Without donations, you kill the golden goose.mouser
, you've talked about paypal charges and how that virtually cancels out small donations. Interesting to see Doctorow note the same frustration. I also see his frustration over how to establish value for 'bits' that do not accompany a physical object, such as a digital book in his case. But how many rich fans are there out there for him, or for anyone, except for nationally or international artists? We're thrown back to the old truism: it takes money to make money
Much of the same has long been argued about open source models. One of the biggest misperceptions is that open source is about cost, freedom, etc. That's part of it, though not all open source software is free under the GNU GPL
. But open source is about distribution
, not cost. And we know the story after that: either sell services for the software and its management and/or, make your software (or service) vital to others.
The latter is indeed rare.
Better to find a problem and intensify it.
I'm surprised by the number of people who, on a download forum like FileForum, fail to grasp the concept of donationware. They persistently mistake it for freeware, or worse, nagware, even though you offer an easy way to get DC software free of any donation if you want!
I've switched to Linux, but there are still a half dozen Windows apps I donate to on impulse throughout the year. I even set an annual goal for such donations -- $50 for A; $25 for B; $100 for C, etc. When I get some extra money (which is growing rarer in this economy), I look up my last donation dates and projects and send it around. DC is one such project, of course.
Perhaps it's a matter of retraining an entire generation. Whenever I work with contractors and consultants, I have one saying: We both have to go to the bank
. In other words, you don't get all the money, nor do I. We both have to win (make money), or no deal [Win-Win]. Can't afford to. If I make money and you don't, you won't come back [Win-Lose]. For "money" insert whatever -- satisfaction, happiness, utility, and so on. If you make money and I don't, I won't bother working with you again. Can't afford to. [Lose-Win].
So to finish where I started: Without donations, you kill the golden goose.