I don’t think I’ll do this, but it’s an interesting idea: the software remains free, but each download costs $1. Just $1.
I think it’s safe to say that most people could afford to pay $1 to download one of my apps/hacks/etc. You download it, can’t get it to work, don’t like it, etc.? Too bad, you’re out $1, no big loss. You already downloaded this version once but lost the zip file? Too bad, you’re out another $1. It’s only $1, no big thing – right?
It’s such a simple idea – even if it cut my downloads by 2/3, I’d have upwards of $10,000 so far instead of the nearly $500 I’ve gotten in donations (stats are updated on the Donation Page). I’d (of course) set it up so people who have already donated are exempt for the download charge.
The only real problem I see is that the barrier to entry then becomes PayPal, and it seems lots of people don’t like PayPal. Ah well, it’s an interesting idea – who knows I might try it down the road.