Post by dfumagalli » Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:02 pm

Today I was reading this forum when I stumbled upon this post:
MarketInSG wrote:So should developers start charging more for supporting OpenCart in Joomla? ;)
That sort of made me think about this: to be honest, developers should start charging more for everything about OpenCart.

Unlimited and forever support, customers demanding a mod developer to be awake 24/7/365 to quickly fix issues they might have caused themselves (in example, by installing other conflicting stuff), relatively low sales volume.

This causes several issues to the OC developers community:

- Those who live in the "First World" can't even pay the electricity bills with the puny amounts OC modules often sell for.
This causes the developers "selection" to become biased towards India, some Eastern Europe countries and similar.

- New OC modules developers usually start enthusiast about OC and start creating stuff... that mostly stays unsold (almost always there are 3 free modules doing their mod job) and anyway sell for pennies.

- OC becomes flagged as "indie grade" e-commerce, substantial improvements and research mostly fall on Daniel's shoulders. Nobody who has to actually make a living (outside of India / other ultra-cheap life cost countries) could pour in substantial research and development capitals, they'd never yield a profit.

In example: I am in a company where we chose OpenCart over Magento (and other e-carts), because OC came the closest to our needs. We developed some good skills: turning vanilla OC into a powerhouse, with every trick of the trade (sub-page caching, auto-CSS and Javascript minification, pictures spriting, dynamic categories based on events, memcached usage including for storing SQL results, Language specific SEO keywords and paths / routes / URLs...).

Yet, if we wanted to have our company live on that kind of knowledge, we'd have to create Magento / other commercial stuff extensions.
There's a distinct lack of profit schemes in OC for those who want to make it their business.
The "create a mod today, must provide free support for a decade" is just one of the various habits OC customers have learned to exploit to the fullest. There are a couple of "historical mods" that actually provide some good money (in OC standarts), that is some SEO mods, some Qphoria mods... but they are the minority.

This also results in a drop of quality. We had some serious difficulty finding a commercial theme outside the 1-2 "famous names" that would barely work on a modern version (required dozens of fixes, code was awful), there's just too little reward for keeping such stuff updated when all you can hope to make is $9.99 and on a limited customer base.

Imo there should exist a "professional" OC version, with a "minimum acceptable quality" modules certification required to sell mods for it. Something to help companies get invested in OpenCart, knowing there's money to be made. Some "certified OC partner" additional certification would help consultants too, so a customer could look for officially qualified technicians instead of hoping a 3 years old abandoned module won't make their OC install crash.

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Post by Dhaupin » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:10 pm

Firstly, if you are making a mod that is already made you are doing whats called "re-inventing the wheel". If you try to sell a mod that already has a free mod thats your fault that you cant afford electric. Try........innovating.

Secondly, there is nothing stopping devs from charging more however increasing it too much everywhere will just offput OP's to a prettier looking platform. Its def about quality. If i sold a quality mod for $10 then the way i think of it is you have about 5 minutes of my support time. Honestly i don't care with the OC terms say about that. I will still support them for life beyond that just as OC requires -- at an extended support rate. Refund? Nothing said i had to support them forever for free. Im willing to offer support for the rest of eternity, if they are willing to pay industry avg rate for the hour(s) of time to troubleshoot. This quickly turns their $10 mod into a $200 mod unless they deal with it (or expect less).

Thirdly, alot of the mods are liable crap and the extension market needs flushed. I've seen quite a few of them that aren't even mods at all -- its like a zip with a text file of what to change and its a so old version. Or others are file overwrites....or index edits....or rando wrong placement of code. There is just no need for overwriting files. There is no need to make liable (conflicting) vQ replaces. There is no reason to call SQL from view. There is no reason for alot of the poor choices allowed to pass into market. Some lack demos, some are 2 years since update, etc etc. Its not the extension price per-say that makes OC a "lower tier" solution, its alot of little stuff like that added up "muddying the waters" and lowering quality of the market itself.

Some other fundamental flaws of the extension market:
1) Allow selling of mods under $10 - Certain things need to be more affordable to other countries
2) Make demo links a required field - http://forum.opencart.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=139377
3) Make the pictures larger - http://forum.opencart.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=131739
4) Fix reviews function - http://forum.opencart.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=131694
5) Sort order on file downloads - http://forum.opencart.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=138435
6) Set auto truncate - if a mod hasn't been touched for years, and its 10+ versions old, put it offline.

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Post by IP_CAM » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:19 am

The probably best Point about Opencart is, that nobody has to bother with, basically, it's anybody's own decision to use it, in wich way ever, or then, just scrap it. At least, this is my impression, analyzing the OC-Project as a 'whole', from my personal point of view. And i'm not the only one, with that 'thinking', it has been 'expressed' in written Form on several Places during the Years... ;)
---
When I started up to build my first EveryAuction-based AuctionScripts, we where a huge Crowd, but soon split up into different 'Ideology'-Sections, and argumenting over 'fundamental' design soon used more Forum Space than technical talk, everybody meant to 'know better', and, as a consequence, the Project itself finally failed due to the inability of the >Coder-Pro's< involved, to continue 'work' on a ideologically 'common Bases'.

I guess, one of the main Problems was MONEY. Oficially, for some at least, the GPL-Idea was, that nobody was supposed to make Money with EveryAuction, it was expected to be FREE, and whoever tried to make a Buck on something, was a, kind of, natural Enemy of the EA-GPL-Project, and handled accordingly, especially at the Forum.
---
I was surprised to find out, that the OC-System of commercially offered Mod's, together with freely available Mod's as well, works as good as it does, at least with Opencart. Despite of uncounted Numbers of Fellow's, trying to get a piece of the cake, by building their own Shops, offering assistance and/or Mod's, from free to paid, legal or not...

But still, Knowledge does not come for free, on the longer terms. After a while, even the greatest Fan and free Contributor starts to 'slow down', because even the 'Return of Success Reports' is coming back on a level, far below to any measurable value. At least, under the plain Aspect, that One assists the OTHER to make Money with 'that' freely gained knowledge. :-\

Therefore, there is no guaranteed Income on OC, for noone. Tomorrow, somebody else can take over, this is the free worldwide Market. Take it or leave it, it's today's Law.

---

But the Site does not longer really meet the Expectations of Contributors and Users. :'(

I.E.: Mod's can be commented, but in NO Visitor-Relation with the User Forum, and MOST Mod-Downloaders will NEVER visit the Mod-Page again. Or, if they do, the do not want to log in again, just to comment the Mod. As a consequence, we see 6'000 Downloads, and possibly 20 Comments, or thank you's, a very great Motivation for Contributers, trying to make a good free or paid Job.

The Search Routine in the Mod-Section is a plain Joke, I never exerienced such a 'dumb' Search Engine before. Further, the OC Version Problem at the Forum ist getting worse, Subtitles should contain Version-Information, it's getting hard to check on Page-Top's every time, wich version is meant. I deleted already multiple of Repies, finding out later, it was v2.x.

A better 'organized' Website could help, in the first Place. And possibly someday combined with Manuals, with PICTURES, about everything imaginable, and un-imaginable, to assist all those, writing in english, but unable to really understand plain english, without technical stuff...(like me!)

It's not so much Work, but sure noone expects some freaks to do this on their free time at home, as long as daily payments come in in other places, basically responsible for doing such. It's just part of a good Product. At least the way, I look at it... ;)

I just looked at the Joomla Website, an I was a little impressed, I must admit. It's a decade, of difference, in appearance. Good Appearance builds trust. And Competence. Other than that, I use no joomla, so, I can't judge.

my 2 Cents
Ernie
Last edited by IP_CAM on Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:45 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Post by BrettMW » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:02 am

I think a lot of this is caused by OpenCart taking the open source idea too seriously and out of context.

For example if you want a seller account, you have "to have been a long time member who has helped people in the community and also released a few free extensions." I'm not against the seller account approval idea, but I think the process as it stands at the moment is culling out a lot of real developers who don't have the time for the community/free extension thing. Then of course you get a lot of the less experienced developers flooding the market with free 'extensions' in order to get their seller account approved.

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Post by geoffist » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:58 pm

I'm just chiming in here because I recently had a problem situation.

This is not necessarily a knock against the developers of extensions, more against the "economy" of the extension developers as a whole.

I feel as though developers are under-staffed and over-paid. Why? Sure - there are some *genius* developers out there who can code an extension so massive and innovative, it blows the competition out of the water. They sell it for $50-100 and poof - never to be seen again when users are having legitimate issues. The problem is, this is *real* money customers are spending on extensions that get little to no support.

Why do I say under-staffed and overpaid? Because i've spoken to developers directly and they say they are. They admit, first hand, that they didnt expect tens of hundreds of emails pouring in for support after their extension was published. How can one/two/three man developer teams deal with this kind of support queue?

Wordpress, for example, offers, and admits, limited support for their free plugins. Good luck getting support on how to integrate certain plugins with each other. But the upside is, however, they offer ALL of their premium extensions at one monthly price - with full dedicated support included (if you wish to go the premium route). In that tier, the support is second to none.

Again, the problem isn't necessarily the developer (at least that's not what im ranting about), it's the system.

What kind of business model would succeed in the "physical goods" realm if a manufacturer sold its products, and then was nowhere to be found when a customer's product failed him?

As well, i see a lot of "oh, it must be the end-user's fault" if an extension isn't working. While this may be the case (and most of the time is), this kind of customer service seems to be accepted in the "coding/development" realm - but i doubt it would fly in the physical goods sector.

Think of some of the biggest corporations/most successful businesses in the world: much of their success is due to quality customer support - this keeps users coming back for more.

To be honest, ive bought x-amount of extensions for OC and other technologies and im getting to the point where i just want to give up on the open source model. I love the idea of open information, but it's just so dang buggy and often not worth it compared to "i'll pay for my developer and i won't share"- which often yields better results.

(maybe why some of the biggest internet sites aren't open source)

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Post by BrettMW » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:09 pm

geoffist wrote:I love the idea of open information, but it's just so dang buggy and often not worth it compared to "i'll pay for my developer and i won't share"- which often yields better results.

(maybe why some of the biggest internet sites aren't open source)
Agree with that last point 100%.

Open Source is a bit of a community thing i.e. it's built by developers and in works best if used by developers. If you aren't part of the developer community then you may have a hard time with the limited support etc.

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Post by Johnathan » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:05 am

geoffist wrote:Why do I say under-staffed and overpaid? Because i've spoken to developers directly and they say they are. They admit, first hand, that they didnt expect tens of hundreds of emails pouring in for support after their extension was published. How can one/two/three man developer teams deal with this kind of support queue?
You've said it well. I spend most of my day supporting and answering questions about my extensions, which leaves very little time to actually work on updates and new projects. Giving free support without any limitations is an extremely difficult thing, especially as a sole developer, and it's starting to become unfeasible for me to do.
geoffist wrote:To be honest, ive bought x-amount of extensions for OC and other technologies and im getting to the point where i just want to give up on the open source model. I love the idea of open information, but it's just so dang buggy and often not worth it compared to "i'll pay for my developer and i won't share"- which often yields better results.
This issue is exactly the reason I started OpenCartX. It's a place to find high-quality developers and extensions, so that there's less risk involved for customers purchasing. They can have some assurance that the extensions will be supported and generally work well. I think the open-market model that opencart.com has is valuable, but I think it's also a good thing to have a curated list for those that don't want to risk their time with low-quality extensions.

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Post by Dhaupin » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:58 am

J I feel ya man. Unfortunately the large amount and high volatility of pre-2.x OC extensions makes a high odds of purchaser encountering random conflicts. Most of the time it's a paste in list of questions for the client, and may only take 30 mins, but multiply that by 10 or more a day... and you have time issues.

I think most devs would love to fully support and tailor their mods to each client everyday to make it perfect... We honestly do care! It's just the time involved is not feasible, which stinks for the OP.

Its almost a paradox to even release a pay mod for any popular platform... Gotta find the right retail balance to not be flooded or smothered either way. Tis the nature of any business model :)

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Post by geoffist » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:19 pm

Well, in the end, im glad we can all come together and bounce ideas/feelings off of one another.

Keep on keeping on, y'all!

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Post by MarketInSG » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:58 pm

Supporting OpenCart on its own is okay.

The whole point is, supporting OpenCart inside Joomla (MijoShop, AceShop, Joocart etc.). Should developers charge more for such support?

Is it reasonable to expect free support for such cases?

Have a think, if your time is cheap, then yes, you can probably do so ;)

Anyway, offering mods below $10 is too low. OpenCart would probably be closing down if they allow that. And most developers would not be able to compete with other developers from third world countries in terms of pricing. US$10 is a great lot to them. US$10 is probably not a lot to the rest.


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