A free, open source platform for selling digital downloads

get it
#1 Product of the DaySeptember 29, 2018

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.

Mac Sparrow
Catalin Vasile
 +6 reviews
  • Akshay Kadam(A2K)
    Akshay Kadam(A2K)Maker of all things JavaScript 😘

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


    Paypal support

    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 :)

    Akshay Kadam(A2K) has used this product for one day.
You need to become a Contributor to join the discussion.
Jon Yongfook
Jon YongfookMaker@yongfook · Indie maker
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 😃
Robleh Jama
Robleh Jama@robjama · Product @Shopify prev.@Tiny Hearts acq'd
@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.
Jon Yongfook
Jon YongfookMaker@yongfook · Indie maker
@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.
Justin Jackson
Justin Jackson@mijustin · ⚡️
@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 🔥)
Steve Woods 🇬🇧 👌
Steve Woods 🇬🇧 👌@woodss · .NET Developer and Drone Geek
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.
Jon Yongfook
Jon YongfookMaker@yongfook · Indie maker
@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!
Steve Woods 🇬🇧 👌
Steve Woods 🇬🇧 👌@woodss · .NET Developer and Drone Geek
@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!
Satvik Pendem
Satvik Pendem@satvikpendem
@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.
Gaurabh Mathure
Gaurabh MathureHiring@gaurabhmathure · Co-founder, Head of Product at Tydy
@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.
Kuldar@kkuldar · Designer
Congrats on the launch! Really liking the to-the-pointness design & copy of the landing page. 👍
This is amazing. Congrats on the launch.
Jon Yongfook
Jon YongfookMaker@yongfook · Indie maker
@kay_tan Thanks for the support!
Kenny Grant
Kenny Grant@allbombs · Product lover, goal digger. YVR + SIN
congrats on the launch A few questions: Who is your ideal customer? Is it makers, or a specific typer of maker? I'm guessing technical makers? Is the main value of your product maximizing profit, or saving time? Idea - would developers be interested selling code? Might be interesting to make this turnkey for github repos
Jon Yongfook
Jon YongfookMaker@yongfook · Indie maker
@allbombs The target audience is people who need to sell digital downloads but don't want to do it on wordpress or a 3rd party marketplace. I feel like that's a growing segment. At the moment this might mean it's geared more towards technical folks but I'm sure there's improvements I can implement to make the setup easy for anyone.
Jon Yongfook
Jon YongfookMaker@yongfook · Indie maker
@allbombs For now I think the main value proposition is helping you maximise your profit. For example, one of the leading 3rd party marketplaces charges an 8.5% fee on every one of your sales. If you're selling low cost products that might not bother you, but if you're selling a $299 product and paying $25 to the marketplace for each transaction - you'd be looking for long-term alternatives. The best route is to self-host but there aren't many drop-dead simple solutions out there. This is me throwing my hat into the ring 😅
Mac Sparrow
Mac Sparrow@captmacsparrow · WordPress & Front-end web developer
@yongfook I am exactly your target audience! I'm tired of using Gumroad and since I've been working on moving away from WordPress for my own website, so I wanted to look into rolling something to sell on my own. This came along at the perfect time.
Jon Yongfook
Jon YongfookMaker@yongfook · Indie maker
@captmacsparrow that’s awesome! So glad to hear it :) let me know how you get on and if you have any feedback
Sahil Lavingia
Sahil LavingiaPro@shl · Gumroad
@captmacsparrow Founder of Gumroad here. Curious why you're tired and what we could do better? Thanks!