sunset over horizon

Have you started a WordPress theme or plugin that didn’t quite succeed like you had hoped it would? It might be time to sunset your WordPress product.

There’s 2 major things to consider: your mental health & your existing customers/users. When I spun down my first go at WordPress themes, it was embarrassing. The crazy thing was, the embarrassment was only in my head. I didn’t want to give up, I wanted to keep going. Shutting it down felt like a failure. It took me years to realize that shutting down, provided me more clarity and the best lessons in marketing I’ve ever learned.

But how do you relay this to your customers? Especially if the recently paid you? Today’s episode of Product Talk featuring Kim Coleman, Devin Walker, and Matt Cromwell will touch on all the points I just mentioned.

Be sure to follow them and tune in to their Twitter Space every week!

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Matt: This is WP Product Talk. And this is, what is this now,

[00:00:04] Kim: Kim? Our fourth. I did, I counted this morning, our fourth episode.

[00:00:09] Matt: Awesome. I can’t believe it’s actually running and going and pretty smooth. I gotta say. We are today gonna be talking about when and how to sunset a product that is struggling and I might open up the mic to a couple other folks to share some sob stories as well.

[00:00:25] Folks who might have sunset some things themselves in the past. So, stick around. Maybe raise your hand if you got a story to share briefly, cuz we do try to keep it to just 40 minutes if at all possible. And, or if you wanna chime in to the conversation in any way whatsoever, tweet out there with the hashtag WP product talk.

[00:00:45] No spaces, no hashtag or no, no dashes or things like that, just. WP product talk and we’ll pay attention to what’s going on out there and try to get folks chiming in as much as possible. And I’ll as always, I want to give a shout up to the WP Minute that has been redistributing these episodes for us.

[00:01:03] If you wanna catch up on it later, you can check us out on Spotify and all those cool podcast spots. Thanks to Matt Madeiros and the WP Minute. So that is the introduction. I am Matt Cromwell one of the co-founders of Give WP at Stellar WP doing all kinds of fun marketing and support stuff with Ithe and Cadence and iconic.

[00:01:24] And I have just been having fun with WVU product talk and Kimberly Coleman recently. So, Kimberly, tell us a little bit about

[00:01:32] Kim: yourself. Thanks, Matt. I am Kimberly Coleman. I’ve been working with WordPress. I think 15 years at this point. Building products for the last, last 12 years, our flagship product is a membership plugin, paid membership pro, and we’re trying to push some new products and, and trying to see where that works in our ecosystem.

[00:01:49] So, this talk is especially poignant for me at this time.

[00:01:53] Matt: Awesome. And last but not least my longtime business partner and friend Devin Walker is joining us as a co-host today. Devin, tell the world about yourself.

[00:02:04] Devin: Hey. Yeah, my name’s Devin Walker and co-founder as well of give WP also at Liquid Web doing a lot of the products, strategy and building for.

[00:02:17] All the same brands Matt just mentioned. Ithe Cadence give WP Iconic. Yeah, so really enjoying that and happy to be on the

[00:02:25] Matt: show. Awesome. Thanks for being here. So subject at hand, how, when and why to sunset a product essentially. Every once in a while you’ve launched something. You love it, it’s your baby, but it’s got to go in one form or another.

[00:02:40] We’ve all seen it happen. Customers hate it when they see it happen. They’re sad and bummed. They’re like, I invested in this thing and now it’s gone. Or it’s like free, but nobody’s supporting it anymore. It, it can be difficult. It can be thorny. But sometimes it also, I think, is probably the absolute best business decision to make hardest but best.

[00:02:59] [00:03:00] So I wanna go around the circle real quick and just start us off with why is this such an important subject, especially in the WordPress product space. What are the consequences of not sun or struggling pro product? That’s that’s where we’re gonna kick it off. Kim, do you have some thoughts

[00:03:17] Kim: there?

[00:03:17] Absolutely. So for us you can become so thinly spread with the ideas in, in an entrepreneur’s head with the ideas that are generated from, our 15 person team. And I think you can make a lot of mistakes by launching a lot of things and, and not having strategies behind them. So for me, this is an important talk because it, it should focus not only on the product and the potential and the what ifs, but you know, Are we the right team for this now?

[00:03:42] And is this a distraction from other markets we could be entering or other time we could spend? So, I think people would generally lean toward focusing on like, this is such a cool thing. It’s my, like Matt said, it’s my baby. But at the same time, you, you can’t have more than one baby out there that can really be your focus at any given moment.

[00:04:01] We all try, but

[00:04:02] Matt: it’s hard. Yeah, absolutely. Devin, what’s your take? Why is this such an important subject, especially for small upcoming WordPress product shops?

[00:04:14] Devin: Yeah, well, I totally agree about the focus. I see a lot of companies or or individuals out there that try to get a lot of product out and it, they lose their focus and they never really meet their goals because they are stretched too thin.

[00:04:28] But also, I think that we’re approaching, well, we already have 60,000 plus plugins on, and I would say quite a few of those are probably needing to be sunset. So being responsible as a developer and not leaving, code out there that’s either vulnerable, doesn’t work anymore, it’s just lacking in quality is also an important thing on top of a bunch of other reasons as well.

[00:04:54] Matt: Absolutely. So being just a responsible owner sometimes means letting it go. That’s a good point actually. Cool. Cool. So, one thing we’ve been kind of making a habit of is story time. Um mm-hmm. , let’s talk about it. I thought we might start with Kim Devin and I’s stories are basically the same , so, but maybe from different perspectives.

[00:05:14] So we’ll chime in and whatnot, but I want to hear from Kim first and. What is like the fish that got away? What is like the one big product that you were like, Oh, I really wish that would’ve survived and really would’ve made it. But we had to let it go. And tell us a little bit about the why’s and all that.

[00:05:29] For sure. So

[00:05:30] Kim: for us, it’s gonna, it was a non-Word Press product, and I hope that that is okay. But it, it taught us a lot of business lessons. It was a social network for wine drinkers that we launched. Right after I graduated college, Jason and I kind of got into wine drinking. We, there was one big competitor in this space called Seller Tracker.

[00:05:50] And we were seeing a rise in, the use of Facebook and other social networks and, and we wanted to create a tool where people could get wine recommendations based [00:06:00] on, the social ai, looking at what other people liked and, and were drinking. So we built that with no business model.

[00:06:07] At all. We built it for fun. We learned a lot, but when I look back on that, there were opportunities to make money to keep developing it, but our life at the time, it didn’t fit our life at the time we were starting a family. We were stretched very thin and we had to focus on the projects that could pay us.

[00:06:26] And through that I think is how we have paid memberships pro through the decision to, to stop building something that was really just a scratch and inch, a fun thing that didn’t have a monetization behind it. And instead it, let us free the time up to develop something that has grown and, and become, our sole product at this point.

[00:06:45] So, but super emotional because of how connected we were in developing it. The friends that we made along the way building it and it was, it was a, just recently something Jason took off. And it was a cathartic moment because it still existed and, maybe irresponsibly so still existed in, in a shape that it hadn’t been looked at for many, many years.

[00:07:04] So lots of lessons learned, but I think it has made us start with product market fit, start with a revenue model before we build that fun, shiny thing. Hmm.

[00:07:13] Matt: I mean that does sound like a bit painful, especially because of sounds like you had like people who really were involved in that. Like there was a community.

[00:07:22] There

[00:07:22] Kim: was, we met a lot of interesting people who just loved wine and love the community of it. We had a few people who were kind of bloggers and, and talking about using their wine log. I know the, the concept of it isn’t a bad idea, but there’s enough tools out there to help people manage their sellers and, communities that can help people get recommendations for wine.

[00:07:41] So it is what

[00:07:42] Matt: it is. Mm-hmm. . Still drinking wine

[00:07:46] Devin: though, right?

[00:07:46] Oh

[00:07:47] Kim: yeah. ,

[00:07:49] Matt: That’s good. But you’re not getting paid to drink. Well, I guess we’re getting paid either.

[00:07:54] Kim: That was part of the problem. , we used to write off some of our wine, which was a cool side effect of having that as a business because we spoke about what we drank and we shared reviews of it.

[00:08:04] I don’t know. It’s interest.

[00:08:06] Matt: Oh man, Devin, we’re in the wrong business for me. . Yeah,

[00:08:09] Devin: so, So you built a social network, not on WordPress. You didn’t use BB Press or Buddy

[00:08:14] Kim: Press or anything like that? Yeah, this, I mean, this was in 2006. the years 2007. It was early stages for when people saw WordPress as the backbone of a web application, not how we see it today, that it can power such robust sites.

[00:08:31] It was very early days. I, we had like a version 3.0 or whatever it was that was gonna be WordPress based, but we never got that off the ground for, for these reasons. You have to, pay your bills.

[00:08:43] Matt: Right, Right. Yeah, absolutely. Was there like any one particular moment when you just looked at it and you were like, Oh man, we gotta let this go.

[00:08:54] Like, was there any kind of one like thing? Yeah, we

[00:08:59] Kim: circumstance, [00:09:00] we took an investor, which was really cool. because it wasn’t a total bad story. Looking back, that person’s investment we thought was coming with expertise and with support and coaching, and it really just was money. Mm-hmm. , which was strange.

[00:09:15] And it, now I, I’ve never had another investment in anything I’ve done, but looking back on that, I know that I would get that clarified up front. How much involved are you going to be in this product? You’re giving us your money. Is it just a. And you’re gonna walk away. Are you just throwing, thousands of dollars here and there?

[00:09:30] Because you have that kind of cash flow. But luckily that, that, that doesn’t make it so sour when, when we do make the decision to, to close that down because it enabled us to buy our first house and, we learned a lot through that. I’ll keep saying that because it’s the truth.

[00:09:46] Matt: Hmm.

[00:09:48] Awesome. Cool. Well, let’s keep going around the circle. Devin, I was gonna leave the story time to you. We have a couple different ones that we could talk about in terms of Of things that we have sunset along the way and why? Because each of them has a little bit of a different story.

[00:10:06] But which one do you think you’d like to talk about? I can volunteer one, but what do you want? I think

[00:10:11] Devin: let’s talk about Maps Builder. That’s a good story. Exactly

[00:10:15] Matt: what I was thinking.

[00:10:16] Devin: I figured that. Yeah. You want me to kick this off you, man? It’s all you. All right. So Maps Builder was both a free plugin on and a pro plugin that we sold on our previous website.

[00:10:30] Essentially it was a way to visually build Google Maps for variety of. Uses you could do pinpoints, you could do location mapping. And the way that it differentiated itself was that you weren’t really clicking options to make build the maps. You were actually interacting with the map itself, and it was tied heavily with the Google Maps api.

[00:10:56] and it had some really good initial adoption and momentum in, in the marketplace and we were pretty excited about it until Google started changing some things with the api, which made it much more difficult for our end users to work with it. So, The main difference there was that they started requiring API keys in order to work with Google Maps and in order to obtain the Google API key or the Google Maps API key.

[00:11:26] It’s gotten a little better today, but. Back then, you had to go through the developer console on Google. You had to enter your billing information, you had to assign your API key to a project. I, I forget all the steps, but it was quite a complicated process to get that going. And and that was really difficult for end users.

[00:11:49] So support went. Way high on that. And when we started getting some negative views from people getting that struggling from the get go on that. The second struggle I remember was [00:12:00] that JavaScript conflicts, so a lot of different themes and plugins also used Google Maps API and would include that within their within their code base.

[00:12:12] And they would use different versions. They would attach different functionality on top of it. And it was just so conflicting with various themes and plugins that that also made the support go up quite a bit. Yeah. I could go on for, for this, but is that Yeah, no. And what you

[00:12:28] Matt: recollect Matt.

[00:12:29] Yeah. Also related to the like, kind of Jake conflicting thing was you had to load the Google Maps api in order for it to work, but a lot of themes or other plugins were also loading the Maps API themselves. And sometimes they were loading them in weird ways. And those would conflict with them, set with each other and like that, it’s a, it’s still a problem in WordPress to this day that, that sometimes different plugins and themes want to load the same JavaScript library and it becomes problematic for different products.

[00:13:00] Yeah.

[00:13:01] Devin: And at the same time we had give wp, which was growing quite a. And it was really going back to what Kim said earlier about focus and how we realized, we took a step back and realized, Hey, this is really distracting us. It’s taking away from the potential of our up and coming flagship product.

[00:13:21] Because it was really starting to take off at that time. And we looked around and we, we said, Hey, potentially we could offload this and, and either have somebody adopt it or maybe make a couple dollars on. We weren’t looking for much. I remember you, Matt looked quite a bit for somebody, but nobody was really interested in, In the end, we decided to just sunset

[00:13:43] Matt: it.

[00:13:44] Yeah, we had a few folks who were kicking the tires. Pretty, pretty seriously, but not seriously enough to go through all of the effort and whatnot. It was tough. Like we even, we, we, we went through a whole rebrand experience with it. And like also had like a, we did a competition for the kind of mascot we had like a, a Google map pin that was, we, we called them Penny in the end or something.

[00:14:07] It was, You had a little

[00:14:08] Devin: hard hat on. I

[00:14:09] Matt: remember that exactly. Yeah.

[00:14:12] Kim: Can I ask, like, looking back on that If you still had that product today, do you think, or if you were the, the people you are today at that product existed in today’s marketplace, do you see a different future panning out or do you think it it wasn’t a question of the times or an experience thing, it was just the right choice.

[00:14:30] Devin: I, I think it was the right choice. It would probably be a pretty sustainable product for an individual. But I don’t think you could build a whole team or ecosystem around it personally. First off, we’d have to rewrite the whole thing and react and make it block based, which would be a pretty big undertaking in of itself.

[00:14:49] And Yeah, so I don’t think it would be a multimillion dollar product, but, maybe low six figures.

[00:14:56] Matt: Mm-hmm. . Yeah, it had a really nice visual [00:15:00] editing experience that honestly I think at the time was really a bit cutting edge. But yeah, you’re right, we’d have to swap it out a lot differently today.

[00:15:09] Yeah, I, I don’t know. There, there’s a couple maps things out there still that are doing Okay. But it definitely for us, I think when it comes to that focus issue, like it definitely contributed to the growth and development of Give WP by us saying no by us. Mm-hmm. letting it go. Like, that, that, that was definitely the right decision for sure.

[00:15:30] I do wish somebody would’ve picked it up though. That would’ve been nice and see where that would’ve gone from.

[00:15:35] Kim: Yeah, I think that that’s a curious part of this is even though you had some people that might have been interested financially, what part of that conversation was like, are they gonna take care of the people using it or would we be better served?

[00:15:47] Kind of like you said, sun setting it and managing those relationships. Did you, did that factor into kind of the decision making process, how you would handle the existing user base?

[00:15:58] Matt: In

[00:15:58] Devin: terms of Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, we definitely gave I think it was at least six months heads up. We, we did it in earlier in the year and we gave it to the end of the year to support it.

[00:16:09] We actually sent out a couple updates as well. And then we put a notice in the plugin that, it’s probably wiser to move on to another solution. So we, we definitely made sure communication was clear on, on our decision.

[00:16:22] Matt: Mm-hmm. , We also made the, the pro version cuz it was a free and a pro version.

[00:16:26] We also made the pro version available for download on GitHub. Which, I don’t know how customers felt about that specifically, but it did help anybody who really wanted to get more advanced features for a while. So. Yeah, that is our sob story. And oh, Devin has a couple other examples actually.

[00:16:49] But we won’t go into those. We, we have several products that are left along the way by, over the . So cool. So, real quick answering a couple of the big questions. We talked a little bit about why we, we need to sunset a product. I think one of ’em in particular is definitely just that it’s not doing well in particular.

[00:17:07] And Devin highlighted several of these in, in our story. And Kim definitely highlighted revenue. One thing internally that we’ve talked about a few times is like, if you have multiple products in order for one of them to any one of them to be worth time and effort there probably should be kind of like a a percent of revenue that it should be bringing in.

[00:17:27] Relatively speaking. I haven’t seen a whole lot of shops who, who are able to really, like, I wonder what the numbers are on the delicious brain side, for example, where they have like four kind of strong ish. Brands underneath their umbrella brand. I don’t know what the, the breakdown would be there but it, I doubt it would be an equal 25% across the board.

[00:17:46] But but for us, we’ve kind of said, if a product starts to dip below 10% of your total revenue, like that’s probably a pretty strong sign that it’s time to start talking about letting it go in one form or another. Isn’t that the number we talk about? Done. [00:18:00]

[00:18:00] Devin: Yeah, I mean we really, I think we, when we did have multiple products, that was one of the criteria for us until we eventually whittled it all down to one main product.

[00:18:12] Matt: Yeah, yeah,

[00:18:15] Kim: yeah. I will, I was gonna say I, There’s a version of sun setting, which is just like, keep using it yourself and fulfill your own needs, which is where we are with a couple things that we use. So our WordPress theme, we, we continue to support it, we continue to release it, but the way that I build it is the way that we need because it’s the theme we use on our own website.

[00:18:35] And the same kind of, Potentially with our sales plug, and we are still hoping to find some product market fit for, and putting some marketing behind it, but continuing to develop the features in a way that will serve us, which is a, a version of closing your doors to the greater audience of people that might be using your product, but then still using it and developing it for your own purposes.

[00:18:56] Have, has that ever happened with any tools that have built within your teams?

[00:19:01] Devin: Yeah. One tool we built that. One of my favorite is called WP Rollback, and it was really built out of fun. And in need. It was actually what, 2015 Word Camp oc. They had this Plugin palooza contest and it was essentially a contest to build a plugin and, I don’t know, a month or, or, or so.

[00:19:24] And then you show it off at the Word camp and they’d choose a winner which was really cool. Love to see that happen again. But essentially this plugin, it allows you to roll back any theme or plugin on and the support has been next to nothing and. and it has 200,000 active installs now and 170 something, five star reviews, and that’s pretty much the large bulk of it.

[00:19:51] And we use it still to this day to get us out of a pinch here or there. I know I do personally on my. Several sites that I own. And and that’s one that potentially the only reason I would sunset that, or we would sunset that is if core adopted that feature. So yeah, that’s another reason why you should sunset something or potentially if, if that feature is brought into core.

[00:20:15] Which a similar approach is being looked at to bring into core, but it’s, it’s slightly different in its approach. Yeah.

[00:20:23] Matt: I think they’re talking about rolling back the core version. Isn’t that the main feature they’re talking about? think

[00:20:29] Devin: if you update a plugin and it fail errors, they, they roll back automatically for

[00:20:33] Matt: you too.

[00:20:33] Yeah, yeah. Plug and fail backs. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, related to that too, like even with with the maps builder, like whenever you are, when the product itself depends on another, Larger brand, there’s always potential for that larger brand doing crazy stuff that makes the your, your dependent product a lot less sustainable in the long run.

[00:20:56] There’s lots of examples of that, like even often WooCommerce [00:21:00] extensions they’re, they’re live and fat and happy and enjoying their, their active installs and, and sales and and then all of a sudden WooCommerce launches their own version of the same product on their market. That’s happened a few times in the past.

[00:21:13] That, that kind of stuff can really be hard and difficult to navigate.

[00:21:16] Devin: Yeah. What’s that called? Getting Sherlocked? Is that

[00:21:20] Kim: There’s another kind of, there’s another why on our list about passion for our project, which I think is interesting because passion for a project. WANs over time. And in the beginning, if you’re a person that loves building and creating you can have a lot of passion for something. And then as time goes on, it’s hard to sustain that.

[00:21:39] And that isn’t a terrible reason to stop doing something. You get one life here. So to recognize that it’s something that’s not fulfilling to you anymore, I think both. Both Matt and Devin here could say that they found a more fulfilling product to devote their life’s work to in gift of VP in a lot of ways because it’s such an impactful product to the world.

[00:21:59] Devin: Yeah, absolutely. Directions are important, but I think donations are

[00:22:03] Matt: Trump that. Yep. That’s the way to say it. Oh my goodness. Yeah. Nice. Let’s see. So let’s talk about the, how. I really do think, how is kind of the thorniest question because like I said regardless of our feelings about the product in one form or another, the users and the customers sometimes have very strong feelings about it.

[00:22:24] And and it can be, really kind of difficult to, to navigate that really well. So, what are kind of some of the main considerations and tactics that need to be in place when you decide to Sun sunset a product? Devin touched on a little bit of the way we did it with Maps Builder, but Kim, what’s on your mind there in terms of like best practice for Suning?

[00:22:45] A.

[00:22:47] Kim: I think that I’m doing it wrong. So I will tell you what not to do. , which is have a product you stop developing, but tell people you might someday again, oh, that is fake sunset. Don’t fake your sunset. I am doing it wrong. Don’t listen to me. I want to hear the right way to do it. So I’m not the right person to answer this, but you know, it is that hopefulness and you know it.

[00:23:12] This is a case where the API. and that’s not something we have control over. Mm. But the product still exists. We believe that there’s still a need for this integration for paid membership Pro. So it may happen in the future. It’s an open source code base. If somebody gets a mob together, if someone gets very enthusiastic, it might get our attention.

[00:23:32] But as a, as it doesn’t come up in support, often as there isn’t a lot of interest in presales contacts or support asking and begging for this feature, we have to just wait till that number gets big enough to tip us to devote that development time. So, it’s a fake sunset and it. Bad idea maybe.

[00:23:50] Matt: Hmm. So in your messaging you said, we’re still saying this thing, but maybe we’re gonna bring it back if the API gets better or something like that. And people were like, When [00:24:00] you bringing it back, what’s going on

[00:24:01] Kim: there? Is that how? Pretty much, pretty much looking at if we get enough interest, if it seems that this is something that the majority of users want, who or who are using it, aren’t capable of migrating or there’s new information that we find.

[00:24:13] Because once we remove. That kind of stub goes away, which is a curious thing. Cuz it is a, it’s a path to reaching people even as it is now, I don’t know. It’s weird.

[00:24:23] Matt: Mm. Yeah. I’ve had a couple conversations with, with employees who decide to leave. They come and they start the conversation where they’re like, We’re gonna move on.

[00:24:32] And the first thing I always say is, is this a conversation or is this a decision you’re just telling me about? . And it, I think it’s a really similar question. When, when, when somebody, when a customer gets that email, they wanna know that no. Like the, they wanna know that, no, this is done. We’re, we’re all done here.

[00:24:49] Yep. Not, not like, maybe we’ll keep talking about this in one form or another. Yeah.

[00:24:54] Kim: The limbo, that’s not good.

[00:24:56] Devin: Yeah. Yeah. Don’t charge them renewals after Sunset. . Make sure you cancel your subscriptions. That’s important. That’s a,

[00:25:05] Matt: Yeah, that’s a super good basic 1 0 1. Make sure nobody else gets charged for a Sunset product for sure.

[00:25:12] That’s a, that this is a fun way to, let’s reverse this. How can you really sense that thing badly? Let’s talk about all the things that are really not good to blame. Blame a third party for why it’s being sunset. That would probably be a bad thing to, to, to do. Yeah,

[00:25:27] Devin: but sometimes that’s accurate, right?

[00:25:29] So, I would say,

[00:25:32] Matt: well, you still have to own the decision. Like we, this third party is problematic, but, and so therefore we are deciding that this is done.

[00:25:39] Devin: Sure, sure. I can get aboard with. Yeah. I mean, what not to do? Yeah. Surprise. Send out an update like one year after you’ve sunset it that That’d be bad.

[00:25:50] Matt: Just kidding. April fools. You might, I would say,

[00:25:53] Kim: If you’re aware of a fatal problem in the code base, don’t sunset before you solve that problem. Mm-hmm. Because if you find like a giant security hole it’s kind of your responsibility as a develop. At least do that much and deploy a final version that is safe to that point in time that isn’t going to deploy and be incompatible with a, some future version of WordPress, or at least the most current one.

[00:26:16] That’s just respect.

[00:26:18] Matt: Right.

[00:26:19] Devin: And then I’d say also, as much as it might hurt provide your customers or, or users alternative solutions that are still well maintained and moving forward, even if one of those might be a competitor or potential past competitor, give them, give them ways to. Off ramp onto something

[00:26:37] Matt: else.

[00:26:38] Yeah, that’s a really good one. I think that’s super graceful and I think folks will really see that as a big sign of, of good faith. For sure. That’s a good one. Yeah, I think especially when it comes to plugins, I like what Devon highlighted earlier about the maps plugin that we, before it was actually officially sunset, we put a notice in the plugin.

[00:26:56] Basically pre announcing it more or less so that folks could [00:27:00] so as many folks as possible could be notified. That it was on the, on the way. I think the, I mean, it was surprising to me as, as the support guy and on the front lines of communications with all of our stuff. I was surprised.

[00:27:13] One or even up to two years after we had Sunset it, folks still were like, Hey, what’s going on with this maps plugin, ? And I was like, Man, I feel like I tried to tell everyone everywhere all the time with so much communication and somehow folks still didn’t get the message. So trying to communicate everywhere as much as possible, I think is, is really, really important.

[00:27:33] In all the places.

[00:27:36] Kim: We talked about these, it sounds like a lot of premium products we’re talking about, but we also, talked about plugins that are Someone will know this answer, but you can nominate a plugin for adoption just So if it’s a completely unmonetized product that exists in the repository and it’s not one you wanna continue to maintain, I think you can put a special tag on it and certainly use the make WordPress Slack to, to look for someone.

[00:27:59] There’s a number of plugins out there that we’ve adopted some ourself through paid memberships pro through this pathway.

[00:28:06] Matt: Yeah. I actually might try to tweet this out if I can find it quickly. I have an old article all about that. Oh, nice. And it, it, from what I remember the, it’s actually more of like a, a volunteer, like a, it’s a, it’s an initiative that, that that plugin owners take on their own.

[00:28:25] To, to add that tag. It’s not really like an official plugin team kind of thing but it is used that way often. So, well, of course I’m not finding the article. I’ll tweet it out later for sure. That’s a good one for sure. I would love to see more folks trying to get their plugin, their free plugins adopted.

[00:28:42] I adopted an old one called Send System Info that I really liked a lot because at the time there was not a default way in WordPress to have good solid system info and a way for you to share that system info with support teams. But now there is, core built that that, that stuff out, and there’s no reason for that plugin anymore.

[00:29:02] Oh, you got Sherlocked. I got Sherlocked. .

[00:29:06] Kim: We were actually talking on our team today because there was a product called email users, and it was a very straightforward form with the admin of the WordPress site to. Email all your users or some segment of your users in your WordPress site, and there’s problems with sending bulk email through WordPress.

[00:29:24] Matt ett, you’re on this call. You know the problems that are related to having the WordPress site itself deliver the, the bulk email. And I was in contact with the plugin owners and there was a couple plugin owners on this product, and one of them wanted money for it. And I was like, I’m not buying this to monetize it.

[00:29:40] It was three years out of date. I am adopting this because some of our users, it had paid memberships, pro integration. Some of our users want these features, and I checked earlier this morning, it’s gone. It was taken down, which is really sad. I think it had like 7,000 installs, which isn’t huge.

[00:29:56] But it’s an audience of people that I would’ve maintained. [00:30:00] But this person was like, Well, how much will you pay me for it? And it has to keep my brand on it and, and all these things. And I was like, Nevermind. This doesn’t feel straightforward to me and you think my intentions are poor, so we’re gonna part ways.

[00:30:12] Matt: Hmm. That’s shame.

[00:30:18] So there is a, a url, I’m gonna share it out where you can see all the plugins that you can, that are up for adoption basically. And there’s actually quite a few That are on there right now, so I just tweeted that out. But it, you could go to do hyphen me in that that’ll get you there.

[00:30:39] Couple interesting ones. Divvy title module. Not sure why divvy is short of titles, but might be interesting. Simple content experiments. Ooh, that sounds fun.

[00:30:50] Kim: Don’t turn this into a talk about getting more products. . Yeah. Right. It’s fun to go

[00:30:55] Matt: shopping . This is like going to the pet store. I want all of them.

[00:31:00] Can I take them all home with me? Nice.

[00:31:03] Kim: Does anyone have a story of someone who got like super angry after a Sunset product or anyone in the listening live now? Someone who really struggled with this decision and kind of how you manage their, their feelings?

[00:31:18] Matt: That’s a good one. I’m trying to think of like, there definitely were some folks who were especially Mapps Builder because that one was one that, that, honestly, there were some websites that really de like, there were especially like, adventure Journey type sites that really needed it for a lot of reasons that their business depended on their website itself depended on in different ways.

[00:31:41] Or being able to, to map directions o on the website for different purposes. There it was, there were some folks that really were like, ah, this is really terrible for me and my business. Is there, is there any way at all that you could continue supporting this? Mm-hmm. , And it was really, really just a matter of just continuing the messaging and saying, Yeah, it is a real bummer.

[00:32:03] We wish it could go, go on. But we do have to make this hard choice. And here’s all your options again. So like, here it is on, on GitHub, if you wanna continue and here’s some other products. You’re doing something similar. I, I think sticking with the messaging and having lots of empathy is kind of the key there as much as possible.

[00:32:24] Any other insights there, Devin, on that?

[00:32:28] Devin: Yeah, I mean, I remember when we had a open table widget, which a lot of restaurants depended on that. I think we got up to 10,000 active installs for that plugin for a while. And when we decided to sunset that one, I remember a lot of restaurants were very, vocal and continuing support for it.

[00:32:48] But, the re one of the reasons why we did that was because OpenTable itself came out with their own embeds and widgets, and they were improving on them quite a bit. So we did have an [00:33:00] alternative solution to point them to, although it wasn’t WordPress. I guess native approach. But that was one where I remember, local restaurants here in San Diego.

[00:33:10] I remember randomly seeing that widget on their site a couple times. Yeah. So that one hurt a bit.

[00:33:16] Matt: Yeah. Yep, for sure. They folks were saying, Yeah, you can do it with the, with the official version, but it just doesn’t look as nice as yours does. And I’m like, Thank you so much. Have a nice day

[00:33:31] to say. It was like, I’m so, Cool. Well, we are about at the 40 mark. I did see Jamie Marsten jumping in and out. I was hoping to, to get him to share a little bit of his story. But looks like he jumped out again. But if anyone listening in has a sun setting their product story that they wanna share on Twitter please do so and try to use the hashtag WP product.

[00:33:53] Kim, what are we doing next week? All right,

[00:33:57] Kim: let me pull this. This is a good one. We are gonna have Courtney Robertson on and I think Courtney works in the learn WordPress teams and also is in Developer advocacy, I think through GoDaddy, but I don’t know the exact title. We will get that right.

[00:34:08] But our topic is nurturing and developing entry level team members. Courtney did a lot with a bootcamp in tech and helped a lot of people get started in WordPress and get started in technology. So super expert advice for nurturing entry level team.

[00:34:24] Matt: Awesome. I’m looking forward to that.

[00:34:26] Courtney’s awesome. Devin, any last thoughts, any last tips or advice for everybody before we take off? No, I’d say

[00:34:32] Devin: sunset responsibly. Thanks for having me on the show. It was very fun. We, we all built some great products over the years. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to. To let them go.

[00:34:42] And it’s a hard decision, but done, done responsibly everybody benefits in the long run. So yeah. Thanks for having me on the show. Super fun.

[00:34:51] Matt: Absolutely. Thanks, Devin. Kim, last thoughts? I would

[00:34:55] Kim: just say, try to take the emotion out of it as much as possible. I, I love what you said, Devin, that it’s gonna happen in your life and to do it responsibly, you won’t feel bad about it later. And the decision to not set sunset something is often an emotional one. So, try to look for other things to fulfill that part of you and make good choices.

[00:35:14] Matt: Yeah, absolutely. My final thoughts are keep it as customer centric as possible.

[00:35:20] What can I do to make this. Obvious and clear and and seamless and smooth as possible for all of the users and customers of this product. Think of them first and foremost because all the business benefits and whatnot can happen later, but in, during the sun setting, it’s all about them and treating them as well as possible.

[00:35:39] So thanks so much everybody. Have a good week. We’ll see you next week with Courtney here. Thanks so much.


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