Zipsell

A free, open source platform for selling digital downloads

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Zipsell helps you set up an online store for selling digital products such as ebooks, videos etc.

Zipsell handles payments via stripe and sends customers secure expiring Amazon S3 links to the files they have purchased. Since it is self-hosted, you receive payments directly and avoid paying commissions to 3rd party marketplaces.

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10 Reviews4.5/5
Hello Product Hunters! 👋 Recently I started the "12 startups in 12 months" challenge to get myself back into the groove of shipping products again (after years in a corporate job). This is startup #1. I sell some digital download products and have been frustrated at the lack of options out there. The two choices seemed to be either a bloated wordpress install with multiple plugins, or an online marketplace that takes commissions from my sales. So I created an alternative! Zipsell is a super simple digital downloads e-commerce platform written in Ruby on Rails. It's free and open source. You host it yourself and all payments go directly to your stripe account! It's such a great feeling to get a product shipped for the first time in years - I'm pretty much shaking as I type this! I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have 😃
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@yongfook Congrats on the launch Jon! 💪 Does Zipsell work for free digital downloads as well? Say you just want to capture email in exchange for an ebook.
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@robjama hmm the way it's currently built doesn't cater for this. I think if you're just giving free downloads for email addresses you can achieve that by adding a link to your mailing list software's "thanks for subscribing" template.
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@yongfook aside: as someone who is trying to learn more programming (Rails in particular) I would pay for a digital video tutorial showing me how I could build this from step 1! (I know it’s open source, but getting step by step instructions would be 🔥)
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I may be missing something here but how is this a startup in the sense of earning money? How will you gain anything from this - what is your end game in terms of monetising it? I genuinely don't mean this in a "snarky" manner, I'm curious as to your strategy for the long haul.
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@woodss I think it's a fair question. I can answer in three ways. 1) Partly this is a question of semantics. It does depend on what definition of a startup you subscribe to. Do all startups make money from day one? Certainly not. Should I, as a bootstrapped founder be more focused on revenue generation from day one? Erm.. yes, probably 😅 however, as I mentioned in the article linked to this submission, this first "startup" is me exercising my product skillset again after a long hiatus. I wasn't super focused on revenue for this first launch, but revenue will definitely be a consideration for the next 11. 2) Allegorical example - when Wordpress launched did anyone consider it a startup? I don't think so. But somewhere along the line it morphed from "project" to "multi million dollar ecosystem". The same can be said for all commercially successful open source projects - they all started with a cruddy v1 that some people found useful. Not that I have ambitions as lofty as these, but it's something to remember before thinking there's nothing to be gained from developing free tools. 3) Practical example - I'm planning to use Zipsell to sell my own digital downloads, so you can sort of see it as a "foundational" piece of work for a startup... Hope that makes sense!
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@yongfook Point 3) is what I envisaged [when I mentioned strategy] but I thought it was worth asking the question - thanks for replying, I appreciate it!
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@yongfook @woodss I think you could also host the platform for users and charge for it like a traditional SaaS because most people would rather pay someone to take care of the technical details and focus on their own product, such as their book that they'd be selling through Zipsell. Open source does not preclude revenue simply because most people don't know about and indeed don't want the hassle of setting up a tech stack.
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@woodss @yongfook Another interesting business model could be the WeTransfer model where you use the background of the "selling UI" as a curated advertising space. I think this model works because people will inevitably share the Zipsell link to sell their products and having a gorgeous background from a brand wouldn't hurt. This will give you revenue and be a gorgeous product enhancement.
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Love this product as you don't have to pay any commission. Unfortunately, Stripe isn't available in India, so would love Paypal option :)

PS: Great job on shipping startup #1. Looking forward for your next ones :)

Pros:

Free, Open Source, No Commission needs to be payed & most importantly its secure

Cons:

Paypal support

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Congrats on the launch! Really liking the to-the-pointness design & copy of the landing page. 👍
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This is amazing. Congrats on the launch.
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@kay_tan Thanks for the support!
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