February 8, 2013, 11:30 AM

Magento sets tougher rules for Solution Partner program

It’s cutting back from 400 to 200 the roster of approved vendor partners.

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Magento, the open-source e-commerce technology platform from eBay Inc., is cutting back its number of recognized Magento Solution Partners, the systems integrators and design firms that help retailers deploy the Magento system, to about 200 from 400, says Sharon Meers, head of sales and business development for X.Commerce Inc., the eBay unit that includes Magento.

With more than 150,000 merchants worldwide using Magento, ranging from small start-ups to established merchants, the company wants to make it easier for clients to find the technology consultant with the right skills for each client’s business and system complexity, she says. “Instead of having over 400 partners, we concluded it will help our merchants make partner selections more appropriately if we focus on partners that have demonstrated a commitment to quality for the merchants they look after,” Meers says.

As an open-source technology, Magento provides access to the software source code that technology developers can use to customize an e-commerce platform to a merchant’s specific needs in areas such as page navigation and merchandise displays. By removing from its ranks of recognized technology partners those without sufficient training in Magento technology, X.Commerce hopes to avoid situations where consultants may configure an e-commerce platform in a way that doesn’t properly support a merchant’s needs, Meers says. “We found that when developers are not familiar with the basics of Magento, there is a higher likelihood of attempting to use Magento’s flexibility in an unintended direction.” She declined to offer more specifics.

Under its new Solution Partner program, Magento will have more than 200 technology consulting firms certified as Gold or Silver partners. Gold partner firms must have at least four software developers on staff trained as certified Magento Enterprise technology developers and undergo a review by X.Commerce of at least two software projects to ensure the Magneto code was properly deployed, Meers says. Silver partners must have at least two Magento Enterprise certified developers and also undergo two software project reviews. The Magento Enterprise Edition, which starts at about $14,400 per year for a license, is Magento’s platform for mid-size and large companies and is typically deployed with a Magneto development partner.

Magento has also launched a Magento Associates program to designate technology consulting firms that have worked on Magento’s free Community Edition platform and have been working toward Magento Enterprise certification. X.Commerce has eliminated what Magento had called its Bronze Level Solution Partner program, which included some developers that Magento now deems to have had insufficient training.

There is no direct cost related to getting a Magento certification, which requires taking a test designed to confirm that firms have sufficient knowledge of Magento and experience implementing it. For firms that want training before taking a certification exam, Magento offers courses that cost from $400 to $3,850.

Magento has eight clients listed in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide and 37 in the Second 500 Guide. EBay, which also owns e-commerce technology provider GSI Commerce, is ranked fifth among providers of e-commerce platforms in Internet Retailer’s Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 E-Retailers guide.

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