WooCommerce User Creates Site To Download Paid For Extensions For Free.

P***ed Off WooCommerce user releases all paid extensions to download for free.

WooCommerce recently changed their renewal system, instead of them being 50% at renewal stage, they will now be full price. Some of you may have read my previous thoughts on this when I mentioned why “WooCommerce is going to cost you more money.”

For those who have not read my post on why WooCommerce is going to cost you more, I mentioned that WooCommerce went about this the wrong way, they went ahead without even telling anyone.

Which to me just isn’t cricket.

Well for one WooCommerce user, that was the last straw

I visited WPChat earlier, I dip in every know and again. And read with interest a forum post called “Did WooCommerce just hire Donald Trump, or is Automattic Bat Shit Crazy?”.

I recommend you take a look.

It would seem the user has had enough of WooCommerce, reading through the forum message, it turns out our disgruntled user was hit with the cost of $10,000 for his renewals, instead of the 50% cost of $5,000.

We do share in thought that WooCommerce didn’t even have the common courtesy of letting customers know. Which was a bad mistake.

Well he does rave on about this and that in the forum message, and I do sympathize with him to a degree. It was the last section that got me:

So in retaliation, I have decided to release all of the extensions I have purchased from WooCommerce for free. No catches, no gimmicks. Go and download them all right now before they close me down or try to sue me. -> http://woorefugee.com

It would appear our user is seeking revenge!

Well the extensions are under the GPL license which allows you to distribute them freely with some caveats of course. So from that point of view the user isn’t technically doing anything wrong.

I’m all for fighting the corner and standing your ground on matters, but is this a step to far? Through conversation the comments go onto the legal element of  using ‘Woo’ in the domain name.

Then in gets interesting

In another thread by WooRefugee pretty much the same day, boom. Automattic send an email detailing the infringement of the Woo trademarks. The user is not shy by posting the details of the email on the form thread here.

There’s a bit of a dig from one of the Auttomattic team in the comments:

Thanks for making us aware of your site by joining our WooCommerce Slack and asking for developers to help you in your scam

To which the user replies:

When I went into that chat room, it was to specifically inquire if anyone needed any extra work and that I was willing to pay them DOUBLE what they get at Woo for support. Whatever your opinion on me – It’s wrong. I am not trying to ‘scam’ anyone.

In fact – I was banned when I asked this question. I then posted a message on the WooCommerce reddit group, and it was deleted. And now I am getting lots of emails from WooCommerce developers giving me grief… WTF GUYS? No wonder your support takes nearly a week to get resolved… Too busy with silly disputes.

Secondly, I am not using the trademark incorrectly. It’s nominate fair use and I have made the changes required. I would remortgage my house and fight this in court if I needed to. Everything I am doing is completely legitimate.

I download the OFFICIAL WooCommerce extensions and give them away for free. If you don’t like it, don’t use the site. But I am not doing anything illegal.

Get a grip.

It would seem the site in question WooRefugee is up and running at present. Whether it will be with that name is anyone’s guess. I think it will appear again in the future under a different guise.

Do I agree with them?

No I don’t agree at all with the way they have gone about things. I can see their point of course, it all boils down to communication and forewarning. If that had been done this ugly mess wouldn’t be happening.

If there was proper communication in advance before renewals were due to land, then users can at least provision a change to a new cost effective platform. Developers could have given a choice to their customers when it came to renewal and such.

I don’t agree with putting all the Auttomatic’s developers hard work out for all and sundry to use for free. Couple of reasons why I don’t:

Firstly – Personally I think it’s too much, again I sympathize with the user, but this is a step too far for me.

Secondly – As a paying customer, someone is giving away access to extensions, that I physically paid for, that makes me a little angry in truth.

Looking at the WooRefugee website

The WooRefugee website offers a paid for membership as well. For VIP members to access faster download speeds, even more WooCommerce extensions (you have to be a VIP to access).

Pricing strats from $25.00 per month, $250 for the year or $500.00 for a lifetime. In its current format with having Woo in the title, I can imagine the site owner will have fun transferring all the memberships over to a new domain!

This money is then used by WooRefuge to renew extensions and maintain the website, according to a statement on their website.

What do you think? Will you use WooRefugee?

Will you be a ‘WooRefugee’? Do you agree with their actions? Let me know with a comment will be interesting to read your points of view.

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