child themes to modify them or modify the original theme and let them and let them do the upgrades themselves or are these managed clients i i’ve used child themes off of everything yeah yeah if it’s a child
(19:48) cloning it yeah and whether it’s a managed client or not doesn’t have any effect on that whatsoever it doesn’t matter yeah yeah well that’s the answer to that what’s the beauty of child themes is that you know as long as the base or the parent theme is being updated you know normally then the child theme benefits from it does the does the client get to update their woo themes if you’re not with them anymore once they have their theme they can continue to update that theme yep as long as your license stays active
(20:18) they can put that license key in oh it’s under your license though so right so i actually ran into a problem last week with a theme called aveda from theme forest so i made a child themed problem on a theme for a steam never talking oh boy here we go you can’t make a child theme because it’s got specific admin functions that you have to include in the theme what’s that so so that is there a mouse some problem a problem for the upgrade path yeah yeah that is a problem but that we’re talking about things i
(20:58) mean themeforest isn’t quite the same right you don’t get updates for that when you do that anyway right it depends on the video you’re done but the specific question that i was addressing was was child themes you want to be careful on a themeforest theme apparently from what john brown is saying well there’s just it’s kind of the jungle right like every author does his own thing and someone passed theme check can be awesome and some are just it’s a forest i’m just seeing trees what are you
(21:29) saying anything but one of the things i see that might be a little bit of a difficulty was is what you know we’re just talking about the whole idea of licensing and paying for that license every year or however however it works for that particular theme setup what happens when you no longer want to pay for that or you just switched from using uh you know one to another and now it’s not a lifetime thing and you you’re still on the hook for it does that mean you should be on the hook for it and continue to pay for it or should you
(21:55) just say well you know i don’t use that anymore so if you want to pay for it your you the client should go and pay for it that’s a great question and this came up recently because the way woo works is it’s 200 a year and then 20 bucks a month so our 200 a year subscription ran out we had to re-up that but in that little window we had some themes running you know on sites are those still good were they did they work they worked just fine they worked just fine but if they weren’t they may not update the updates
(22:24) that that’s right well i mean but that seems it’s not like if you were to build a custom theme that your updates forever would be included either like you’re not going to continue to update that theme every year for them for free so a way to get all right let me write that down if you do a custom theme as a child i know a lot of us in here are genesis developers right then the parent gets updated forever and that’s that’s where the update happens is in the parent not the child but the parent gets updated forever
(22:56) under the wu theme’s developer license so if you don’t have the wood themes developer license then it’s not getting updated anymore right as long as you keep paying for it that’s the way i’m interpreting it as long as the developer keeps paying for it not the client so there’s not that issue of separation like you if you don’t pay for yours anymore like you’re saying what happens to them so i know but my question comes back too are you a smarter developer by going through something that has a one-time one-time
(23:21) payment at the beginning and then you’re just paying per month or are you a smarter developer by going the woo things route where you’re on the hook for 200 bucks plus 2 times 12. whoever’s receiving the monthly payment is the smarter one that’s right well it sounds like with the the 200 a year kind of a license you’re just not able to retire you’re gonna have to keep paying for that license until such time as all of your clients no longer want to have updates 200 bucks a year plus 20 bucks a month
(23:58) that sucks wait steve steve are you sure you paid 200 every year that’s what i just got billed for another it cut me off for the year and said and said that my support was no longer valid even though i was paying 20 bucks a month do i need to be woo i would i would i would talk to them because that’s not normal i paid 200 or it was it used to be a little less earlier years ago and i don’t i never have paid that one-time fee ever again okay i’m i’m gonna call my guy yeah i gotta call a guy can somebody can
(24:30) somebody tell me who my guy is a lot of those i mean at the end of the day the question is really how much you’re bringing in right so if if you’re bringing in a lot of jobs or you’re doing a lot of jobs or you’re doing a few jobs that are very very expensive um and and this is saving you you know mad money it’s worth spending the money it’s a no-brainer i find it interesting though that i kind of the ethical idea if you’re really basically reselling this theme that you know you’re making
(25:03) minor adjustments to and then you’re really marking it up to is if you bought a custom theme like is that what’s happening is there that is that we’re still charging custom theme rates for your only if you’re suggesting to your customer that the real work you’re doing is design work but if you’re suggesting that you’re doing something different so for example if i have a real estate client and i’m walking them through how to do stuff with real estate most of the time most of the work i’m
(25:27) doing has very little to do with wordpress yeah and i i i gotta say i mean this this would open up a conversation that would be much longer than this call but i’m bringing solutions to the table for my clients i love the way you said that i mean that’s it yep it’s a solution and there’s a and there’s a value to the solution but but say just to be clear there are times where i will literally send a client to woo themes right and say go look at all of them pick the one you like we’ll start from
(25:57) there pick the one that’s closest to what you’re imagining and they’re like this is fantastic all i want to do is change two or three things it doesn’t change the nature of the work i have to do because most of my work has very little to do with coding because you’re doing content developments information structure and all that you know actually i’m i’m mostly paid and you know what loosely mostly you’re what babysitting lucy made a comment that these this is expensive i frankly i don’t view any of
(26:25) these fees as expensive you know i didn’t say it was expensive i just think it sucks or yeah but i hear i hear this in the meetup a lot that a lot of these things are steep i i don’t see them as steep compared to what we charge i mean this is for a user it’s steep for a user that has that one website and it’s their cat’s website and they want to have you know pretty kittens all over the website or whatever and they want to make their site updated and such 200 bucks that’s a lot of money
(26:50) for that it’s kind of funny that we always seem to focus on the cost of a theme and and what we’re shelling out for these kinds of things and you know the real cost to me as a business person is the learning curve on these things i i haven’t used wu theme before but um you know i dabbled in some of the other frameworks and i’m not as accomplished as some of the other people on the panel here today but i’ve been around websites for a while and there’s a learning curve to these things and there’s a lot of uh
(27:23) effort and time that goes into learning any of them to really make them functional for you so to me that’s always a big positive that’s a great point i haven’t shown a theme like lou or anything else to a single first-time wordpress client who isn’t like i don’t understand i bought it and it looked like this and i installed it and it’s nothing at all like this that’s totally every single theme in existence that’s a whole is setting up the folks and explaining the difference between what the theme
(27:54) looks like in demo and what the theme looks like when you install it and preparing them for that in in between that’s my whole the whole chunk of everything don’t don’t say it’s the whole talk because there was a whole big cupcake right in the middle of it i forget which theme it was we downloaded recently but it actually came with a whole bunch of sample content that set up the site for you genesis does that too where they have an xml file of that content yep um and to answer your question i actually think
(28:26) woo’s documentation is very good um all of their themes are pretty well documented yeah but their theme control panel is a bit unwieldy and they’re so bloated they have so they’re exactly i mean i talked about that in my thing too but they’re just the enemy of the plug-in one minute one minute oh no well i love you all cupcakes for everybody all right wait who’s going to work camp las vegas chris i got a quick question i’m not going i’m so sad chris i’m going how do i i’m not going
(29:05) i’m talking and chris is out of here we lost chris how sad he almost made it to the end almost oh tragedy and i almost made it in the beginning so exciting so we’ll be doing this this hangout every monday morning at 11 o’clock and we’re only gonna do it for half an hour pacific and we’re only doing for half an hour and when the half an hour is up that’s it i wanna i wanna talk about topics for next week i really wanna talk about the community summit like so badly i want to talk about it
(29:41) okay yeah perfect okay oh no not you guys hey jason thanks for putting it together have a great day everybody see you tonight see ya bye we’re out maybe not

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