Interview with Vova Feldman from Freemius

The WordPress community is full of inspiring people and during WordCamp US 2018 we had the chance to meet some of them for quick interviews about topics their passionate about. One of those people is Vova Feldman from Freemius.

Vova is the co-founder of Freemius – an online marketplace for WordPress products. He also has a lot of knowledge about business models and market trends in connection to WordPress. So we wanted to pick his brain about these topics and share his insights with all of you.

Can you introduce yourself quickly?

I’m Vova and I’m from Israel right now. I’m coming from Freemius. Freemius is an e-commerce engine. As a service, we help plugin and theme developers to turn their code into commercial solutions in a matter of minutes. And since we’re also coming as a partner, we’re really involved in their business and trying to proactively help them get better, because we make money when they make money.

A lot of businesses sell their products on their own website. What are the benefits of doing it on Freemius?

First of all, there are a bunch of solutions on the market. Freemius is a service. And compared to other solutions, where you actually need to sell plugins on your website maintain them et cetera. There’s a benefit of using a service because you don’t need to handle all this maintenance if there are issues, API changes, PayPal Stripe. We know about that and we just deploy fixes and make sure that the subscription money is going in whether you are working right now or on a vacation with your family. We are there.

Also as a service, we act as a reseller which means that we handle the EU VAT. So if you want to sell to European customers we remove this hassle from your end.

We know that you’re a fan of the free and the premium model. Why do you think it’s good?

We’re an open source community. And I do see a huge benefit in having a free version because not everyone can afford to buy your product. But on the other hand, it gives you a lot of value because you can learn about your users, get feedback from much more users than you could get if you’re a premium only product. And I think it’s kind of a fair game because the people that have the money can buy the big version, that really need the extra features. They’re helping to sponsor the project and the company. So everyone in the community can benefit the free users and also the paid ones.

And what about the model of subscription and a one-time payment, would you like to talk about that? What do you prefer?

It depends on the product. Products that are kind of a one-time thing, let’s say, an export plugin or an import plugin. For those products, it makes more sense to sell them in a lifetime license because usually you use it as a one time things and that’s it. But for products that are ongoing and you keep using them there is a higher chance of support tickets over time and it’s a much more sustainable model – subscriptions.

I think it’s becoming de facto, the standard right now in WordPress. And we helped to get there because if you look five years ago, it was kind of strange to do subscriptions. People didn’t do that. And if they did it was manual renewals and not something that automatically renewed. But if you think about it, most people actually pay for products. They are business owners making some sort of money and they prefer to have this peace of mind that they can have support when they need it. They don’t need to think about: “OK, after a year, now we need to go find this license, go to some website, upgrade” – again it’s a hassle. So the automatic renewals actually simplify their life because they don’t need to think about this stuff.

I’m a big believer in subscriptions and the whole subscription economy. And I think it’s good that the WordPress bubble economy is adapting to that model because it’s already adopted all over outside of WordPress.

Going back to Freemius – is there anything else you want our viewers to know about?

I would mention our blog freemius.com/blog. We invest a lot of resources in really good content, covering many topics related to the business side of the WordPress plugins. So whether you’re just starting or you’re in an advanced stage but want to learn about specific things like you mentioned, subscription. Whether I actually do monthly subscriptions or only annual or how to price the lifetime correctly. We cover all these different topics – pricing, marketing, partnerships, affiliation everything. This is what we do. So check it out.

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