Today, I am excited to announce that after two months of development the first extensions for Ultimate Member are now available for purchase. The first extensions we have built are: Social login, MailChimp, bbPress, myCRED and Google reCAPTCHA.
The social login extension enables you to add social login to your site so users can register/login via their social network accounts rather than having to sign-up for a new account and remember the login details.
The MailChimp extension allows users to subscribe to your mailing lists when signing up. Users can also subscribe/unsubscribe from your mailing lists directly from their account page.
The bbPress extension integrates bbPress with Ultimate Member and displays a user’s bbPress stats on their Ultimate Member profile rather than the default bbPress profile. The extension also provides content restrict features on a user role basis.
The myCRED extension integrates the popular points management plugin myCRED with Ultimate Member and allows you to display a user points, ranking and badges directly on user profiles.
Google reCAPTCHA (Free)
The free Google reCAPTCHA extension allows you to add the new Google reCAPTCHA to your register and login forms to provide even more protection against spam bots.
Why the extensions model?
When we first started building Ultimate Member we always planned on generating revenue from the plugin so we were able to run a sustainable business. Whilst many different business models exist for plugins such as: Free plugin with support only provided to paying customers; free lite version + paid pro version; premium only plugins; SAAS plugins we decided that a free core version + paid extensions was the best model for us to use. We chose this for several reasons which I have outlined below.
Sustainable business model
One of the biggest fears users of WordPress plugins have is using a plugin or theme on their site then one day finding out that the plugin they built their website around is no longer actively supported or developed. By using the extension model it provides us with the most sustainable business model which will ensure that Ultimate Member is supported and developed for many years to come.
A sustainable business model for our plugin means charging prices that ensures the business brings in enough revenue to support us and our families now and also factors in the potential for future growth as the user base for Ultimate Member grows. It also means selling annual licenses rather than lifetime licenses. Running a sustainable business model is one of the main reasons we chose this model for Ultimate Member.
It’s a successful model
Part of the reason we chose the free core + paid extensions model is that there are already a lot of other plugins using this model to run successful and sustainable plugin businesses. Many of the plugins using this model have been around for many years and are still actively supported and developed proving core + extensions is a successful model to use.
The most well-known plugin using this model is WooCommerce. The company behind WooCommerce now has over 30 staff and without having the right plugin business model in place WooCommerce would not be the plugin it is today and be able to pay the wages of over 30 staff.
Plugin feature bloat
One of the reasons this model is the best model for Ultimate Member is that it keeps the core version lightweight, makes the codebase more manageable and reduces the potential for bugs/conflicts. When we built the core version of Ultimate Member we wanted to create a great plugin that people would love and find very useful. The plugin is very robust by itself and includes advanced features such as conditional logic for fields that you will struggle to find in many free dedicated form plugins.
What we have always wanted to avoid with the core version is adding more and more features to it that will make it heavier, slow it down and also make it more complicated for users to learn how to use. The extensions model allows us to offer additional features that not everyone wants or needs on their site whilst keeping the core version lightweight.
One of the biggest benefits of the free core + extensions models over the lite + pro version model is that because extensions are sold separately, generally the features offered in an extension will go much further and be more advanced than the same features if they were offered in a pro version.
This is because each extension is judged on its own merit so when we make an extension we make sure that the features offered in the extension are the best they can be otherwise no one would buy the extension. On the other hand developers using the lite + pro model have less incentive to offer the same depth of coding for each feature as their ‘pro’ version is judged as a bundle of features rather than being judged on every component.
Whilst I understand it is nice when everything is free, the reality is that the plugin would never have been built-in the first place and we would not be able to support/develop the plugin in the long-term without a sustainable business model in place. So I hope the reasons I have outlined above will give you a better insight and understanding into why we have chosen this model and prices and with your support we look forward to building Ultimate Member into the best ever community/user/member based WordPress plugin.
If you have any questions about the extensions we have a pre-purchase questions forum where you can ask us about the extensions.