In the last week of this year Joomla announced that the Joomla Extensions Directory (JED) is going to be Only Joomla 1.5 GPL licensed Extensions as of July 1st 2009, and more importantly also all Joomla 1.0 extensions will be unpublished on the Juni 30th 2009.
After the Only GPL Listing announcement, there are heated debates on this decision on Joomla Forums and Blogs like for instance by Barrie North from Compassdesign and Steve Burge from Alledia, both stating there mind about where Joomla should go from here and how to evolve.
Af course this discussion is once again largely about the GPL License on which I am not an expert :-)
More interesting to me are the effects for Developers and users of the JED since Commercial and Encrypted Extensions will no longer be allowed into the Directory.
I want to point you to some nice discussions on the same GPL and Commercial extensions on some other Open Source Content Management Systems, just to show you that the debate is not that new:
- Drupal Forum post: Commercial version Question regarding GPL (Post form 2005!)
- WordPress Forum: Best practice for Commercial Plugins
- Typo3 Licenses: Licenses (You have to sign an agreement to prevent legal issues on the Copyright of the Code)
Reading those articles you will find one common idea on all of them, mainly that if you want to be listed, your extensions have to be GPL.
So it seems that Joomla is just catching up to the main stream now…well they are not that old so that, as one pointed out in the forum " these are just growing pains".
The Search Engine Optimization point of view
Well, it is not only SEO, but also a conversion issue (which in light of my previous post should be considered SEO!)
If you read the post on the WordPress forum the comment by Magic Toolbox is very clear and I quote "Without a listing in the directory, we've found it hard to promote the tool".
And this is actually the main reason for many Joomla Developers (not all) to react on the decision to ban commercial and encrypted extensions, they heavily rely on the JED to bring them their customers.
So for many their livelihood and business is at stake here and now they have to change their business model to sell support or build membership sites, which is completely different than what they are used to.
In the WordPress community there is one big example at the moment that has turned their business model around from selling themes to selling support and publishing their themes under GPL terms.
That means people like Brain Gardner and Jason Schuller and the rest of the Revolutiontwo team
Also the conversion of the old WordPress theme site and the more recent cleaning action of the WordPress Themes site to remove any non GPL and Themes with "sponsored" links (well actually buying links from theme developers to get more incoming links) has brought in a lot of comments.
If you look at the WordPress theme site (PR7) you will find at the bottom a link "Commercially Supported Themes", guess to what site that is going :-)
The Joomla Extension Directory currently has a PR8 ! which gives it a lot of power and possible page rank improvement for your website if you are in that directory!
Removal of the link will drop your ranking and visitors substantially. Some may have experienced this in the last months already as the JED team not only moved to a Joomla 1.5 based site, but also moved extensions into different categories.
The later actions was not that well noticed by most people, but did improve the usability of the directory itself.
So where to go for Joomla Developers? I really can't say, some will change there business model, others will try to hold there traffic an sales by using more PPC campaigns.
And some will need to improve their websites with some basic SEO Skills
What I do know is that Joomla 1.0.x website owners will be lost in finding extensions for their websites, so they either need to move to Joomla 1.5 (which is not an easy job) or not extend their sites anymore.
However there will probably will be a commercial site that will provide refuge for Joomla 1.0.x extensions as there is a very large installed based of Joomla 1.0.x sites that are not willing to move to 1.5
Looks like it is going to be a interesting year for Joomla! and the 4170 listed extensions that are currently on the Joomla Extensions site!
But to all of you, have a Happy New Year!