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Where Should Developers Sell Their Code

As a developer for private organizations I started to really understand the distribution network currently available for developers online.  It consists of several large players. They include Mojo Themes, Elegant Themes who does not use third party distribution the right way to do it, Authentic themes, Graph paper press, Press75, Aliewp and then there is a group who are all basically the same company.  This is the largest player of them all, the Envato Market which consists of themeforest, codecanyon, videohive, audiojungle, graphicriver, photodune, 3docean and activeden.  The Envato market is somehow related to each of its partners which is not always clear but business policies are inherited in some form or another.

So you are developing new code for some application such as WordPress or JoomLa.  Your code works great and you want to provide a very reasonable price with excellent support for your customers.  I bet the first thing you think of is how can I get my code approved for the Envato Market or other major distribution channel.  The problem is maybe you never considered selling and supporting your software directly.

Well from my experience here is what I highly suggest.  Never and I mean never close off the channel for you to sell or support your software directly.  You will cut your own throat if you decide to abide by the rules of many of the distribution channels you find online.  What you may not realize is these distribution channels have ways to not only destroy your efforts to distribute your plugins, themes and software.  They can also determine who has access and when they have access to your software.  In addition they can also block your customers from access to your software for any reason they choose which is for example something the biggest player Envato Market does to many. 

What many developers need to realize is if they already have a great web presence then why would they need shady distribution channels who can ruin their reputation and turn off potential and current customers.  Developers might think that distribution through channels who claim to have collections of 10,000 working themes is a good idea.  Based on other developer stories, developers complain that they are not getting their cut from these online suppliers and their competitors are cutting corners by selling broken or partially working themes and plugins with little or no support.  Its a get in fast and get out fast make money quick business for most especially in the Envato Market. 

Is it really going to benefit web designers to load up on plugins and themes from a place like Envato Market?  Especially established web designers who have hundreds of plugins and themes to manage across hundreds of websites.  Imagine if they have a slight problem with a company like Envato and then their account is suddenly close.  Then there is an emergency update on a major plugin which is now being blocked by Envato.  Remember the web developer has 100 sites that need the update ASAP some of which are major clients with strong online businesses. 

The impact that Envato can have on web designer businesses is devastating and so big that it can actually destroy not only the web developer but also the 100 business websites that the web developer is in charge of.  I have a friend who manages a very large web development company and his take on it is stay far away from places like Envato Market or third party distribution of software.  Companies like the Envato Market know how to destroy web developer businesses and they do it every day without one bit of remorse.  Focus on a place like Elegant Themes who is working directly with their clients or develop your own plugins and themes if you have the budget and time.

You do not have to take my advice but after years of being in the software development world and watching how software distribution companies are growing quickly online its obvious that they did not all grow because they decided to run an honest business.  Do not just take it from me.  Search online reviews before you dive into purchasing software packages through third parties or selling your software through third parties.  You might just realize the risk of working with a third party is high for both the developer and the customer especially if you are an established web designer or serious plugin/theme developer.  You may have wished that you read this blog before you decided to work with Envato.

Updated: 08/20/2015 — 1:11 pm

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