GitHub Marketplace dev toolmakers get a clue

Social code site will let vendors peek at online store analytics

By Thomas Claburn in San Francisco


Community code site GitHub on Monday plans to illuminate its Marketplace, not with lights but with data.

The social software development biz opened its online Marketplace last year to provide a central storefront for developer tools that can be integrated with its code repositories. GitHub's bit bazaar provides assorted accessories for devs, for activities like continuous integration, monitoring, and security.

Starting Monday, the plan is to give the vendors involved better insight into who's buying and who's trying the various virtual gewgaws and trinkets.

Kyle Daigle, GitHub's director of ecosystem engineering, in a phone interview with The Register, said GitHub plans to provide Marketplace vendors with an Insights tab that displays assorted analytics data related to sales.

"We have a lot of data around what people are doing and all their 71 million repos and their integrations," he said, adding that the focus is on making integrators and partners more successful on the Marketplace.

Insights, said Daigle, will provide vendors with figures, in numbers and graphs, related to their store listings, such as page views, clicks, free trials, revenue, conversions, and unique visitors at checkout.

"We're trying to create a new distribution channel for developer tools," said Daigle.


Participation in Marketplace comes at a cost – 25 per cent of sales – but vendors appear to be fine with that because a store presence makes company wares more visible to potential customers and provides the ability to offer free trials, through which new customers can be acquired.

Daigle cited the example of Dependabot, a service for automatically updating the software dependencies in projects. He said the bot biz had seen growth increase by a factor of ten after it made a place for itself in Marketplace.

Another advantage for vendors, said Daigle, is that GitHub handles the billing, which makes maintaining subscriptions to multiple products less of a chore for customers.

In an email to The Register, Matt Butler, CEO of ZenHub, a four-year-old Vancouver-based startup that provides a browser extension for GitHub project management expressed enthusiasm for GitHub's data show.

"So far the Insights platform has really helped illustrate the worth of the marketplace as a new acquisition channel to our team, by making real revenue numbers and trends accessible as part of the Insights dashboard," he said. "As it evolves, we will be looking to use the Insights platform to help us to make better decisions on the future of ZenHub."

He said the Marketplace provides an appealing way for a developer-focused business like ZenHub to interact with the GitHub community. "In addition to the increase in traffic and awareness that the Marketplace has created for ZenHub, close to 15 per cent of our customer base now comes directly from Marketplace purchases," he said. ®

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