When I started building Simple Sponsorships, I wanted to try and grow it a little bit faster. So I searched for other plugins that are doing something similar. I stumbled on Sponsors and I saw that the plugin had a lot of open threads and was not updated for the latest WordPress version.
Since the plugin Sponsors used the same post type, it was a great way of extending it for users that installed Simple Sponsorships as well. They would get new features without changing anything.
I went on the search for the author of the plugin and I found his new website. It seemed that the author of it went in a different route, building things outside of the WordPress ecosystem.
So I decided to contact him directly if he is thinking of still developing the plugin or if he would be willing to sell it to me. He told me that he does not have time for it and would like to sell it.
Deciding on the Value of the Acquisition
Because Simple Sponsorships was not profitable I did not want to put too much money on it, but again, a pool of 4,000-5,000 active installs is still worth something.
Plugins with a lot of active installs, even if free, could be great traffic for new leads and contacts. This is especially true for customizations and such. Because, even if free, custom development can be done separately from it and in return, get you some good revenue.
In the case of developing great relationships, this can potentially lead to other projects from the same clients, although, such things are rare, they still can happen.
I couldn’t afford to give $1,000 or more for it since my decision to purchase it was primarily to get leads and users for Simple Sponsorships.
I decided to offer $500 for it since the plugin was a free one, not generating any income, and that was 10% of active installs back then (5,000 * 0,1 = 500), so I played a bit with math on it 😀
The offer was accepted!
Transfering rights and money
Since this amount was not a big one, and I built some trust with the author, I decided to pursue this without any legal documents. Don’t do that.
I was lucky enough that everything went through without issues.
The Sponsors plugin was hosted on Github so the author had to transfer the repository to me. To learn how to transfer a Github repository, you can read their documentation.
Before the author transferred anything, I sent the money through PayPal on their account.
The day after, he transferred ownerships for the repository and the plugin. Luckily, the plugin had less than 10,000 active installs and the transfer is much easier.
For transferring plugin ownerships on the WordPress Plugin Repository, you have to add the new owner as a contributor/committer and then once that is updated, on the Advanced tab, select to transfer the plugin. You can read that on Plugin Handbook.
With free software, acquisitions might go smoother and much easier than when doing with software, such as a WordPress plugin, that has a premium version, which generates revenue and has a huge number of active installs.
I would definitely consider signing a legal document next time as those hours between the time I transferred the money and got the ownership, was a really long time 😀