Few words from my point of view. We are pleased that the discussion took place. The idea of charge is totally fine, it's an open-source project and as every open-source project, it has to be monetized, in that or another way. I suppose, everyone accepts it, however, the way how it was introduced is totally unacceptable.
Comparing nopCommerce with Magento, for the sake of completely different basics and business models, is pointless. The advantage of nopCommerce was that what was wrong with Magento, nopCommerce solves. It solved these problems and attracted those customers who did not want to participate in the Magento ecosystem or other PHP-based solutions. From a business point of view, it is an ideal solution and the person who came up with it deserves a medal. Constant profit, independent of the number of plugin sales, no risk. Charging a commission for a sale, even though it will seemingly give you more profit because you will receive a higher commission, is risky because mostly there is no sale and you would be strictly connected to the popularity of the vendor. Besides, the decision not to introduce a commission per sale is obvious, the current marketplace is not able to enforce it, so you had no other choice.
This problem was raised already when the marketplace was changed for the first time when plugin verification was introduced. The aforementioned software also performs verification, but only because they offer it on their own platform. Therefore, they are taking responsibility for it, so they must be sure of the products offered. Here, even if you get the source code and compiled plugin, customers can buy something completely different on the partner's website. Even though we did not accept it, we adapted to the changes. But after time you can see that the level that was supposed to change has not changed. Now, we cannot accept it.
What's more, when you offer products on your marketplace, you need to maintain, manage, and verify it. In this case, the fee is completely normal and no one would have a problem with it, even if it would be the same solution as now. Furthermore, the level of offered products would increase enormously.
Again you gave Magento as an example, but Magento offers plugins in its own store. Magento has a dozen times greater share in the e-commerce market than nopCommerce. As far as I know, it's about 12% of all online retail stores. According to the SimilarTech website, which of course has inaccurate statistics, but gives the general point of view, Magento has 116,000 live websites, where nopCommerce has 8000.
It needs to be made clear that plugins and themes, with some exceptions, don't sell in amazing daily amounts. For many months, if not years, we have been seeing changes taking place in the nopCommerce community. Years ago, the community had many active users, those who had active support for beginners and beginners who needed it. This clearly shows even the monthly karma level visible on the forum. Currently, the majority of active users are bots.
Marketplace and plugin publishing activities are, in my opinion, strongly linked to the partnership. In the current situation, each partner has been downgraded to the status of a regular user who came from the street and would like to publish the plugin. Free credits or modified plugin publishing rules, for each partner, would be a perfect added value for partnership packages which below the gold level are completely unprofitable. The $700 or $200 fee just to get a Solution Partner badge is incomprehensible. Apart from the listing on the site, the solution partner badge, and the footer removal discount, the rest of the benefits is redundant. After many years of active participation in the life of nopCommerce, each partner is able to support their customers, therefore the discount on premium support services is useless.
Ending up with a sad situation that for some time some partners are favored by picking up plugins and themes in categories. Despite sorting "From Newest", products are artificially arranged. After many years of partnering, we notice that the benefits of it are diminishing instead of increasing. Finally, we have come to a situation where premium themes are offered by one partner, and among 350 plugins, half are free plugins, and out of the rest - 150, 100 of them belong to two partners. It's hard to say that it's a community if somebody will look at it from the outside.