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Jos Groenewegen
Suggestion / discussion point for sale options of marketplace apps
October 17, 2012 9:54 AM
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Jos Groenewegen

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Join Date: October 16, 2012

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Hello Everyone,

As you can see this is my first post on the liferay forums, so please forgive any stupid mistakes I might make and help me correct them ;) (I've read the FAQ / Introduction and believe this is the best forum to post my suggestion).

At the Liferay Europe symposium today we got a presentation by Brian Kim about the way the Liferay Marketplace sale options are going to work and the licensing models they're looking at. It was clear there are going to be a lot of ways to buy these marketplace apps / plugins ranging from a single cost model to a pay-per-user model. At the same time there are going to be options to select which users get a certain app so that buying a feature can be done for a limited user set.

However all the payment methods currently in development (ranging from licensing to full scale payment) are aimed at the liferay instance owner / administrator buying and rolling out an app. Another option would be to have end-users pay for the use of an application. This would basically allow you as an administrator to offer an extra feature which the end-user can pay for / acquire. For the more social / open oriented liferay instances out there this would allow the use of good integration apps (with Facebook, Twitter etc that cost money) without the administrator having to bear the costs.
It'd also allow for a real pay-by-use model by the end-users desiring a feature. It's actually not so different from how Blackboard works with their Blackboard mobile learn app these days (where the students can pay to get mobile access to Blackboard through Blackboard's app instead of an educational institution having to pay for all their students).

Anyway I'd be curious to hear everyone's thoughts on this. Would there be any demand for a marketplace payment option where the end-user instead of the liferay administrator would have to pay to be able to use a marketplace feature / portlet?

And again, as I said at the start of my post this is my first post so if this belongs elsewhere or you feel information is missing I'd be glad to hear them. I got the impression marketplace specific features / discussions belonged in the marketplace category instead of the liferay portal category but if I'm wrong I'm sure you'll all tell me.
Victor Zorin
RE: Suggestion / discussion point for sale options of marketplace apps
October 17, 2012 3:25 PM
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Victor Zorin

Rank: Liferay Legend

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Join Date: April 14, 2008

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However all the payment methods currently in development (ranging from licensing to full scale payment) are aimed at the liferay instance owner / administrator buying and rolling out an app. Another option would be to have end-users pay for the use of an application.

Anyway I'd be curious to hear everyone's thoughts on this. Would there be any demand for a marketplace payment option where the end-user instead of the liferay administrator would have to pay to be able to use a marketplace feature / portlet?


Liferay marketplace is probably not to be the place where the service/application provider would want to direct the user to make payments. However access to such generic pay-per-use functionality would be very useful to all application developers.

Based on own experience, there are already operational applications/portlets which utilize on-demand with pay-per-use licensing model. We expect to publish one portlet with on-demand capability on Marketplace within the next 30 days (company approval is already granted). The pay-per-use licensing model this portlet uses is fairly flexible and includes:
- predefined account-keeping monthly fee,
- plan-based transaction fees,
- externally bundled additional services transaction fees, if any
- periodic payment and automatic top-up model
- change of subscription plan on the fly with transfer of credits

Again, engaging in pay-per-use model is very business-specific, and must be justified, which is pretty hard in an open-source environment.

In our case, this pay-per-use model is only used when the customer does not have the experience of deploying and running enterprise application in-house and chooses the option to join the shared cloud-based infrastructure, where the portlet runs on customer's own Liferay portal instance but the high-complexity engine runs externally.

Thanks Jos for raising interesting question. I would also like to hear about similar experiences and feature suggestions.
Hitoshi Ozawa
RE: Suggestion / discussion point for sale options of marketplace apps
October 17, 2012 4:02 PM
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Hitoshi Ozawa

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Posts: 7990

Join Date: March 23, 2010

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Yes, but I concluded that this option doesn't concern liferay.com's Marketplace. Just create a front end plugin that's connect to your service. Make the portlet available at Marketplace for "free" so any user can download it. You'll have to do the accounting yourself because Marketplace is just a way to distribute plugins and does not provide a platform to offer ASP service.
One of the technical difficulty is with login. Users will have to login to use the service. If it's a large account, it's possible to setup SAML. It's possible to use liferay to build backend services. Used esb mule to do the service accounting.

If you're interested, we can offer technical consulting service to make this happen. :-)
Jos Groenewegen
RE: Suggestion / discussion point for sale options of marketplace apps
October 17, 2012 10:28 PM
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Jos Groenewegen

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Join Date: October 16, 2012

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Thanks for the replies guys emoticon. I wasn't looking to start selling a payment by the end-user application myself so technical consulting to set it up isn't needed right now.

It seems clear that this is possible (by setting up a payment module yourself inside your portlet). The question is if the demand to be able to sell applications like this (or buy applications like this) is broad enough that it should be a 'default' buying option (saving the developers a lot of hassle). Much like there will be licensing, licensing per user group, lump sump payment, sales taxes handled on each of these etc.

But as Victor made clear there are apready applications which have this build in (and the ones that do seem to be a very specific set).
I'm not posting this as a developer wishing to sell this way mind, but as a user of a university with an enterprise edition (25000 users) where we'd be open to offer nice portlets but if they have a high cost per user (especially per student) would be hard pressed to pay for them emoticon.

Classifying this as 'not a marketplace sales option' is a bit quick though. I'm certainly not anxious to download new app's from the marketplace to then find the first thing I get is a login screen requesting payment (and hoping that it actually works ;) ). From the downloaders point of view it doesn't turn out to be a free app after all. If it starts being a common feature (even if self build) it should be a payment option in the marketplace that isn't implemented (but is shown when you download an app). But as I said, if it starts happening a lot. If it's as rare (and demand is as low) as you guys suggest then it should probably be shelfed untill demand ever rises.

At least we can say it has been discussed as a payment / sales option (from the marketplace) and been dismissed due to lack of demand. :-)

I'd say, case closed and idea shelfed unless a sudden outcry of demand rises up.
Victor Zorin
RE: Suggestion / discussion point for sale options of marketplace apps
October 17, 2012 11:57 PM
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Victor Zorin

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I'd say, case closed and idea shelfed unless a sudden outcry of demand rises up.

I think it is important to keep it open, market changes very fast, and we (at least I) use Liferay mostly in corporate environments, where the organisations pay, not end-users.
In other consumer-related areas, social spaces, mobile-related apps, etc your feature suggestion could become extremely appealing, and this can happen tonight, when someone else looks at your post.
Hitoshi Ozawa
RE: Suggestion / discussion point for sale options of marketplace apps
October 18, 2012 6:45 AM
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Hitoshi Ozawa

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Join Date: March 23, 2010

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Salesforce offers such pricing. It seems very appealing to small businesses. Have a trial free period to start using and a monthly charge after that. Organizations tend to uses these services because they can test to start using it without too much initial investment. They usually turn to server installation when number of users increase.