Please Let Me Tip WorPress Plugin Developers

As I was working on the mockup screens shown below, this post by Frank Chimero appeared and inspired me.

I am grateful for WordPress – it has been a friend to me in times of change. One of the things that make WordPress so great is the prolific Plugin repository. At the present there are 18 active plugins in my WordPress website. I’d like to show my gratitude to all these plugin developers by giving something back – the most obvious way to do this is by making a donation. Once, when I was getting started with WordPress I made one donation to a plugin that greatly empowered me. I don’t make donations anymore, and from what I’ve read about the dynamics of the community, not  many people do.

I asked myself why and I thought that (1) Money isn’t one of my current assets – I have very little of it; (2) If I were to make one donation, which to which plugin should I make it? I wouldn’t know how to choose;(3) My symbolic donation doesn’t feel like much (and I have a feeling that even when they are summed up small donations don’t amount to much).

But … I would gladly give a small sum periodically,something like $10 a year to the developer community if it was easy to do and if there was a good chance that others did too. Assuming there are 10 million blogs, and that only 2% of them made a similar donation, that would amount to $2,000,000 of donations distributed among plugin developers. Now that feels like something that could give a tremendous boost to WordPress and it’s community.

With that in mind I began thinking of a plugin. Before I present the plugin I would like to emphasize that the plugin itself is not enough. After the introduction of the plugin I will touch on the complementary challenges that may be required for this plugin to work… on to the show (click on the images to zoom in).

In it’s simple form the plugin should enable me to make a donation that is distributed to the plugins that I use on my WordPress installation. By default the sum would be distributed equally between all the plugins.

But if I wanted to get more involved I could choose to prioritize the plugins – indicating those that are more valuable to me and in doing that allocate more funds to them.

The plugin would enable me to review the accumulated effect I’ve had – by reviewing my past donations.

Finally, the plugin would enable me to experience the overall effect my small donation is a part-of. It would show me how the entire ecosystem is functioning – hopefully enabling me to feel proud to be a part of this.

It may be useful to have a reminder feature that appears once a year on the dashboard, inviting me to make another donation.

I believe that this plugin needs to be backed by a service that:

  1. Can accept the donations.
  2. Can aggregate the donations and information and calculate total donations to Plugin developers.
  3. Can distribute aggregated payments to the plugin developers
  4. Can provide a secure registration serice for Plugin developers (maybe this can be coupled with the registration process in the Plugin repository?)

Maybe the recently formed WordPress Foundation can support this activity?


  1. nascent
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    As a user, I must say that this is a fantastic idea and I would gladly donate if it were set up. This idea ought to be distributed widely within the community. I'm too new to the community to have any idea of how best to manage that, but surely there is some way to get it started. Perhaps opening a discussion on the forum, if that has not already been done?

  2. iamronen
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    I did post this at the WordPress Ideas forum – but to the best of my knowledge it was removed. I also don't know how to further circulate this.
    Thank you for casting your vote :) I appreciate it :)

  3. nascent
    Posted October 17, 2010 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    That's a shame that they removed discussion of it, though I suppose it doesn't fit with the open-source model WordPress is based on. Still, there are plugins, themes and frameworks based on WordPress openly for sale within the community, though not on the official site, so there would be support for the concept, I would think. I wish you all the best with it and do hope it somehow manages to take-off. It's a great idea and a wonderful way for those who wish to (and who are able to financially), to pay back those who work so hard to bring us such great resources.

  4. Posted December 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Did you get this plugin going? Sounds like a great idea. I'm currently looking at different solutions to the same problem.

    • iamronen
      Posted December 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      nope … no traction (yet!?) … have you got any ideas on how to make this happen?

      • Posted December 29, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        I just remembered a site doing something similar:

        And a quick google showed they have a WordPress plugin:

        Not exactly the same, but close enough? I guess we leave it up to those guys to get the scale, though they are focusing on more than WordPress plugins.

        • iamronen
          Posted December 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          That's an interesting direction!! I've known of flattr for quite a few months and I like what they are doing – and wanted to implement them on my personal blog … but I am not yet quite convinced.

          How can this work?:
          – Integrate flattr into the WordPress plugin respository?
          – Implement this plugin by sending requests to the plugin respository?

          I don't quite see it yet … but there is movement :)

          Thank you Brent!

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