Paid Drupal modules and distros will be successful: agree or disagree?

Give your opinion about this subject at the end of this article

Paid Drupal modules and distros will be successful: agree or disagree?

From May 9th until the 13th DrupalCon will take place in New Orleans. None other than our very own Development Director, Taco Potze, will talk about selling Drupal modules and distros. A sensitive topic, because it isn’t common to sell modules and distributions in the Drupal community yet. But does Drupal really differ in comparison to the WordPress community? In this community it is accepted and successful! Why couldn’t this be the case with Drupal?

Update: You are now able to watch the session at YouTube and Download the slides!



Whether open source communities can(not) be ‘commercialized’ is often discussed. This became even more clear when Matthew Tift wrote his article: Why Paid Drupal Modules Fail: Drupal as Art. It’s an interesting topic for passioned ‘Drupalistas’. Two arguments of Matthew against commercialization are:

  1. Modules and themes can only be distributed when terms and conditions of the ‘General Public License’ are met. This ensures the freedom of Drupal software. In other words, everyone should have limitless access to all code. There shouldn’t be any boundaries to modify and distribute it.
  2. ‘Business’ people see Drupal solely as a product. All efforts made with this product are intended to generate revenue. And this is bad.

Lullabot, a Drupal agency in the US, showed interest in this article and Taco's upcoming session. It inspired them to invite Taco, Matthew Tift and Robert Douglas to discuss about this topic on April 7th. There’s a podcast of this interesting discussion available here.

Selling Drupal modules and distros

Web development is evolving rapidly. People are continuously in touch with several online systems. Most systems have lots of different features. As a result of this client expectations has grown a lot. In order to stay successful, development agencies must be capable to fulfill all these expectations. Therefore, innovation has become a crucial element. Big investments are needed to support day-to-day innovation. It secures that development agencies (like us) will stay ahead. Looking at how GoalGorilla is evolving, it’s not a big suprise Taco is coming up with this topic. Mainly because we’re working hard on launching our first Drupal distribution product: Open Social. This new open-source platform will be released for free, where additional products, services and support can be acquired for a certain fee.

Next to Open Social we collaborated with Yoast. This to realize a premium SEO module: Yoast SEO for Drupal. Yoast is a great example of the success of a commercial product within an open-source community. The WordPress community has embraced the work of Yoast. With over 4 million active users, the WordPress SEO plugin has proven that users didn’t see boundaries to pay for this product. Yoast uses the income from this paid plugin to invest in further development of other free plugins.

Taco Potze

‘We want to discover how paid modules and distributions become successful in the Drupal community. We also want to inspire the community to invest more time in further development of their modules and distributions without losing the open culture of the community.’


- Taco Potze, Development Director, GoalGorilla


What’s your opinion about offering paid modules and distributions within the Drupal open-source community? Share your thoughts at the end of this article.


Taco's session on May 12th @ DrupalCon New Orleans

On Thursday May 12th the session of Taco will start at 13:00 PM. We expect a vivid discussion. Some of the topics highlighted in this session are:

  • Why did Yoast decide to offer a paid plugin?
  • How did their workforce grow from 1 to 30 employees as a result of their decision?
  • How paid modules and distributions will lead to more innovation in Drupal
  • GoalGorilla’s vision concerning ‘commercial’ Drupal modules
  • What does this mean for marketing and sales of modules and distributions?
  • What are disadvantages of commercialization for an open-source community?

Prior to this session at DrupalCon New Orleans Taco will write a few blogs for Read his first article about The Top 5.000 Drupal modules, second about The super long tail of Drupal modules, and third about Drupal 7 modules in Drupal 8 Core. Of course we’ll keep you informed about this session as well as responses from the Drupal community.

Open Social booth on May 11th

On Wednesday May 11th, starting at 10:15 AM, we are present at booth #116. Taco and Mieszko, founders of GoalGorilla, will present a demo of Open Social. Afterwards we welcome you to ask questions about Open Social. We are also looking forward to discuss more about paid modules and distributions in general. (Booth #116 is near to the coffee and food service!)

Taco and Mieszko at our Open Social booth during DrupalCon New Orleans 2016


Taco Potze

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