Back in 2003, I postulated that micropayments might be a better monetization strategy for free/open source software than traditional donationware . In particular, I liked the idea of asking for $1 per download. I’m certainly not going to put up a paywall barrier to the stuff I make available here, but I thought it would be interesting to try bringing this idea to the forefront when folks are downloading from my site1 and see how it goes.
I’ve added a little effect to some of the download links on this site (for example on my WordPress Plugins page) that will show a little donation form when someone clicks to download. It doesn’t stop, delay or in any way inhibit the download itself.
For those of you currently reading this on my web site, here is an example (click the link):
For those of you reading this in a feed reader or other, here is a screenshot of the form expanded under the Download link:
I don’t know how folks will react to this, or if it will result in any additional donations. I do think it will be interesting to find out.
UPDATE, PLEASE READ BEFORE COMMENTING: I tried to make this clear above, but by some of the comments below it seems it was not clear enough. The change described here is not requiring any sort of payment for downloads. Downloads are still free, are completely unencumbered, and no payment of any kind is required.
What I am doing is making the donation form more prominent, to put the idea in people’s minds that “hey, someone spent time to build this, maybe I can kick over a buck as a thank-you.”
The point that “when someone downloads may not be the perfect time to ask for a donation” is certainly valid, however the other options aren’t great either and the real point is to build a little awareness, etc. so I’m trying it out this way.