Disappointed with Magento Module Sales/Distribution

Magento, from the beginning, has offered a system of packaging extensions, and installing those packages. It was a smart move, and one that I really appreciated. There are a lot of developers out there who properly package their extensions (everything that you can get directly off Magento Connect is packaged). However, there are still loads of developers who do not package their extensions. This is especially true with developers who sell their extensions.

One particular developer that I’d like to point out my frustration with is AITOC. Before I get started though, they ARE talented developers, and they make good functioning modules. However, I can’t stand their pricing and distributing philosophies.

Most of their modules are based off of how many enabled products you have in your catalog, how many stores/websites you have setup in Magento, or how many admin accounts you have setup. Let’s say you want to use one of their modules for 50 of your products, but you have 10,000 products in your catalog. Or, you want to use one of their modules for one of your websites, but you have 10 websites setup in Magento. With both of these scenarios, prepare to spend big bucks. You can easily go from a $99 module, to a $599 module. I hate that.

Also, let’s say you have 950 products in your catalog, and you buy a module from them and you get the license that allows up to 1000 products. When you hit 1001, the functionality of that module will disable itself.

Now to their distribution. When you buy one of their modules, prepare for a headache! They are loaded and bloated full of files. It’s a mess. You cannot install their module with a simple command line. Instead, you need to upload a ton of files, set special permissions, and then walk through a somewhat complicated installation process. There’s even a module in there just to install/manage the module you want to install, loading up your Magento install with over 100 additional files. They override a few Core Magento files and send out a web service request, checking your license to make sure it’s valid before it will fully install your module. Almost every single file in their module is wrapped in a PHP call that checks to make sure you have properly installed it, and that you are not exceeding the license rule (# of products, stores, admin accounts, etc.).

They make it a headache to install, a headache to maintain, and a nightmare to fully uninstall and remove all the files. If they properly packaged their extension, it would be cakewalk to install, update, and uninstall.

Why do they do it? It’s simple. As for their pricing, they want to make more money off you. They tease you with a price, but many people will not pay the base price for their modules. Why do they not package their extension? They want more control over you and your store, and more control ensuring people aren’t abusing their license (because of the dumb limitations they enforce) or re-using it over and over, or passing it along to other people to use.

They are smart in that regard, but when it become a total pain for the end-user, you should re-think the process. I think they need to ditch the limitations. And, when it comes to the modules, properly package them up so that they can be installed with one command or using Magneto Connect. There are other ways of protecting a module from being re-used or re-distributed like IonCube that are far less of a headache to deal with.

So, if you are a Magento developer distributing or selling modules, please, make them into a proper Magento extension. It doesn’t take long, it’s not hard, and it works way, way better. And, don’t put annoying limitations on them like AITOC does.

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62 Responses to Disappointed with Magento Module Sales/Distribution

  1. Adam says:

    Just had to remove an Aitoc module that had decided to break one of our clients sites. Found this link useful Junior Magento Dev – Uninstall Aitoc Module am posting here in case it can help anybody else reading this

  2. Mummy Ninja says:

    Good thing I read this post first before buying my very first module from AITOC. Hahaha. This is really a nightmare.

  3. Michel says:

    Oh and one more thing to vent:

    is now heavily moderated and censored.

    If you write a slightly negative review (3 stars for buggy extension) about any one of the bigger extensions publishers your review will simply not get published (duo to violation of bla bla)

    I actually explain what is wrong and give a full testcase, but since it is only three stars it will not get published.

    So only the good reviews will get published.
    For a Magento developer who realies heavily on reviews and online bugfixes / workarounds / warnings etc this is totally unacceptable

    This really is the beginning of the end for magentocommerce.com as a reliable source of critical correct info

  4. Michel says:

    Bought a small AITOC module (gift wrap)
    Module doesnt work with a specifick one page checkout, shit happens no problem refunded, all is well
    Try to remove all files and uninstall, immediately my shop is down
    I have to create a special test site just to test uninstalling this shit -> will never buy AITOC bloatnightmare again, thank you, lesson learned :)

  5. Trevor Smith says:

    I’m surprised by these comments. We’ve been using Aitoc for a few years now and I’ve found that, there modules work properly, and their support to be excellent!

    The licencing thing was a bit of a pain, yes, but it was fully explained in the module overview.

    I’m sure they have a new licence structure now that has no restrictions.

    Just because they are from Belarus, doesn’t make them bad developers!

  6. AITOC says:

    AITOC Team is happy to announce the change in the module pricing structure. You may find the list of key differences between the old and the current licensing here http://www.aitoc.com/en/blog/licensing_differences.htm. The prices of our extensions are no longer based on the parameters of your Magento. The extension code comes at fixed price. One license is still good for one live (production) Magento installation.l

    Another portion of the price defines the period when you have the support and updates available. We also charge for the amount of the prepaid support time. The more prepaid time you buy in advance, the cheaper the time is. And the best part of it – our support team will eagerly take up tasks that are usually problematic in support, such as fixing the compatibility issues with third party solutions. We will even take up tasks that are not related to our extensions.

    The tasks the support team can perform are broken down into categories based on the task nature and the complexity level. Each category is assigned a fixed (or fixed + estimate) amount of time the task would take. You may see the rates table here http://www.aitoc.com/en/support-hours-description.html. We charge based on the rates table, and only after we’ve clearly communicated that there will be a charge.

    If you have the modules with the Old License (based on parameters), we’d be happy to convert them into the current licensing. The service is available free of charge to everyone who has valid support term at the moment of the new licensing launch (August 6, 2013). If the support term has expired before the launch of the new licensing, we will convert your license for a flat fee of $42. As a result of this conversion you will get a new license that is not based on parameters of your Magento. All the information on how to convert your license is available in this document http://aitoc.com/media/guides/license_convertation_guide.pdf
    We’d like to thank everybody for their constructive criticism that contributed to this transition. Actually, we thank some of you for not so constructive criticism too. AITOC Team is constantly working on improving the customer experience, and your feedback helps a lot.

  7. Holger says:

    We have buyed two modules from AITOC – layered navigation and Brandspages, both modules slowed down our shop. Then have planned to move our shop to another IP Address – and the AITOC-HORROR begins! The licensing module from aitoc crashed our shop totally with a stopscript made by AITOC, we spend many days of time wasting to get run the shop. The Aitoc support said: “you give us unrelevant information about your move to antoher server”.

    Now i know Aitoc is not from USA – there are from Belarussia – the telephonenumber at the whois is FAKE! I have found some developers named Igor Tkachenko and Olga Kochetkova and some other … Do not use AITOC modules, its a waste of time.

  8. Louis B says:

    Order edit broke very often, it has been a long and an ininterresting work to be able to understand how to activate cache configuration. Still dont understand bu finally worked … sometimes just broke.

    The good point is now i just plan to upgrade my old ee version and remove this ugly module, and leave this ugly license program.

  9. I can’t speak to the quality of the code they write, but I am an end user who is currently running about 10 of their modules and they have written a lot of custom functionality for my site. I have worked with them for about 3 years, so I think I can give them a review as an end user. My site is http://www.posylane.com so you can judge for yourselves how ‘fast’ it is. I usually get high marks in web page load speed.

    I can’t fault them for how they change license fees based on the number of products. It enables someone small like me (I have about 3000 SKU’s and one store) to afford modules that might otherwise be out of reach.

    I only have one ‘cook’ in the kitchen – AITOC. If something breaks, they have always fixed it with little to no argument. Not always as fast as I would have liked, but sometimes much faster than I hoped they could.

    They have many, many modules. Much of what I needed done was already more or less available as a module, so it saved me a lot of money. And they fixed bugs I found in their standard modules for free. Some new development I got free or 50% off because I pointed out they could include that in one of their new modules.

    I will say that I have found more bugs that I would have liked. But they have fixed them and gotten t the bottom of a lot of issues. I feel that their prices are reasonable compared to others.

  10. postadelmaga says:

    Nice to see many people with same Nightmare … I really really hate AITOC Licence system.

    1. they rewrite core module just for their stupid licence stuff ( and this is bad )
    2. their rewrite stuff is making everything terrible slow (and this is really bad)
    3. on Dev environment I need an extra licence because backend is not usable ( every time page reload I got this stupid message) ( this is boring and disturbing and time consuming )

    please avoid them all

  11. David B says:

    Add one more that will never purchase from Aitoc unless they change their business practices. And, I purchase a lot of extensions every year for my clients. I can’t imagine I’m the only one that avoids them. I can’t see how these business practices work for them.

  12. Tom Sheriff says:

    I too fell victim of AITOC’s poor business practices. Never again will I buy from them.
    Simple as that , Stay away people dont waste your time and money!!

  13. Pingback: Magento extensies - Byte Blog

  14. Billy Parker says:

    I use 3 AITOC modules, Custom Options Template, One Page Checkout Booster and Custom Product Preview. I have had problems with One Page Checkout – Sage Pay error and paid for further development for the product preview module to work with our multi add to cart. AITOC were prompt with fixes and helped me out alot when I gave them access via FTP and backend. I have just noticed that our custom product preview module has reached it’s limit and I still have access to my store and it’s working fine. It is a pain having to pay for license upgrades but I would rather do this than paying a large lump sum of money up front to find out the module does not help my store.

  15. Jarvis Bunker says:

    I too fell victim of AITOC’s poor business practices. Never again will I buy from them.

  16. Pingback: Semi-rant about Magento AITOC extensions and how horrible they are to work with and around

  17. We have made a big mistake by choosing your product instead of going with others like Amanty, BelVG, Itoris or FME. No one should of compromise data with CHMOD 777 permissions, you not only ask for your extensions folders, it is a must, on the contrary Magento does not load. Your agreement disclosed after the purchase, comes with terms and conditions we honestly dislike, as no taking responsability for damages or losses. Everyone is in a serious risk with your company´s extensions. Whoever you are, having this irrestrictive access your extensions demand. You make all you can to charge everytime for installation and fees for subdomains and increased sales volumes. You gave me a full refund, but I had to work for hours with my hosting company to clean off our Magento installation from your code. Our hosting company denied to open gates to your products as they say it clearly violates the privacy and security of the server. I appreciate their concern in blocking your stuff right away. We should have gone with others from the start but found ourselves tricked by your sales tactics. I am not sure you are a US company, as the phone numbers on your domain registration are incorrect. But if you are in US, and if our attorney finds you, we will sue you for one day of business losses and damages. I would just let everyone know not to make the mistake to install any AITOC module. You AITOC do well to put limits to the use of your extensions by an aggressive license inside Magento. Limits to the number of orders taken, subdomains, etc, with the purpose of charging more money to all your unfortunate customers. If you read this, please read it again, I would not like anyone to suffer what we went through today. For a person without knowledge this would have been an entire month of losses. Blessings to all of you people. Stay away of the dark side :)

  18. Pekka says:

    Yup, I always try to avoid AITOC modules, because of the licensing. I cant even run brand pages in our devsite, because of the constant complaints about the license. Trying new features in a production enviroment is real nice…thanks AITOC. Another site we run had to have over 30k imported products, only a 1000 of those were actice so surely we would get the module at a “bargain” price? NOPE! The full unlimited license would be required, even when 97% of the products would be disabled. Naturally we didnt buy that ripoff and went with Amastys “brand pages” module that is a bit harder to use, but actually works in the real world.

  19. Andy says:

    I had to deal with them for some customization. Very expensive, which would be ok if they make good quality, but i won’t pay for that when the VP is not able to speak proper english or keep a minimun level of kindness. No more Aitoc for my clients.

  20. Andy says:

    I bought several modules and found out they are (technichally) crap before installing. I asked AITOC for a refund and told them why i can’t use their products. They gave me the refund without problems.


  21. Elvar says:

    I have never bought ANY Aitoc module.

    And finally I get from this page positive response about my decision. Now I know I am not dumb as I look :)

    I just want to tell something – we live in the ages of the sharing – take a look at all big companies which started from 0. They all started with share share share freely. Google, Facebook and even guys who are working with wooden material, wines what ever. Blogs, videos, communities etc…

    You can even take example in Magento. One of the main reason of its popularity is also Community.

    And then companies start to make big money on the same Magento version. I do not mind to PAY for good software but hey… are we dumb?

    Wish them happy business… and luck in future they will need it.

  22. Adam says:

    We had the ‘Individual promotions’ extension installed. It’s been fine for maybe six months, although we’ve only used the functionality once or twice. Yesterday, out of the blue, we get a ‘license violation’ email, the extension uninstalls and completely trashes our online store, so it it completely offline.

    AITOC hasn’t responded to our support request, and this is causing us to lose thousands of dollars in business every day. Truly a nightmare.

    Now my developers literally have to start from zero because all of our backups have this bullshit AITOC code in it.

    I would avoid their stuff PERIOD. Truly garbage.

    • AITOC says:

      can you provide the ticket ID please?

      • Adam says:

        You must be kidding… Find the ticket number after how many months? Your POS software cost us tens of thousands of dollars in lost business and a massive effort to undo that mess that your software left behind when it decided to shut off all of a sudden – our site was down for weeks.

        Did your support people do *ANYTHING* to get our site working again? Not a chance… W O R T H L E S S!

        Anyone that is foolish enough to do business with AITOC is in for a rude awakening, and a myriad of headaches..

  23. Debo Jurgen says:

    Bad code or not, the modules of AITOC do extend Magento to this way it is needed in a professional environment, especially the XML export of orders.

    Everyone who runs PHP should avoid at all cost to integrate Ioncude or Zend Encoded files. Magento is full open source, and You want to integrate closed source ?

    I do not agree with AITOC in regards their installation process. We did buy a module and installation is not easy at all, modules should be easy to install, out of the box.
    The installation process of the Import-Export even suggest to chmod 777 all directories and files ?! huh ? There is no single reason to set a php file to executable,
    when it is processed by the webserver, fastcgi or PHP-FPM. Only when the file is executed by the shell it could be set executable. It seems AITOC have a full mouth about their installation method, but does forget the basics of Unix. Professional services to install modules is out of the question either. To deliver access to another company to your project is something we do not allow in our policy either. As the outgoing request to webservices, is at my opinion a breach of security and violation of privacy either. In this regard, I do not agree with AITOC policies. I agree when You run an OS like Microsoft, people are used to allow outgoing communication for almost EVERY software, to check for license and updates, whatever. Some people start to think this is ‘normal’. However, it is a violation of privacy, security and in fact, it is very possible those practice can be sued in court ! Running a webshop, with orders, customers data, payment data, and allow communication to the outside is a large breach of security and protection for Your customers and Your business.

  24. Ryan says:

    I couldnt agree more with you guys. AITOC makes some nice modules.


    I bought 2 of their modules for reasonable prices ($200) 2 years ago. Now they changed to this stupid licensing scheme and it will cost me over $600 every 6 months if i want to keep up with magento changes or i have to try and update myself. That is what i love about ahead works. I still get updates from 2 years ago!

    The bloat, OMG the bloat. Serisouly, i dont want all $hit on my website. I understand where they are coming from, but frankly i dont care. Your going to lose more quality customers from all this crap you put in there.

  25. Uncouth says:

    Couldn’t agree more with everyone here. We run our store on Magento Enterprise. Its a high volume – high traffic store that was heavily customized. We were very careful which extensions to install and only gave access to experienced developers. But just because of the 5 AITOC extensions we have on our site, it has been a disaster. They have considerably slowed down our site, messed up our core codes and won’t work with Magento Compiler. I wish I knew this before. Now we are seriously thinking of getting rid of AITOC extensions but we already paid $6k for the unlimited licenses and paid a lot to our developers to get them working. What a waste. Not to mentions the 4 or 5 times our site has gone almost non-functional due to AITOC license issue.

  26. David Hakimi says:


    Anyone can offer any uninstallation advice??

  27. Phillip Rosen says:


    They haven’t changed. Most of the problems can be attribute to the truly awful licensing scheme they have adopted.

  28. Ben George says:

    The thing that kills me about the AITOC code is that they actually break your store when you cross a license threshold.

    If they gave a warning in the Admin and later disabled their module I’d understand, but on several occasions I’ve had the Aitsys module crash the entire backend preventing any access to Magento and giving no indication as to the cause.

    After much searching (the first time) I’ve traced it back to an Aitoc module and after reading this thread I’m guessing it’s because of crossing a license count limit.

    This is shocking behaviour, I’m sure its due to just a bug in the code rather than any deliberate malice, but with this bug these extensions are literally time bombs.

    If this has been fixed in more recent versions at least do people the courtesy of emailing us about it – they’ve got our contact details from the original orders!

  29. Adam Moss says:

    I’m sorry to say but we’ve also had a number of headaches with AITOC extensions, problems that simply don’t exist with other extension companies such as Aheadworks or Mageworx. The licensing issues in particular are a real pain.

    I simply don’t recommend their extensions to clients any more.

  30. brandon says:

    I agree 100%. We had nothing but trouble with AITOC!

  31. Rui says:

    I totally agree with all the above. AITOC have caused us hours of unnecessary work, headaches etc…

  32. Michael Schneider says:

    Ha, thats funny. An open-source shopping cart solution with encrypted+limited commercial extensions (= people making money off of other peoples hard work). I am instead a developer for a commercial shopping cart solution and we never encrypt our code (not a single line) and new modules / updates etc. are free within one year of the last order. In the end, its cheaper for most of the clients, they know where to get fast and reliable support and there are no incompatibilities with extensions written by sometimes very low skilled developers.

  33. Robert says:

    OK, it looks to me as though AITOC is really targeting the ma&pa DIY Magento end users that want some funky add-on on their store and not developers who create custom stores and solutions for their clients.

    Ultimately, that’s fine by me, except that if one of those store owners came to us for support and maintenance and there were AITOC modules installed, we’d probably add a PITA charge to our support agreement.

    What it also highlights is the paradigm of selling software… as we can see there are many issues. The open source model is that the software is open and under certain circumstances, free, however, in my mind a much better model is selling access and support for the software rather than the software itself. Rocket Theme have made a great business case with that model and continue to thrive so why could this not be adopted in the Magento extensions community? What do you guys think?

    As far as piracy goes, it will always be around… I’d not even waste a breath worrying about it because it should be the service and support community that is the value added thing and not the software itself. The model of selling software products brings on this paranoia because that (the software) is the only value, since a certain level of support automatically comes with the provider’s warranty and promise after purchase. I’m pretty sure that one can find all of the Rocket Theme templates etc, on pirate hubs but still, they’re in business and doing well, so why worry?

  34. Avihay says:

    I am very sympathetic with this post, especially when we worked so very hard to make a very high quality extension, packaged and easy to install, in fact we have statistics that shows that it takes 3 minutes from registration to the first group deal running ,
    see for yourself

  35. I Agree with this completely, and this is what I had posted about back in Sept of 2010. I didn’t specifically name AITOC but the frustration was the basis for the article.

    Magento module developers stop encrypting and domain jailing

    This is the same feeling on IRC #magento as well, even some vowing to group together to reverse engineer the horrible licensing and encryption. I’ve even investigated into just the same. I am by no means dishonest for paying or making my clients pay for something they are making money on, I’m not going to copy it for use on another client either. Look at the bigger companies trying to keep everyone locked down and they are and will always constantly have a fighting battle with warez/crack groups. If its made public it WILL get reverse engineered its only a matter of time.

    I don’t recommend AITOC modules to anyone just the same, used one module once and had a helluva time simply setting up a local environment or even development environment without having to contact someone to add a subdomain to the license. Seriously?! This is why I took it upon myself to start reverse engineering it, you pissed in my cheerios i’ll piss in yours.

    While I don’t agree on the pricing scheme either and justifying it by saying your having to do more testing based on product numbers is horse shit, its up to the customer who is going to be running the site to know if their hardware can support such large numbers, if your having trouble with large data sets in developing modules, don’t pass that cost off to your clients, learn from previous mistakes and implement the same in future products.

    AITOC, listen to your end users and make adjustments or eventually you are going to run out of your own feet to shoot. It’s really simple, take note of Magento’s (the mother ship) lead. Completely open source, non encrypted, non domain jailed code for free! However if you want support your paying the premium costs for Pro and Enterprise. Even Magento tried to ionCube encode Enterprise at first and realized how much of a hassle it was for them as well as their clients.

  36. AITOC says:

    Hello Josh and everyone involved in this discussion. First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for the constructive criticism. Now that there’s some feedback, I can let you in on our side of the story. We do try our best to deliver good quality products, (thank you for pointing it out, Josh), so any feedback is very important. Below is our point of view on each issue outlined in this post:

    1. Pricing
    I’d like to point out that not all our products’ prices are based on the total number of a certain parameter. For many extensions you’re free to choose which stores, users or products you’d be applying the extension’s functionality to, and you only pay for those parameters. Pricing structure is determined individually for each product and our experience shows it’s a reasonable approach.
    Some say our pricing model is “bait and switch”, but I disagree: the pricing policy is stated explicitly on the product page on our website and on Magento Connect. It is impossible to buy a base license option by default being unaware of the limitations – the store makes you choose the license option before placing the product to cart. While you may think we’re trying to charge more, this pricing allows us to charge less in many cases. Prices of base license options are below reasonable for us, but with this pricing strategy we can allow many customers to start out with a cheaper option and upgrade the license and the business develops and brings more revenue (often with significant help of our extension). Of course, we do want to make money, but we don’t want to charge for what we don’t provide, so one average price wouldn’t be fair to many customers.
    The pricing policy is explicit and it makes sense to hundreds of our customers. Everyone involved in this discussion is looking at the issue from the developers’ standpoint, while we’re taking into account the benefits that the functionality will bring to the business owner. Experience shows that even the most expensive Unlimited license pays off soon.
    And if we look at the issue from the developers’ standpoint, it’s important to remember that Magento is not a very fast platform. The more data and customers it servers, the more problems arise. And they grow exponentially with bigger load and/or number of products. This makes us put more efforts while developing the extensions. Testing an extension for 100 products needs little extra efforts. Testing one with 100K does require special performance testing activities, etc. Same goes on with bugs/updates to the extensions. Also, those who use the extension for 100K, spend much more time with the extension than the clients who have only 100 products.
    In our pricing we are trying to be more precise with our real expenses for various types of clients. And with this variable pricing we provide more flexibility for the customers to choose what they need. After introduction of the new pricing model, we’ve cut down the minimal price for most of the extensions, allowing more customers to see and test for themselves if our products provide benefit and are good value for the money for them.

    2. License problems
    The problem of extension uninstalling itself when the store exceeds the license limitation is very serious, and we’re aware of it. At the moment Admins should watch for that and upgrade the license before the store exceeds the limitation. In the future this issue will be handled much better. We do appreciate your feedback on this, it gives us more understanding of how important the issue is, and the project on modifying the licensing now has a very high priority.
    We’re aware of other problems some of our customers experience due to the licensing, and we are working on a better system. Apart from other benefits of limitations we can offer a range of prices instead of one high price, which we believe our extensions are worth. At the moment even the most expensive Unlimited license costs significantly less than having this functionality custom made, and comes with updates, compatibility with future versions of Magento, etc.
    It’s important to understand that many problems wouldn’t arise if developers followed the instructions provided in the Installation Guide and on our FAQ page http://www.aitoc.com/en/faq.html
    Those customers who don’t want to read through documentation are welcome to ask questions via support tickets. Here at AITOC we also work on custom solutions for other clients, which includes dealing with 3rd party solutions, and we always refer to the documentation provided by developers.

    3. Packaging.
    We can’t use Magento’s standard packaging, because it doesn’t support patches and multi-rewrites like our installer, it doesn’t support versions either. We try to minimize the amount of manual work needed to achieve compatibility with customizations, themes and 3rd party extensions that are already present on a customer’s Magento.
    When our customers purchase our extensions they get individual packages and there are different packages for different Magento versions. Standard Magento packaging practices wouldn’t allow that. We believe that packaging our extensions the way you suggest will create more problem than it solves.

    4. Installation
    If you follow the Installation Guide and do everything properly, there shouldn’t be a problem. We have thousands of customers, and many of them easily deal with our extensions. We provide Professional Installation services for those who don’t feel secure installing the extensions themselves: http://www.aitoc.com/en/magentomods_paid_install.html
    Magento doesn’t let you install anything until the permissions are set properly, so what we do is a standard practice. Also, our system eliminates the necessity for manual installation and, when used correctly, it helps to minimize the problems that occur due to incompatibility with 3rd party extensions and customizations.

    I hope I commented on all of your concerns and hope that my post helped you to see the situation from our perspective. Once again, thank you for the active and constructive discussion. We do realize we are not perfect, but discussions like this assure us that our products and practices are good enough to keep you interested, and thus need to be constantly improved. And I do hope that with your active involvement we’ll be able to better serve your needs and create better extensions that would grow your business.

    • Jason Vance says:


      Unfortunately, I just spent hours trying to figure out which extension was causing my clients extension. Low and behold, I find that your POS Aitcheckout module had decided to cause havoc with one of my higher volume clients, causing them to loose $5,000-$10,000 USD.

      After a frustrating 8 hours we find that YOUR extensions are causing the problem due to the piss poor licensing of those extensions. You probably should try to figure out a better way.

      Here’s the skinny. I deploy 4-6 installations a month. I WILL NOT be purchasing another extension from your company until you do the following:

      1) Revamp your licensing
      2) Standard Non-Pear installation (Take a look at aheadworks)
      3) Hire someone other than a developer to write your installation manuals. If you’re in the commercial game, hire a writer that specializes in this.
      4) Respond to your problems in a timely fashion and with more than “It’s Not My Fault, It’s yours”.

      Good luck in the extension market, you’ve lost 5-10 sales per month.

  37. jeff says:

    AITOC had a large selection of modules very early in the Magento scene, it’s sad they didn’t take a more open approach like Aheadworks ( not that I’m a big fan of Aheadworks either ). Frankly I’m not surprised they haven’t created many new modules in the last year. I no longer use the AITOC modules I bought when first starting with Magento and I wouldn’t purchase another one from them. We had problems getting the Shop By Brands module to show all the products associated with a particular manufacturer and the plain-text emails generated from their E-mail Templates Manager extension are atrocious. I also didn’t like the fact they extended core classes which absolutely did not need to be touched.

    On another note I would never purchase any completely closed source module. I don’t mind if a license code function is obfuscated with ioncube or similar but closed source modules are a joke. Rarely do I buy a module which doesn’t need to be modified in order for it to play nicely with the rest of my modules or customization’s (not to mention the bugs I’ve found in a few modules). This has prevented me from buying a color/size swatch extension from two different sources. I bought a module today, luckily it was only $25, and every single file was ioncubed – I won’t be buying anything else from that developer. Personally I think anyone who doesn’t follow Aheadwork’s/MageWorx’s approach is shooting themselves in the foot.

    My favorite module vendor is MageWorx, only a few of their modules are useful to me but their support has always been above and beyond.

    • Josh Pratt says:

      Jeff – Thanks for your thoughts.

      You know, I don’t like buying from Aheadworks either, honestly. I do appreciate that their pricing isn’t like AITOC, and that they don’t have the stupid license crap that AITOC has. But, I really don’t like that they don’t just package their extensions, and the fact that they’ve got their updater feed module thrown in there without giving the user the notification of what it is, what it does, and giving them the option to skip it if they want to.

    • david says:

      Agreed about MageWorx. I found several bugs in one of their extensions recently and they helped quite quickly. Made me much more inclined to buy more of their products.

    • Mike says:

      Went back to some 1.4 installs to use old AITOC extensions. but I still can’t stand all the advertising they put into a users admin! You get way too much garbage with paid extensions days… reason to stop using them.

  38. Kris says:

    I am in complete agreement with this article. While Aitoc has some great extensions, the structure in how they do business is absurd. It will only cause people to make competing extensions (which I have made two very similar extensions to ones by Aitoc).

  39. beeplogic says:

    For the most part I won’t recommend AITOC modules, those that are ionCubed or make calls back “home”. I find them to be intrusive, hinder productivity or creativity and can cause delays or added costs by having to rely on an unpredictable third party. For those shops/companies with a proper SDLC this is probably not worth the risk. The typical route is a custom implementation, the plus side is that conceptual integrity of the application can be better guaranteed.

    On a side note, It’d be nice if extension developers would keep in mind that their module is not the end all and someone else will extend it. This also applies to front end Javascript functionality. It’s unsettling to see a javascript file with functions that are not easily reused in other contexts, lack of namespaces or most of “modern” front end development practices.

  40. Anton says:

    The main reason why extension sellers don’t offer their paid extensions through pear channels is really simple :) “piracy” as everyone can download the package and see whats distributed, use , copy or do whatever they need to do with it without paying for it. Even without distributing your package through pear channels you can expect 10 copycats within a week after you release a new popular extension and market it to your clients first.

    Sellers need to issue licenses for their software as money don’t come here from making technologically advanced solutions but rather distributing a leverage for known issues. Php is not compiled so protecting it from freeriders is a pointless task of obscuring the code. Pear channel distribution however does not solve any licensing issues or offer any solutions for licensing your software and thus it is not used

    • Josh Pratt says:

      Anton – I’m not suggesting that people who sell their extensions make them available on pear channels. I’m suggesting that companies who want to sell their modules package their modules so that they can be installed with one command, and not be loaded with tons of other crap. You can package Magento extensions without making them available on their pear channels.

      If your extension’s code is fully open for modification, of course you are going to get the “copycats”. You simply cannot avoid them unless you are doing something like IonCube on one or many of the files. It’s simply an unfortunate part of the software business. Even AITOC’s modules could be easily hacked and copied all over the place if you know what you are doing since their code is fully modifiable. So, I’m sure even their stuff is being copied and abused, even though they’ve gone to great lengths to try and avoid it.

      • Anton says:

        I agree with you on that bloat is of course unnecessary and should be avoided. Come up with reasonable licensing approach and sell it to AITOC so we can all benefit from it. Sadly the copy protection is not the only bloat thats around in most extensions and 99% of them come with reasonable performance penalty a dev’s behind them don’t count/care about the resources they are using on each request or bother to benchmark their extensions.

        If it is not available on pear channel and is a zip instead then it does not matter what one-liner you are using :) extract to root or install from pear channel. Usually you still have to configure the admin part and if templates are involved then sure you have to fit them to your layouts or designs.

        In means of deployment I (I’m a support guy for ~3500 Magento clients) can tell you that 99% of our clients have hard understanding what is ftp , ssh, filesystem or PEAR and explaining to them: “here’s a pear package so go on and install it to yours server locally or over ssh with right file permissions and preserve the file encoding while you edit locale or template files” would be same as to say to 99% of your clients GTFO :) (I can make a free extension and package it for community that adds a flash message GTFO to order success page) before you take their money.

        And what’s left is 1% of possible copycats that require AITOC and others to implement their bloats :) and the reason why it has to be bloat is that usual copycat is not experienced in reverse engineering and most probably will not understand the bloat cause bloat has no meaning. Reasonable developer will purchase the extension but hey there’s bloat in it that they will hate.

  41. I agree 100% with all the above, AITOC have caused us hours of unnecessary work, headaches etc… & their pricing just does not make financial sense to our clients as when you add our costs on top of their fees the actual ROI of their module can become unjustifiable.

  42. Robert says:

    I totally agree as pretty much everyone else here. We don’t recommend or use any AITOC modules in any of our client projects.

  43. Agree with all of the above. Pricing structure is a bait and switch.
    And can we add “Please don’t put template files in /var?”

    • Josh Pratt says:

      What!? You’ve seen template files in /var? Unbelievable… I haven’t seen that one yet.

      • They call them “Dynamic Templates”. Difficult to track down the first time you face them. You just don’t think to look there.

        • Tim Reynolds says:

          Yup. I installed, or tried to install, their auto cross sell module for a client. Hosed the entire instance (dev machine). Never got it working. Their support wanted me to give them admin and SSH credentials to my dev machine. When I explained that wasn’t possible they turned their backs on me. Got my client a refund though, so thats good.

  44. We also will not sell or support AITOC modules anymore. Their support is horrible as well, we have contacted them to request help with setting up their modules on development and stage environments. Their modules are horrible with versioning systems as well. The module will create and modify its own files causing them to not be included in the repository and to mess with commits of active developments.

  45. You are totally right, installing and maintaining AITOC modules is terrible. But, please, don’t recommend IonCube encoding! In many projects, especially with the more complicated modules, I either need to understand the functionality in detail or extend the functionality. Both is impossible with encoded modules.
    Anyways, thanks for your post :-)

    • Josh Pratt says:

      Andreas – By suggesting IonCube, I should have been more clear. I wouldn’t ever suggest IonCubing absolutely everything. Just what is necessary to maintain the needed control. In my opinion, it’s a better option that what AITOC does. I would agree though, it’s still not ideal obviously. We want full control over what we are buying in case modification or understanding how it works under the hood is necessary. It’s a difficult balance these days…

  46. Mark says:

    Same here! We placed Aitoc on our black list because of their licensing structure and bad code. Especially the automatic disabling of the extension is very frustrating! We will not be installing these extensions for our clients anymore.

  47. Vitaliy says:

    I totally agree with you! Difficult to debug and deploy.

  48. Kamil says:

    You are absolutely right! After few AITOC extensions bought, our company is stopping to sell it to our clients just because of installation nightmare and pricing.