The components that I'm using are restricting me from selling the application. Any ideas how to still make a profit from it? I've seen some freeware apps which set your homepage to some site, I guess they get paid for that.

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    Yeah, set users' home page. They'll love that. – Nicole Feb 2 '11 at 0:47
  • Ofcourse they won't, but I guess that's the only thing I can do. – blez Feb 2 '11 at 0:49
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    In what way are you restricted? The GPL does not prohibit you from selling applications built from source under the GPL (not a lawyer). – Martin York Feb 2 '11 at 1:44
  • It's using Google Translate - research.google.com/university/translate/terms.html – blez Feb 2 '11 at 2:24

There are a few ways. If it's Web-enabled, you can put ads into the app that will generate revenue for you. Or you could put a PayPal link on your site and ask for donations. Or you could (probably) pay for a commercial license for the components and then be able to sell the program.

  • I want to use google translate, if google allow me. That's why I wonder how to make my app payed (it's a sort of a dictionary). Should ads work for this? – blez Feb 2 '11 at 1:10
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    @blez: Well, if you can hook into Google Translate you can probably also hook into Google Ads, right? But Berry's right. Messing around with the user's configuration is a good way to get people thinking of your program as malware, so that's one good thing not to do. – Mason Wheeler Feb 2 '11 at 1:12

In short, not really aside from potential advertising and / or begging for donations via paypal and the like. Things such as setting the user's homepage without permission and installing various crap on their system in return for revenue annoys users no end and would most likely categorise your software as malware!

My advice? Use it to create a good impression. Give away a good piece of software for free and users will thank you for it and sometimes check to see if you've got any more stuff available. It's also great to put on a CV if you've got a well used, decent free application.

If you're looking to make lots of hard cash from this though I'm afraid you're most likely out of luck. If you really wanted to go down this road you should've looked at the components you were using before launching ahead!


Well, there's probably a large number of ways to make money from something free. The first things that pop up in my head are consulting for the product (not applicable to every product), or using the product to get your name out there so that you get hired to do something else (think of the product as an example of your work).

If you really want to get paid badly enough there are borderline and sleezy ways to do so (adding someone's toolbar to your installer is borderline. Actively changing the user's home page is sleezy). Doing these things will get you some money now (though I hesitate to think it will be much money), but it will give you a reputation as someone who'd do anything for a buck. Make sure that's a rep you want before you go down that road.

I do have to ask though: given that you know you can't charge for the app, and given that money seems to be your primary motivator in this matter, why write it at all? If getting paid is what really matters for you, then you should focus on doing something that you can really get paid for.

If you don't like corporate life (and I can understand that), then you probably need to either find a different project, or a base library set that lets you do what you want. Heck, perhaps writing a new base set of libraries that's less encumbered is a project worth your time.


In 2003 we started this site that sold guides for games like Everquest and World of Warcraft. We had authors, an editing process, and a decent product.

One of our partners made this plugin for WoW that would help you sell all your uneeded inventory in a more-intelligent-than-usual way, and he gave it away through our site.

Apparently this was something people needed, because according to Analytics, that plugin made us something like 20k over a 6 month period and we didn't even do anything at all to push it. Kind of unbelievable.

So here's my point in a nutshell: software can be the best kind of content, and great content brings a special quality of traffic that converts at a higher rate than usual.

Also... People have done really well by asking for donations. The Dwarf Fortress guy publishes his donations each month and it's usually around $2,000.

  • Hmm... 2,000/month * 12 months = $24k per year. Most professional developers with that level of skill make at least 3-4x that, if not more, so I'm not sure how "really well" that is... – Mason Wheeler Aug 6 '12 at 14:56
  • @Mason Wheeler It's way more than I would have expected, that's for sure! Although you're right, if that's his entire income, that could be a tough life... – Brian MacKay Aug 7 '12 at 21:19

It depends. If you purely want to make a living from it then it's not a good path to follow. However, if you wanted to make enough money to cover hosting costs etc, your best bet is to use PayPal's Donation button. That way you can slowly receive donations for your work.

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