On the face of things, for the Wordpress developers to sell tiered support for their free open source product sounds like a great idea. For a mere $5,000 a year you get priority access to the Wordpress developers for support with performance issues, plugins, and spam. There are private forums for your questions, a six hour SLA for questions, all kinds of other cushy support services.
However, there are a few problems.
Support for non-Automattic members
With paid support now occupying developers’ time, what will happen to the existing support forums? It’s unreasonable to assume that when Wordpress developers are busy answer paid questions that they will continue to share time with the free public forums. And, few bloggers have the money to spend on a $5,000 subscription to paid support. The average individual will expect Wordpress to work perfectly for them out of the box; when that doesn’t happen they shouldn’t be forking out money, the developers should be fixing bugs.
A Focus on Wordpress development
With their time tied up helping new paying customers on the Automattic platform install and configure Wordpress, how much new development will go on? It’s obviously true that Wordpress is by no means a “finished” project. Only continued evolution will propel it above new platforms like Typo.
The Bugs Clause
What bothers me most about the paid support is their bug fix clause:
If the problem you are reporting is caused by a bug in the WordPress software, we will assign a priority level to it which determines how soon the bug will be fixed. Level A = the bug causes the software to completely break: we will start fixing it within 24 hours and will get you a custom fix to the problem ASAP. Level B = the bug degrades the performance of the software but a work-around exists: we will fix the bug in the next scheduled release of the software. Level C = the bug has a minor impact on the software: we may fix the bug in the next release.
In other words, subscribers to the Wordpress Support Network are acting as expensive beta testers. Unlike a commercial software company which attemps to ship a bug-free product, Wordpress releases typically contain numerous bugs which are only later fixed. And, by joining the Support Network, you are facilitating a ship-now patch-later software development model which prioritizes the company’s pockets over end users.
- This move is truly a win-win-win
- Maybe Iím fretting for naught
- WordPress is the platform of choice for enterprise blogging
- The response has been great so far
- Enterprise Grade Support for WordPress
- How do you make money by giving away free software?
That said, I still love you, Matt & Wordpress!
|This entry was posted on Monday, June 26th, 2006 at 9:07 pm and is tagged with open source product, free public forums, priority level, problem asap, commercial arm, free open source, finished project, performance issues, private forums, sla, wordpress, bloggers, support forums, bugs, platforms, developers, evolution, money. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback.|