Ever since our first teaser page for Koken hit the web people have been asking about pricing. We've always wanted to provide a definitive answer, but decided it was better to take our time and announce just prior to the public beta (which will be released this Thursday, February 21st).
Today, that day has come. We're pleased to announce that Koken will be free. No limits, strings attached or paid upgrades. Koken will be yours to publish web sites for yourself or your clients.
Why free? Because amazing things can happen when individuals with ambition, ideas and the urge to create are provided tools to bring their visions to life. We've recognized from the beginning the number of students, aspiring artists, and pixel-pushers who would not only benefit in a practical sense from a product like Koken, but also actively participate to make Koken better for everyone else. The more creative talent we have using Koken, the richer our marketplace of third party themes, plugins and other enhancements will be. That in-turn will push us — as Koken's developers — to continually improve and expand the platform for everyone's benefit.
Plus, going free just makes everything more interesting. We would probably be successful selling Koken, but what if we gave it away? Who would use it? What kinds of sites would be created? What types of themes would be designed? Those questions could still be answered with a paid product, but the variety of users, sites and themes would be far greater by going free. For us, that's far more exciting than constructing a pay wall and limiting our reach.
How do we stay in business?
By earning revenue through other sources. Those sources will include the sale of themes (ours and third parties), plugins, services, and other enhancements. This will have the added benefit of ensuring the core product is focused on features that benefit everyone as opposed to adding more specialized functionality that would only be used by a handful of users. Plugins provide the perfect means to extend the system without added complexity or bloat.
Will features or themes be removed from the beta?
Absolutely not. Everything you see in the beta constitutes Koken's core functionality. But that's not the end of it! We have a full to-do list of additional features we plan on adding to the core (free) system.
Does this mean that Koken will be open source?
We feel that open source software thrives for tools and libraries that act as building blocks for larger applications. We believe in and use open source software every day while building Koken. But for a large system like ours we feel retaining control of the product and its direction is best for both you as a user and our company. While Koken will not be open source, it will be highly extensible via our theme and plugin system.
This Thursday, February 21st, you'll be able to download the Koken public beta through our home page. Once installed you will continue to receive beta updates in addition to the final release through the console's automatic upgrade utility. To be notified of beta availability, sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know.
Since work began on Koken over two years ago, our hope has been to share the product with as many users as possible while also contributing to the richness and variety of creative work published online. We hope you'll join us.