Magento Connect is a Fraud

Posted by: Karen Thursday, December 4th, 2014

High Level Summary

Let me make this simple. Connect is screwed. There endeth the conversation.

Well I knew this back in 2012 and a great many developers/agencies/merchant know this also. What we probably don’t take into account so much is this:

  1. Merchants still use it
  2. Developers/Companies are manipulating Connect to their own financial advantage

The knock on effect of this is that:

  1. Merchants are getting extensions that break their site (and often these are the merchants that can least afford this to happen to them)
  2. Developers that are trying to make a living out of extensions are getting banged on the head daily by the fraudulent sellers.

Some Facts

I’ve ignored themes for this study.

There are 6505 Extensions on Connect (as of Sept 14).  That’s a 33% increase since 2012.  38% of those are Free (or software as a service so free install).

There are 2074 unique extension providers, 1215 of which have appeared since 2012. 533 providers left Magento Connect

Half of all providers only list free extensions.

700 extensions are produced by providers with Mage in their name. My point being that we probably dont register who they are because Mage is so overused.

The download figures are corrupt. There was a tidy up in 2012 when I wrote a report and sent to Magento on just how fiddled the figures were. But nonetheless the review was limited and there remain some glaring errors, indeed some well known extensions are on Connect where IMO they have basically defrauded the system (to the detriment of the rest of us and to merchants).

The Good Guys (we think!)

Here is a list of the Top Downloads once we parsed the list and cleared the fraudulent sellers (we cannot be 100% of this list so I’d suggest may be others that are corrupting stats but its our attempt – open to feedback):

  • AheadWorks
  • ASchroder
  • Black+Cat
  • Condnitive
  • FishPig
  • Flagbit
  • Fooman
  • jesteve
  • Mage Psycho
  • Magento(!)
  • MageSpecialist
  • Pheonix
  • Rico Neittzel
  • Sweet Tooth
  • Templates Master
  • Unirgy
  • Vinai
  • WebShopApps
  • zig2004

Here are some of the top downloaded extensions:

  1. German Language Pack
  2. LightBox
  3. Bank Payment
  4. Enhanced Admin Product Grid
  5. eBay Magento Integration
  6. Vertical Navigation
  7. Blog CE
  8. Speedster
  9. Cash on Delivery
  10. MatrixRate
  11. EasyTabs

These are probably also some of the most copied.  If you are a developer and in this list, and you dont see any recognition of what you did then its because you are buried within 6505 listings and a load of corrupt reviews/stats/etc.

Personally I’d like to stand up and applaud for standing their ground. They are amongst the most copied extns on Magento, and these guys have kept their integrity, worked hard and attempted to overcome the challenges and barriers put in front of them.  I would ask Magento to step in and help Aheadworks, because you have a great hard-working dedicated and passionate company there, you need to get more behind them.

And Some Important Facts

  • 20% of extensions are listed by the top 3% of providers (>20 extns)
  • 1425 extensions listed on Connect by just 32 providers (as a FYI WebShopApps are not in this list, we gave up with Connect a while back)
  • 1% of extension providers have > 40 extns
  • Thats 6 Providers with 459 extensions (mostly paid)
  • Only 1 of these is innovating
  • The rest are copying

So just to make that clear. It is my belief that you have extensions listed by 6 providers where I believe only 1 of those developers is doing anything original. The rest just copy, not necessarily the code, but the functionality, the ideas, the UI.  They are making a lot of money at other developers expense.

What Merchants Need to do

Stop using Connect.  Ask Magento to fix it.  Tell them you deserve better and you deserve it now.

Work with reputable companies. Support people you trust.

What Magento Need to Do

My request to Magento is simple.  Fix Connect or switch it off. But stop this craziness, because you are harming the ecosystem.

Stop supporting corruption.

Certainly don’t make these providers your partners.

Start working with the people in this community that actually are making a difference, before they disappear and go do something less frustrating.

As I said at the end of my NY presentation – I’m a 40+ year old woman and I managed in 1 weekend to work out all this, to come up with a tremendous amount of stats and really understand Connect. You have had 2 years (and quite seriously a lot more resource) to digest my first report and act. You haven’t done it, you continue not to address the problems, and the impact of you not doing this is massive.  Stop telling me it’s coming, act now and get out of your boadrooms and high level meetings. Because this is hurting us. It has a direct impact on the people that have helped make Magento great.

In 2 years time your Magento Imagine sponsors will be those companies that defrauded the system.  They are already sponsoring Meet Magento events.  Is this what you want?  Is this Magento?  Encourage innovation, make it good for the next generation of developers.

I don’t apologise for my statements here. It’s been 3 months since MM NY when I presented this, 2 years since my first report. I’ve sat quiet long enough.

13 Responses to “Magento Connect is a Fraud”

  1. Couldn’t agree more here.

  2. Rico Neitzel says:

    Hey Karen,

    thanks for mentioning “Rock Neittzel” … If you wanted to name me in that great list it would be great if you could “Rock Neittzel” let become “Rico Neitzel” 😀


  3. Karen says:

    Hah apologies, the spell checker 😉 I fixed it before I read this one!

  4. Mark Slocock says:

    looks like I need a spell checker too – sorry Karen!

  5. Eddie says:

    Connect is broken at a fundamental level & the failure to address this might be seen as an indicator of Magento’s disregard of their Community Edition users. I hope it isn’t.

  6. Steve says:

    I think the most important thing that Karen pointed out here is:

    “Fix Connect or switch it off.”

    Here are the most important facts, as I see them.

    1 – For the past 3 years Magento Connect has been stealing money from good developers & merchants, and handing it to terrible developers who blatantly rip off the innovators.

    2 – Magento is not going to fix Connect any time soon. They’ve said this. They don’t have the motivation and they move too slow as an organization.

    3 – Google is a better source of extensions and information than Connect. It is better at dealing with spam than Magento. It’s not ideal, but it’s much better. And it’s working right now.

    My suggestion to Magento is to completely shut off Magento connect.

    I know you have agreements with Industry partners to feature them in Connect for some time, so stop including these in any new industry partner agreements and set a date in 2015 at which you can completely close Connect.

  7. Great post, thank you!
    If you like you can consider adding us to the white list, we are a serious vendor since 2009 on Connect.
    We had more than 350 transactions over time, mainly on Italian market.
    Kind regards,
    Alessandro Ronchi

  8. Conrad says:

    Thanks for that research, Connect meant well back in 2008 but times change. I could not imagine using connect – I always download the extension, pick over the code and then install in a fairly old fashioned way – no modman. However, it would be insane to just go to connect and hit the install button, no way!!!

    I do actually find new extensions on ‘connect’ on a regular basis – a fix for the chrome login yesterday – that sort of thing. So, for me, ‘connect’ works in getting awareness raised. I guess I could do some alert on github but I just go for Twitter.

    I would like it if a better way existed for getting the word out on new extensions. Any suggestions?

    (On a different note – spelling – ‘develoopment’ is showing in your mini bio at the foot of this page plus the tab order of ‘leave a reply’ goes from name to the search box at the top. Just sayin’ – no more than that.)

  9. Dmitry says:

    Karen, thank you for that post.

    The most interesting thing is that there were attempts to create an alternate for the Magento Connect market, where will be multi-vendor extensions posted. But I don’t know any successful project, do you?

    In fact, the only way of distribution are vendor stores.

    The main missing thing is that potential customer is looking for the recommended extension. And the proper way to get that recommendation is to look for the subject post.

  10. Joel I. Hart says:

    Fantastic article Karen.

    It does seem the only policy enforced by Magento Connect’s team is the marketing guidelines. The lack of code quality and issues with free extensions that require a paid service or extension which are over-rated and actually problematic for a healthy Magento build are extensive. The end result is angry merchants and challenges for great teams who are working hard to do good work and wind up baby-sitting the abused step children clients instead of having a clean build to work off of and focusing on results for clients.

    The ratings often lead to bad social proof. I just put out an article about the logical fallacy of social proof this morning on our site and Magento Connect’s ratings is a prime example of this issue.

    – Joel
    CEO @mediotype

  11. Connect and the extension community is certainly a major issue. As a solution provider cilent’s see the low prices on connect and expect new features to be fast and easy. However installing and configuring many of these extensions is not so simple and they often need heavy amounts of customization to work well with a site depending on the complexity of the website.

    What might seemingly be a small project could easily turn into 50 hours of development to make the extension work the way a company wants. This is very misleading and causes a lot of companies to get frustrated because they initially expect the feature to be easily implemented with a Magento connect extension.

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