I have a free open-source project with around 800K downloads to date. I've been contacted by some monetization companies from time to time and turned them down, since I didn't want toolbar malware associated with my software. I was wondering however, is there a non-evil way to monetize software ?
Here are the options as I know them:
- Add a donation button.
- I don't feel comfortable with that as I really don't need "donations" - I'm paid quite well.
- Donating users may feel entitled to support etc. (see the second to last bullet)
- Add ads inside your application.
- This model works well in the mobile world, but I suspect no one will go for it on the desktop.
- It doesn't mix well with open source, though I suppose I could charge only for the binaries (most users won't go to the hassle of compiling the sources).
- People may expect support etc. after having explicitly paid (see next bullet).
- This is one route I definitely don't want to take, I don't want any sort of hassle beyond coding. I assure you, the program is top notch (albeit simple) and I'm not aware of any bugs as of yet (there are support forums and blog comments where users may report them). It is also very simple, documented, and discoverable so I do think I have a case for supplying it "as is".
- If you use a monetization company, you lose control over what they propose. Unless you can establish some sort of strong trust with the company to supply quality suggestions (I sincerely doubt it), I can't have that.
- Choosing your own affiliate (e.g. directly suggesting Google Toolbar) is possibly the only viable solution to my mind. Problem is, where do I find a solid affiliate that could actually give value to the user rather than infect his computer with crapware? I thought maybe Babylon (not the toolbar of course, I hate toolbars)?