In another thread the topic of a Moodle Marketplace for the sale and purchase of themes and plugins is being not discussed.
So I thought it might get discussed here. Right now there are almost no premium plugins for Moodle.
Most plugin developers develop for themselves or their organisation, and quite often those are submitted to the Moodle plugins database. Some, like me, write plugins under contract and may or may not put them on the plugins database. There is no shortage of great plugins, and new ones arrive regularly. So it could be said that Moodle is doing just fine without premium plugins. But I am not so sure.
So let me just make the case for premium. It pays for support and updates and upgrades of the plugin. Currently there is no revenue for these things for plugin developers. They just get done for the same reason the plugin was developed in the first place. ie the needs of the developer, or their organisation. Or out of the developer's generosity.
So we get abandoned plugins, and plugins that don't make it past the first few versions. Also as many plugins as there are, there could be more and they could be better through iterations of development. Note the lack of good alternatives to Paypal enrolment and the enormous adoption of the Essential theme.
Donations and crowdfunding are often mentioned in this context. And they are relevant, but donations simply don't pay the bills. And crowdfunding for updates, support and upgrades is a whole lot less effective than for the initial development.
It might also be argued that Moodle is free, so plugins should be too. This is a pretty strong point. Nobody wants money to get in the way of education. But Moodle has a revenue system via Moodle Partners, and thats no small part of why Moodle is so fully featured and mature. Plugin developers don't share in this. And plugins that don't last long enough to get mature, or get abandoned don't help anyone.
Of course plugin developers are free to put a price tag on their plugins if they wish. But individuals are loathe to install something thats not on the plugins database these days. And larger organizations are often hosted by partners who don't make access to 3rd part plugins available easily. But its still true that even given those impediments, you could sell your plugin off-Moodle.org. I have tried, albeit a bit half heartedly. But it would be a great if there was something like the plugins database on Moodle.org for premium themes and plugins.
Because deep down, as a plugin developer, I want to make a bit of money and spend more time on the plugins I write. The list of my own plugins that I can't maintain due to time and commitments to contract work is now just embarassing. Perhaps I am an exception here. But I would like to know what others think about this, and if Moodle HQ will consider any initiatives in the direction of premium plugins.