Magento Partnership improvements

In my opinion, one of the weakest points in the Magento ecosystem is in the way the partner program is build-up. At the beginning of this month I went to Los Angeles to attend the Magento Imagine conference, and I was eager to find out if, and how, Magento Inc. was going to improve the parter program. But in order to understand the (need for) improvements, let me first explain how the current program came to be and the problems it currently creates.

If you’re already fully aware of the partner program and it’s issues, just skip to the ‘solutions’ section below.

The current partner program

In the early days (just a couple of years ago) the Magento partner program was started with the goal to spread and promote the platform. Companies applied for the partner program and chose a partner level (first Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, now Enterprise, Professional and Community). The difference between the different levels being the amount of money you were willing to pay for the partnership and the amount of revenue (in commercial licenses) you dedicated yourself to. As you install a partership program, you want to be selective and not call everyone a partner. A great and easy way to select partners on ‘seriousness’ is to ask money for the partnership.

The great thing about money is that it works pretty good (until a certain level) as a differentiator. Companies that just started out with Magento would start with a lower partner level, and when they get more experienced and certain about their choice for Magento, they would later on switch (and pay) for a higher partner level. And from an end-user point-of-view: when there are only one or two Magento partners in the neighborhood, chances are they will have a lot more experience wit Magento then companies who don’t carry the partner label. The current program allows Magento Inc. to differentiate between partner levels, without going through the (quite difficult) process of partner qualification through other means like certification.

See here for the current Partner program details.
Magento has become really popular in a very short timeframe and spread widely, partly because of its many great partners. But now that it’s so popular, the current program creates more problems than it solves.
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Magento Go

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This morning, Magento Inc. announced their new product ‘Magento Go‘ (formerly known as ‘Stratus’), as an addition to the current Magento product line including Community, Professional, Enterprise and Mobile at the first worldwide Magento Imagine event in Los Angeles.

Magento Go will be Magento’s software as a service (SaaS) solution for retailers looking for a hosted e-commerce solution, much like WordPress.com is a hosted blogging solution. You ‘rent’ the softwafe a pay for it with a monthly fee.

There will also be a Magento Go Platform (Platform as a Service or PaaS) solution so developers can also work with Go and create extensions from it through OpenSocial and OAuth). Magento Connect will also get a relaunch to support Go. Great to know, is that extmensions made for one Magento version, will also be compatible with Go, so no need for time consuming/expensive addaptions for this new solution.

It will (probably) be available to the public within a month and Magento is giving away 1 milion dollars worth of product accounts.

Here’s the website introducing Magento Go.

Magento Go even has a dedicated Twitter account for you to stay up-to-date with the latest developments: @magentogo.