Kill, Sell or Open Source?

Tao

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When I used to build spam "thin sites" with Wordpress, I developed and sold a plugin that allows you to bulk create pages and posts based on a set of keywords and spun content.

For example, you could enter a list of keywords:

red widget
blue widget
pink widget


And in the content area, use spintax to generate the post content using "placeholders":

Buy {the|our} %%keyword%% from our {cool|neat|online|ecommerce} {shop|store}!

The plugin cycles through each keyword and creates a post for each one, replacing %%keyword%% with the relevant text.

Through various iterations over the years, it increased in complexity and I have added in more placeholders, options and features.

It is still for sale and sells the odd copy now and then, but I am losing the will to keep it updated and tested, especially because I am not that interested in building spam thin sites any more. God knows how it will work with Gutenberg.

I have been toying with the idea of releasing the plugin code as open source, for others to build upon or improve but am not sure how much it will piss off my existing customers. Or, I might be able to sell the plugin to another developer - I am sure it will still have its uses, but will only appeal to blackhat types I think.

Has anyone been in a similar situation before with things like this that they were selling but not enthusiastic about? Looking for advice on if I should kill it, place it on Github or try to sell it on somewhere.
 

Ryuzaki

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I'd say not to open source it. Sell it to someone interested in maintaining it. There's tons of plugin sellers that probably wouldn't mind feeling it out and adding it to their collection.

Alternatively, pay someone else to go through it and ensure it's still good, and then continue selling it. When motivation declines, who ya gonna call? "Outsourced Laborers!"
 
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I'd say not to open source it. Sell it to someone interested in maintaining it. There's tons of plugin sellers that probably wouldn't mind feeling it out and adding it to their collection.
I agree with Ryuzaki on this. Especially if you have usage statistics and know how many sites your plugin is installed on, there is at least some value in it as an asset. Through open-sourcing you will get zilch (unless clients find your through your Github page or something).

Still, even if you only sell it for $100, I would say that is better than "killing it".

On the other hand, it you are actively maintaining a resume of your projects that you've developed, putting the plugin out there as open source would be a great resume item (Created XYZ that allows users to do ABC and the code that I open sourced has been forked by 3,000 developers globally since 2019) and could help you score a higher paid developer salary.
 
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Tao

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Thanks for the sane advice guys.
Yes, killing it is probably a bit extreme!