you may have read, Magento Connect is being replaced by Magento Marketplace. What’s the difference? Both let you search for and find Magento Extensions. However, Magento Marketplace will also let you purchase extensions directly. Is that the best way to get an extension? We’ll explore that in this post.
What is/was Magento Connect?
Established seven years ago, Magento Connect is a directory for Magento extensions. Extensions are the most powerful aspect of Magento, in our opinion. By allowing third party devs to add capabilities to the core product, merchants can customize their store at a very low cost. In fact, there are now thousands of extensions. They are typically priced from $100-$400. Many are free.
Additionally, Magento set some standards about what extensions could be listed. Developers (devs) had to provide documentation, submit icons and images in a particular format and agree to follow some basic rules, like their extension wasn’t a copy of someone else’s extension. Listing takes at least a month.
So What’s Magento Marketplace
A few years ago, Magento announced it’s Marketplace initiative. The announced purpose was to provide a better way to list, find and install extensions. As part of the plan, testing extensions thoroughly to confirm functionality, and that they didn’t contain bootlegged code. Good sounding stuff.
However, the desire to make money from extensions seems to be a bigger factor. A private equity firm now owns Magento. Private equity firms are not know for being patient waiting for profits. They want them now. And now, Magento takes a 30% cut of the sale. Further, getting approved takes weeks, sometimes months, or not ever.
The result of these changes seems like a decreased number of available extensions and higher priced extensions. That’s a logical reaction by devs who need to do more work to get listed, and get a smaller percentage of the sale. Small devs have a hard time jumping through the hoops. Bigger devs who can jump through the hoops now have less competition and can now charge more.
Is There a Better Way To Buy an Extension?
We think so. First, we suggest trying the Ecommerce Extensions Directory. This free directory contains thousands for Magento 1.x and 2.x extensions. It has a good search and includes more extensions than either Magento Connect or Magento Marketplace.
Second, we recommend buying directly from the dev’s websites. This gives them more margin. And when you need support, another 30% to work with. Further, sometimes their sites have sales or coupons, frequently around holidays. Also, when you create an account for your order, you can get support using that account. Altogether, you’ll have a much easier time working with them.
In conclusion, we appreciate Magento’s attempt to better vet the available extensions. However, the desire to monitize extensions will have pervurse effect of decreasing the choices for Magento merchants. The key point to take away is that you can get more choices, and better support. Use other search tools and by buying directly from the extension devs.