This is a sponsored review.
GPLclub is an interesting new take on purchasing premium themes, plugins and extensions. By joining the club (current cost $19/month [+ $28 signup fee] or $199/year [no signup fee]) you get access to premium plugins, themes and extensions like WooCommerce, Gravity Forms and WooThemes.
What’s on offer
GPLclub appears to have started out by offering WooCommerce extensions and themes – they currently offer 34 (ish) of the most popular WooCommerce extensions (there are over 200 in total) and 8 of the WooCommerce themes (there are over 40 on WooThemes) in their downloads section.
They also report to offer all current WooThemes on their signup page, though I couldn’t see every single one in the list of available downloads.
Lastly, they offer some select premium plugins, such as Gravity Forms, WPML and BackupBuddy.
How it works
Once you join the club, you have access to the whole list of available downloads and can download them at will: just log in and click on Download next to the item you want.
From there, you can install and activate the plugin/theme, just like you’re used to. These are the original items from the original authors, so you don’t need to worry about them not working. They will work just the same as if you bought them from the original developer.
The main difference is that, while you would usually get a license key from the developer for access to support and updates, you don’t get any license key with your purchase.
What that means is that your theme or plugin does not get access to automatic updates, or any kind of support. For as long as you are a member of GPLclub, you can always manually download updates and install them if you choose.
The other alternative is to pay for one-off items without being a member of the club: for example, you can buy Gravity Forms for $25 from GPLclub. By buying a one-off item, you are given access to 1 year of updates of the product.
How they can do it
At first, I wasn’t too keen on the idea: I’m a big supporter of WordPress businesses and the community and believe that those developers generally do not charge enough for their services and products, so to see someone undercutting their prices got to me at a deep place.
However, everything they are doing is legal (disclaimer: I am not a lawyer ya-da-ya-da). The code of these themes, plugins and extensions is licensed under the GPL license, meaning you are free to modify and distribute it, so once you have it, you can give it whomever you choose, which is what GPLclub are doing.
When you buy from the original developer, the main reason you pay such a premium is that you pay for access to support, which costs a lot of money for the developer to provide, so by just paying for the plugin or theme, and not the support, GPLclub can offer these items at a much-reduced rate.
Because what they’re doing is legal, if it wasn’t them doing it, then someone else would, so I have to applaud their entrepreneurial spirit: they came up with an idea (I’m not aware of a similar service) and are providing premium products to people who do not desire the support that usually comes with buying them straight from the developer.
In short, GPLclub is a place where you can buy premium plugins, themes and extensions without support, for a much lower price than the original developers might sell them for.