Are WordPress Plugin Acquisitions Too Much?

Nathan Wrigley asked a question on Twitter, but the 240 characters Twitter provides wasn’t enough, so I thought I’d post a note here instead. Nathan asked…

I’m not that familiar with many of the plugins getting acquired every 5 minutes. But that’s mainly because my needs are simple and I prefer to code features, rather than add more plugins.

Having said that, I think all things considered, these acquisitions are a bad thing overall and that’s for a couple of reasons…

1. Build, sell, move on

There’s a real danger of the premium plugin space becoming one where talented developers create the next great plugin, sell it and move on only for the plugin to become one in a much larger portfolio that is unlikely to receive the same love as it did before.

The result of this is crappy code, poor performance, potential vulnerabilities and an all round rubbish user experience.

2. Limited vendors

As these “plugin houses” continue to buy up plugins and themes, there’s the potential for us to end up in the same situation as the mobile phone industry.

Want the latest caching plugin? Sorry, you’re gonna have to buy a £20/month package that includes 5 other plugins you don’t want. Oh, it’s SEO you want? No problem, that’s an additional premium.

We end up with this duopoly where a couple of vendors own all the great plugins and all of sudden, this great community withers away into another money making vortex, where cash is king.

Conclusion

I realise that we’re way off the situation above, but it doesn’t seem that long ago we had brands like Nokia, Sony Erickson, Blackberry and Siemens in the mobile phone industry…

So while it’s not the end of the world, there’s the potential for this to go south relatively quickly.

Hopefully this answers your question, Nathan. As you can see, I would have struggled to fit this into a tweet. 😊

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