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Going GPL. What happens when a theme with 100K users goes GPL! [EN] - Rouzbeh Firouzmand

Going GPL. What happens when a theme with 100K users goes GPL! [EN] - Rouzbeh Firouzmand

WordCamp Athens 2019

I’m going to share the story of a premium WordPress theme from Themeforest with 100K customers that decided to change its license to full GPL after 5 years. As the CEO of my company I had to be aware of business implications and risks attached to such a decision. Before making this decision at Artbees we were very much concerned about the impact this will have on our sales, our brand and the future of the theme. After a short introduction of GPL license, I will explain the results of this decision, steps we took to execute the relicensing process, market’s reaction to it and if it was rewarding or unrewarding and finally the state of my company and our theme after going GPL.

Transcript

  1. Going GPL What happens when a theme with 100K users

    goes GPL! WordCamp Athens 2019 #WCATH2019
  2. Rouzbeh Firouzmand CEO @Artbees @rouzbehfirouz

  3. “Adopting a GPL license for premium products is a suicide”

  4. “The GPL can present a real problem for those wishing

    to commercialise and profit from software”
  5. “It's a complete NO-GO for a business. A risk they

    can't afford”
  6. That’s not true at all!

  7. “Licensing your product under GPL can be a secret key

    to your long awaiting success.
 It all depends on you and your business.”
  8. But how is that possible to give away your product

    and still succeed in the business?
  9. What is GPL?

  10. General Public License The most commonly used free software license.

  11. Richard Stallman Published GPL in 1989

  12. Customised computer (Free BIOS and Free OS) No Google. No

    Gmail No social network No non-free softwares
  13. 1985. The founder of Free Software Foundation Richard Stallman

  14. Completely free operating system The world's most popular free software

    licenses Promote and extend the adoption of free software
  15. Backed and driven by a worldwide community of enthusiast programmers

    dedicated to the cause of freedom and sharing
  16. So what are the terms?

  17. 1. Run your product 2. Modify your product 3. Redistribute

    your product for free OR even sell it for a fee. GPL allows your customers to:
  18. As long as your customers give the same rights to

    their users as well. GPL spreads like a virus (but a good one!) But…
  19. GPL product is the one that you should not charge

    money for distributing it, or that you should charge as little as possible. GPL enforces you to give away your product Myth
  20. https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.en.html

  21. Why call it Free software then? Free Beer Free Speech

    = The freedom to run the program, study and change the program, and redistribute the program with or without changes.
  22. GPL encourages the free software as the "freedom" to use

    it, not the “price".
  23. Sell your product for millions of but give your users

    the freedom to use it and re-distribute it however they like.
  24. A WordPress theme by Artbees Among most popular WP themes

    113,000+ customers
  25. WordPress theme No Free version 100% Premium

  26. Q. How to increase the sales?

  27. Q. How to increase the sales? A. Reach out to

    more people. ""
  28. Q. How to increase the sales? A. Reach out to

    more people. "" Q. But HOW?
  29. Build a community.

  30. Let people use our product for free and however they

    like and they pay only if they like it and want more features. Earn community’s Trust
  31. Closed license (Limited use) Open Source - GPL (Freedom) -

    Pay before use - Can not redistribute - Start free - Free to redistribute
  32. GPL or Not GPL? This is the question

  33. None
  34. We could still sell Jupiter for the same price. We

    also let everyone to modify or even re-distribute (Resell) Jupiter. What?!!!!
  35. A victim to Internet software piracy already and now by

    GPL we are making it legal!
  36. But we took the risk and got started.

  37. What happened?

  38. Sales jumped 2% in the first month after release. Sales

    Dec 2018 Jan 2019 Feb 2019 March 2019 After GPL
  39. Sales jumped 8% in the second month after release. Sales

    Dec 2018 Jan 2019 Feb 2019 March 2019 After GPL
  40. Earned more than 6000 users. Most were on free tier

    but still we earned 40% more potential users than we normally did. Sales Dec 2018 Jan 2019 Feb 2019 March 2019 After GPL
  41. 18% of those free tier users decided to buy Jupiter

    by the end of quarter which makes almost 15% sales increase in total. Sales Dec 2018 Jan 2019 Feb 2019 March 2019 After GPL
  42. NPS survey: Customer satisfaction improved more than 15% in quarter.

    Sales Dec 2018 Jan 2019 Feb 2019 March 2019 After GPL
  43. But more interestingly, for the first time ever, we started

    to have a voice in a massive WordPress community. Millions and millions of WordPress users could see us and enjoy our product with freedom.
  44. GPL was a breakthrough and the response from community was

    positive. Earn a big community of loyal and active members Increase our sales by a remarkable margin Increase customer satisfaction
  45. How did it happen?

  46. People are much more open to pay for our product

    when they have the option to use it for free and freedom for unlimited time. More serious users who need extra functionality will eventually pay to unlock some premium features to make their website look more professional or desirable.
  47. A lesson: Don’t try to sell. Try to engage instead.

  48. Build an active community around your product. Build a relationship

    with your users rather than turning them into dollar sign immediately.
  49. Build a trustful and lively relationship with our customers. Generate

    more new customers by word of mouth. Reduce churn rate which means more loyal customers. Enthusiast pro customers willing to help to extend our product and find and fix issues. GPL
  50. And finally…

  51. "Make your customers happy, and you’ll win their business for

    life. Your competition won’t stand a chance." “ Quicksprout.com
  52. Thanks for listening! Ευχαριστώ!