Free stuff’s great, but sometimes you need a look or feature that requires a commercial theme or plugin. Be careful … just because someone’s charging money for their stuff doesn’t mean they’re producing a quality product … or even a product that’s their own intellectual property. Case in point: recently, I was trying out various forum and wiki plugins for this site, and WPMU DEV’s Wiki and Forums plugins came to my attention. They have a “purchase price” for these, but you need to sign up for a membership to get support. OK, that’s $39 a month or $79 for the “pro” version. When I talked to their support guy, he said a lot of people sign up, then cancel their membership. I told him I thought their business model sucked, and the response was basically, take it or leave it … they provide great products and support (he said) to many developers.
So I decided to give them a try. After installing and setting up, I cancelled my membership. I fully expected not to have access to their support forums … what I wasn’t expecting was for updates to my plugins not to be available any more. So I laid out well over $100 for two plugins, which are no longer supported (their support guy informed me in a mail message), unless I renew my “membership”. What’s worse, I never did get these plugins to work 100% properly with the Builder theme, so I had a different look for my Support pages and the other pages on my site. When I posted a question, the response was that “some themes don’t work properly” with all plugins. So, the solution I was paying $79 a month for was to change themes because WPMU DEV’s products obviously couldn’t be at fault.
So I switched to WordPress Wiki for the User Guide, and Mingle Forum for the User Forums. They work perfectly well, and there’s no “membership” fee. Bye bye WPMU DEV. It turns out I’m not the only one to have problems with their way of doing business. See these articles:
Lesson learned… I didn’t do my homework before signing up with this company, and that’s my bad. Please, there are plenty of theme and plugin suppliers out there … free and paid … steer clear of WPMU DEV.
Update: Here’s another article that discusses the WPMU DEV “pay wall”: