First of all thanks for trying seotoaster, and we're glad that your client likes it.
You are free to develop your own plug-ins and interfacing with our store REST API. Documentation can be found on our developer website at http://developers.seotoaster.com/
We intend to also open the marketplace to developers submission with a strict curation process to maintain quality and avoid unnecessary duplication.
Moving on to the plug-in policy...generally speaking we've setup the toll booth :-) with the real-time shipping plugins, business solutions (classified system..) and payment gateways.
As you rightfully pointed out, the project needs to be financed. Now, we do not want to compete on "free". Instead, we compete on "best/most". Being free and open source is important to us but we don't want to be complacent with ourselves because of it.
Our intent is certainly not to mislead anyone. Running a shop on seotoaster like any other software has a cost attached to it.
And thanks to your elaborated feedback, we'll make a couple of notes throughout the site to make this clearer to everyone.
Our observation on this subject is that many systems do indeed provide free payments plugins. However, we think that between customization costs, hidden cost to "make things right" for SEO, usability or performance coupled with lost opportunity time, seotoaster is very likely to be a less costly options than what's being offered on the marketplace today.
Yes, it costs $250 for 1 web shop (that is if you're not running the quote engine as checkout mechanism in which case it is free). But if you do want to run multiple clients from a single box, then please do contact us as we have licensing schemes (and many other benefits) available to agencies/professionals.
Please do note that we make some plugins available for free; Facebook graph http://www.seotoaster.com/plugins-fbgraph-99.html
; Excel table http://www.seotoaster.com/exceltable.html
; page ratings/reviews http://www.seotoaster.com/page-rating-30.html
are such examples..
In fact I've got some great news for you, we've integrated all web design plugins into the core for our next CMS package. These additional content blocks offer specific functionalities (text only / image only / product only / direct upload etc...) enable you to build virtually unbreakable themes.
A new commerce version is coming up too, with a number of new and improved features, including what you would commonly found in paying plug-ins with other platforms; Group pricing, extensive couponing system, integrated quote engine and more...
Ecommerce also ships with a number of free integrated shipping options; including flat rate shipping per weight/cart amount (3 levels), free individual item shipping & free shipping over cart amount, mark-up/mark-down (which works across all integrated or shipper plug-ins).
Only the real-time shipping quotes are paid-for shipping plugins at $75 a pop or $7 a month (so if seotoaster ends up not working for your purpose, you've had a minimal out of pocket cost).
We'd be happy to develop a UK royal mail plugin for your project. And when hiring our team, you do help the entire community in the process http://www.seotoaster.com/contact-us.html
. By the same token, if you decide not to save out of the pocket expenses and go with the ready made payment plug-ins, you will also contribute to the platform you're building your business on. Some food for thoughts maybe...
Finally, by popular demand, the forum is being revived at http://forum.seotoaster.com/
Thanks again for the time you took to write this note. It is very helpful indeed.