There needs to be a better way to pay for free software I've had this idea in my head for a while and finally got to sit down and write some if it out.Problem
- When you give to a project, what exactly are you getting? Its a little unclear.
- If you actually buy software (or the "pro" version of something), what if tomorrow you find you no longer need it? There should be a way to pay for something exactly as long as you used it.
- How do you feel good about making donations and supporting charitable developers? These people are giving their stuff away and you're giving back -- you both should feel great.
- Donations frequently require PayPal, which doesn't have a good reputation
An adaptive donation system that gives developers money when people are using their software, and users the ability to communicate with developers they've given money to over time. Here's what I propose:
- Users pay into an account. The minimum add should be VERY low to get people started.
- From there, any freeware that's used is monitored by a very low resources program just to watch for usage (which is optional as I explain below). The program can also just run once to detect what software is running.
- The programs that see more usage get more of the percentage of the money paid into the account. If all you ever use from our database of freeware is TaskLaser 2.0, then that developer gets all the money. If you use two applications around the same amount, both get 50%.
Now, users who use ProEject aren't going to use that program any more than a few seconds a day. Other users won't want to have a monitoring program running (paranoid or just don't want to use the system resources). So the system must adapt:Optionally:
- Users can just select what programs they want to give money to. Lets say ProEject saves my ass one day, I'm going to give them all the money in my account for that month. Or I just think guinness is a nice guy, whatever.
- I disable the monitor program entirely and just log into my account and just manually choose what I want to give to. I can set it so that once a month, quarter, or year I get an email reminding me to swap out entries based on my preferences.
This idea could be adapted to browser plugins or cell phones as well. I've long thought Firefox or Opera should put this together since they have a lot of awesome built-in plugins. I definitely owe the guys who came up with adblock plus and noscript a few bucks.
Developers who get emails from users via this service will see how much money the user has paid to them over time. Its still freeware so its up to them if they want to respond at all, but it might encourage both the user to contribute and the developer to stay active with the project.