License agreements for paid products
OctoberCMS has a thriving ecosystem filled with thousands of hours of programming effort from authors all over the globe. As we start to approach the stable release of October, we have taken some time to clarify the license terms surrounding the use of themes and plugins that require payment. Prior to today, paid plugins and themes were licensed at the discrection of the author, and in almost all cases, a license is not specified. This means the use of the product is heavily restricted and the author should be asked for permission about all implementations.
Payment processing pains
Since we started taking payments using PayPal, there has always been a fraction of customers who were not able to make payments for plugins or themes. We're addressing this issue by introducing a new payment processing approach.
Two types of payment issues
We are aware of different types of the payment problems. In some cases the issues could be resolved themselves by simply trying again the next day, or after several attempts. We don't know what's going on inside PayPal, but in cases like that we were unable to help the customers or find any traces of problems in our logs. One known reason is that the payer's account was not verified.
In other cases there was a consistent problem with payments when the customer's or author's PayPal account is registered in restricted countries. We know this can be frustrating for customers and authors alike. OctoberCMS is an international ecosystem where authors and users could live anywhere in the world. While PayPal provides its services in many countries, it's became clear that some operations are limited and depend on the geographical location of the payer and recepient. In our case the situation is more complicated than with regular PayPal transfers, because the Marketplace uses a special PayPal feature called Adaptive payments.
Meet Express Payments
We implemented a solution which should help to resolve or reduce the severity the problem. The solution still uses PayPal, but the payments are made with PayPal Express API, which is a proven and simplified solution. This will affect only payments where we know what the usual payment method doesn't work. Currently it is determined based on the location of the customer or author. It can also be enabled for authors and users individually if we find that an author or customer permanently experiences payment issues. This implies a communication between authors, customers and us. If you can't pay or receive payment on OctoberCMS website, please first contact PayPal and see if they can help. If they can't help, let us know by sending us a quick message, using the email address found in the footer of this page.
For customers, there is almost no difference between the old and new payment methods. In both cases you'll be redirected to PayPal to login and confirm the payment. For authors, the Express payments are not sent immediately. Instead, they are collected by OctoberCMS and sent to authors once per month as a single transaction. Authors can see their pending payout amount on the Dashboard, in My Account area. Authors will still receive email notifications about every purchase. If the purchase was made using Express, it will be mentioned in the notification.
We hope that this update will make Marketplace more reliable and trustworthy for authors and customers. There are other updates planned that we're going to work on very soon. One of them is the ability to create coupon codes to promote their products for authors. Another planned update is the flexible commission rate which depends on author's sale volumes.
We want to thank authors for their hard work in developing plugins and themes for OctoberCMS. Recently we hit the record of 1,000 purchases, but we were so busy that didn't notice this event!
See you soon for the stable release!