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WordPress HelpCenter Shuts Down

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January 26th, 2011
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WordPress News

Alex King has announced that his company WP HelpCenter will be shutting down on February 28th. The WordPress HelpCenter was a company aimed at providing support for plug-ins and themes to offload the support burden from developers. As Alex points out, the company was not able to gain traction with developers. But the nail in the coffin for something like WP HelpCenter is that commercial support for free plug-ins and themes was not something people were willing to pay for. Alex believes that the service WP HelpCenter provided is still needed in the WordPress community and for anyone else willing to dive into the market, he shares the following tips:

I would recommend getting funding in place so that you can hire and do internal training, then come to market with a 5-6 person team (with dedicated sales and project management roles) in place from the start. Then it’s just a matter of providing great service and doing smart marketing to generate revenue. I would also recommend including a training offering, as that seems to be a service many people find valuable.

It will be interesting to see who steps into the market that WP HelpCenter is leaving behind and if they do things a different way to become successful. Meanwhile. Alex’s development company CrowdFavorite is doing very well with job openings available.

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  1. Hikari (11 comments.) says:

    That’s the problem of our profession, many professionals don’t value themselves and share software for free. That gets worse with GPL. No other profession has this kind of free, specialized service.

    Now it’s too late, people got used to it and doesn’t wanna pay for something they feel worths nothing and can simply take.

    Gamerz stopped developing to gather a job that pays his bills, now HelpCenter is gone.

    Now, why would somebody take the place of a company that pratically had the whole marcket for it, a macket that plugins developers can’t live on, and that broke out? Maybe if it focus on servicing other companies that need support…

    • that girl again (41 comments.) says:

      Yeah, I just don’t see a market for paid third-party support for free plugins. People expect support from the person who developed the plugin, and currently they expect it for free. I really think the only long-term solution to this is if major plugin developers adopt the same model as commercial themes; make it clear from the outset that, while the plugin is free to download and redistribute, support requires a subscription.

      Unfortunately, since wordpress.org refuses to support commercial plugins, this would lock them out of the wordpress.org repository and disable automatic updates. In order to make a living from support, plugin developers are going to have get on the wrong side of Automattic, waving goodbye to any prospect of having any patches committed or contributing to core one day, not to mention running the gauntlet of Matt’s fanboy army the way premium theme developers had to. For most, it’s not a risk worth taking. Either they carry on working for free, focus on web development for individual clients, or switch platforms.



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