The simple act of selling stuff comes with considerable overhead. For example, there are tax considerations (like the European VAT), regional payment methods availability concerns (PayPal is not supported worldwide), the need to issue invoices for bookkeeping purposes, handling subscription renewals even when credit cards expire and so on.
When it comes to selling plugin licenses, there is also overhead added by the necessity to continuously check the license validity. There are refunds to consider, license upgrade/downgrade events and so on.
Maintaining such an infrastructure can easily become a full-time job and takes away precious time from us. That time is much better invested by building new plugins, new features into existing ones, fixing bugs, and handling support requests.
Instead of building and maintaining an advanced licensing system, we’ve decided to outsource that task to Freemius. The people behind it describe Freemius as a managed eCommerce platform for selling digital products. Moreover, they’ve been around since 2014 and have a good track record of being a reliable and trustworthy partner.
How does it work?
When you purchase one of our plugins, you will be actually paying Freemius. They act as a reseller on our behalf. It’s Freemius that you share your billing address and payment details directly with.
After your purchase, you will receive 2 emails from Freemius on our behalf:
- An email containing your license key and download + install instructions
- An email containing your Freemius account credentials
What does the checkout experience have to do with the plugins?
While the checkout experience is an important part of the purchasing process, license management and basic analytics data are important too. That’s where Freemius also helps.
All of our plugins are bundled with the Freemius Software Development Kit (SDK) which handles the aforementioned stuff. Basically when you activate one of our plugins you’ll normally be redirected to a Freemius-powered screen asking for your permission to keep track of some diagnostics data which also includes the validity of your license.
You can read more about the difference between free and paid products and why opting-in is encouraged for each of them in Freemius’ own FAQ here. You can also choose to opt-out at any point by following the steps outlined here.
What data is being tracked?
The only sensitive data being stored are your admin name and email. Nothing else related to your business or your site users is being tracked. The admin email is required in order to reach out to you regarding potential security updates, feature announcements etc. Tracking data is sent to Freemius once you opt-in and every 24 hours afterwards (as long as the plugin is active).
The exact extent of the data being tracked is available in Freemius’ FAQ here. The list also includes the reason why each of those data points are being tracked.
Why do we do this?
Freemius also answers this best when they argue for data-driven decisions against guesses and “gut feelings” . Here’s a few examples why said data is invaluable to us:
- Knowing which WordPress/PHP versions our customers use helps us maintain a cleaner code base and cuts down on development time between releases
- Knowing which languages our customers use helps us prioritize those translations and put more resources into support in said languages
- Knowing which themes our customers use lets us test compatibility before releasing new versions
The list is not exhaustive but it should give you a feeling as to why this type of data is important to us and how it can be useful to you too if we know this.
If you have more data-privacy concerns regarding Freemius, a good place to start is their data tracking concerns FAQ. If you have even more questions, we’ll try our best to answer them if you reach out to us.