Welcome Guest.   Make a donation to an author on the site October 22, 2014, 10:01:17 PM  *

Please login or register.
Or did you miss your validation email?


Login with username and password (forgot your password?)
Why not become a lifetime supporting member of the site with a one-time donation of any amount? Your donation entitles you to a ton of additional benefits, including access to exclusive discounts and downloads, the ability to enter monthly free software drawings, and a single non-expiring license key for all of our programs.


You must sign up here before you can post and access some areas of the site. Registration is totally free and confidential.
 
View the new Member Awards and Badges page.
   
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
Author Topic: cranioscopical: "Markham what we could do to further the project."  (Read 3789 times)
sgtevmckay
Moderator
*****
Posts: 836


Magis Esse

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« on: August 05, 2010, 11:56:06 AM »

Just a comment,

I'm sure that it's unintended but, to me, the direction of this topic is starting to look a bit like ingratitude.

Perhaps we should ask Markham what we could do to further the project.

In fact:

@Markham & Sarge: In your opinion, what could we do to further the project?
We did raise some donations for you recently, which you then generously assigned to the NANY prize.


I have reconsidered this question after much thought and lack of sleep last night.

Maybe there is something.
Help us with the business model concept.

Essentially:
What can we do to make this pliable enough to to remain appealing to Current End Users, while building/Maintaining a forward movement towards business licensing.

I would appreciate any thoughts. From Pricing Scheme (outside of the box included) to the effects in consideration of a non-business end user, to considerations of a fair price..
Any and all thoughts and considerations, regardless of how improvisational or unwieldy.

Probably not what cranioscopical actually meant, but this is an opportunity for All of us to ring in and make a difference in the direction that CD may go.
An opportunity for all DC members to be part of a solution  Thmbsup

Logged
cranioscopical
Friend of the Site
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,182



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2010, 01:20:35 PM »

Quote from: sgtevmckay
What can we do to make this pliable enough to to remain appealing to Current End Users, while building/Maintaining a forward movement towards business licensing.

I'm not a marketer and can't help you construct a working a business model.

I don't know the software market but I find it difficult to believe that there are enough business users (or even potential business users) of CD to carry the freight of your overheads. Presumably, the two of you think there are or you wouldn't raise the issue. I honestly believe that the best thing you can do is to calculate a price and charge it, and charge everybody. Unfortunately that won't stop the copies now in circulation from being passed around.

Your motives for working on CD certainly do not appear to be profit-based. If true (as I believe) the asking price could be quite modest — that, in itself, might help sales.

You cite download figures that are high, and mention the monetary need to support that traffic. I wonder how that traffic will be affected by charging for CD. I assume you have sources at least to estimate what happens when free software becomes paid software.

Others here are far better equipped to comment than I (in the mental arena I fight unarmed) and I suspect you will get some thought-provoking responses to your message.

As a gesture of goodwill, I'd be more than happy to buy a copy and I wager that others here will feel the same — it's a great community. From what you say, however, I doubt that would begin to get you where you need to be, in order to break even financially.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 01:23:30 PM by cranioscopical » Logged

Chris
tomos
Charter Member
***
Posts: 8,607



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2010, 03:51:37 PM »

Well cause of all the fuss I've actually downloaded a copy embarassed (as I said elsewhere I've always really liked the look of it) but if I actually used it I'd buy a license if it's kept going.

I cant help you much except with uneducated suggestions:
As Chris points out the download traffic will be affected by the change to commercial - well, as long as you charge for personal licenses. That will make it much easier to cope.

I would suggest for non-business use, a reasonable to a low price - sorry I've no idea what the competition costs, but make it cheaper Wink
And a more expensive but not outrageous price for business (just cause we're in business doesnt mean we're making lots of dosh!)

How about this basic license model:
Personal: for one person only - but on a reasonable number of machines (I know there was someone talking on the other thread about having multiple copies on one machine...)
Business: for one machine only (or a limited number) for any number of users

I came across that model lately with roughly the same price for both - seemed fair to me.

I find one machine only for a personal license just, eh, not really nice Wink smiley
Logged

Tom
Dormouse
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 996

View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2010, 08:52:54 AM »

The first point I would make is that developing a successful business strategy requires vision, and a lot of time and consideration (often, but not always accompanied by market research) or a great deal of luck. It's not something to be rushed at.

Secondly, AFAICS, most small software vendors have nothing that remotely resembles a strategy that will  even break even on costs (if their own time is given a reasonable value) and nor do they have strategies that are likely to maximise their income. So I wouldn't just jump to a sale and pricing scheme you see used elsewhere.

The next point is that open source or free can be a route to making more money than selling software. Look carefully at the business models of RedHat and Canonical. In some ways Evernote is even more interesting - but I may come on to that another time. Genuinely working with OpenSource gives them the support of the OS community and software and being OS and free gives their products a lot of publicity, buzz and users (with associated bug finding - and bugs are an important issue for business sales). They then leverage that into addons/products that they sell. The first proposal seems to come closest to this, but with the addition of a few artificial limitations typical of many small software vendors. But to make this work you actually need to have a clearly defined addon/product that you will sell to a carefully defined market. I can see the possibility of a CD for businesses, but it would need careful consideration, individual tweaking and high quality sales/marketing/manuals and support to work. [I don't mind discussing details off forum; I'd suggest not discussing anything in public that might help competitors]

The open/closed source issue is an interesting one that I'm not going to address. But I would suggest that you look at how many downloads you have against how many sales or downloads the copycats/pinchers are making. And then, if you have even more publicity & buzz and are free, what scope is there really for them?

Selling CD to all users, however low the price, is fraught with difficulty. Your user base is used to free. And from what I've seen of the posts/questions likely only to use free in the vast majority of cases. The competition is mostly free. My guess would be that your first year would be your biggest as you convert some users into customers; declining after that because your free publicity and mouth-to-mouth recommendations would be gone.

One problem you have is time. Current situation is unsustainable. Changing it will require some initial funding at least. With that number of users, torrents are feasible, and all the solutions mentioned above and elsewhere are worth looking that. Distributing downloads would reduce costs, but long-term you want people visiting your site, so I'd personally only go for solutions that required that. I would strongly suggest having advertising on the site (and managing it carefully as a source of income and also making sure that your image is protected - not something that many sites do well); not something you are able to do whilst on the DC server, I assume. Looking at the numbers, this might be more than sufficient on its own to pay your costs; but you would want to maximise the number of pageclicks agains the MBs of downloads. Your server usage is your big variable cost atm (the other being time spent on support); your fixed costs are the coding time. Ideally you want your variable income to vary in line with (but be higher than) your variable costs; advertising can be a very good way of achieving this. Ideally, you would also have your fixed costs at the lowest possible proportion of total costs (assuming variable income to exceed variable costs) as that gives you personally the biggest return on your efforts. If you get seriously into sales/marketing etc, then you should be able to make these variable too.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 11:14:52 AM by Dormouse » Logged
Archon of Fate
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 174


View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2010, 07:00:18 PM »

Though I'd never suggest anyone use object dock... but maybe follow their idea... and what you were going to do...
offer a free version and a paid for version (premium)

offer as many docks as you wish in free, dock folders in premium...
kiosk mode sounds more like a free thing to me....

I may have been against this idea at first but I have no other ideas on how to market it... offering a free version gives people a "preview" of the program before you buy rather than just say fork over $20 or you can just look at screenshots  Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 07:22:56 PM by Archon of Fate » Logged
sgtevmckay
Moderator
*****
Posts: 836


Magis Esse

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2010, 07:41:07 PM »

I absolutely despise Stardock and almost all it represents.

I would also sell a ten thousand at $10 USD than 1000 at $20
But I would make every attempt to avoid almost all aspects of what ObjectDock+ represents, although I am certain that better service and a better product can be produced.

Logged
JavaJones
Review 2.0 Designer
Charter Member
***
Posts: 2,537



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2010, 09:53:04 PM »

I feel like I'm still confused about the underlying goal, so it's hard to recommend a solid "business strategy". A business strategy is only necessary if you want a business! If you need a "recompense strategy" it doesn't necessarily involve a *business*, so that's a key distinction. If all you want is not to pay out of pocket for things that cost real money, but don't need a "salary" as such (payment for your time input), then I think things get a lot simpler and maybe more realistic. If you actually want to create a business around this, even if only to cover "time and materials", then I think the only sensible way forward is a completely GPL-free commercial release and, yes, a well thought out business model.

I will proceed on the assumption that profit is not a motive and that cost of *materials* (not time) is what is sought, as that's essentially my understanding from previous CD discussions.

So, as far as I understand it there have been 2 specific costs discussed here and in the other thread.

1: Cost of development environment, Visual Studio. This is a fixed and specific cost, one that hopefully won't reoccur any time soon. As such it could easily be treated like the LCD donation was. Set a specific needed donation amount and ask for it until you get it. Steve did a great job of rallying people on that cause IMO and raised $150 in just a few days.

Also seen in that thread was evidence of a persistent desire to *avoid* the donation request (a perspective I know Mouser also tends to share), and that's fine. But it's not good to let that be the policy while behind the scenes it's causing major harm. I for one had no idea things were getting so bad until the announcement of CD2 and the new licensing scheme. I can't help thinking that if there had been more information shared, more direct and specific requests for donation, and more clear understanding of the costs involved, we could have avoided most of this.

2: Cost of hosting/bandwidth for CD downloads. It's pretty awesome to hear that CD downloads take up 1TB a month. That's incredible to me. Now it's true, that's a lot of bandwidth, and can be costly, but there are potential solutions, and frankly it seems like several have either not been fully investigated/considered, or not considered at all. This may be a lack of knowledge on my part about what you've actually done, so I hope I don't seem presumptuous, but for the sake of outlining some potentially new ideas I'll assume what you've stated publicly is the general limit of what you've explored.

Actually purchasing that amount of bandwidth monthly outright is not necessarily a bank breaker. VPS.net for example will give you 1TB for $50/mo with their CDN service. Add 1 VPS node for the server to tie it to (which gives you an additional 250GB of bandwidth) and your monthly cost is $70. Not cheap, but if you can manage to get $30 or $40/mo in donations, it could be very affordable. I realize it's a lot more than the 0 you may be paying now (using the DC server), but it does seem manageable, or at least a lot less risky to try than a total conversion of licensing terms, etc.

Then there's the obvious torrent idea that was mentioned. Many people do not want to deal with torrents, but it's a legitimate option for some and can definitely help take at least some of the load off. One way to make the torrent approach more effective and utilized too would be to take advantage of the separate component nature of CD and *only* offer the larger CD components via torrent, leaving the core package as a normal download.

I'm really not understanding why CNET, Brothersoft, and similar sites aren't an option as I've seen very large packages on all of them. The componentized nature of CD was, as I understood it, partly a reaction to the large bandwidth needs and a desire to unbundle optional stuff and reduce size of the core download. But if you don't pay for the bandwdith, why worry? Stick the full CD bundled package up on CNET, etc. and then keep the component versions available separately on the main site or other mirrors.

Something else that didn't seem to be mentioned was soliciting for additional mirrors. You can setup a simple round-robin type download system and get a bunch of smaller mirrors and spread the load out quite effectively. Many shared hosts come with surprising amounts of bandwidth these days and people can easily toss up a file and share their bandwidth with you. I'd be glad to do so myself, and could probably donate 100GB/mo of transfer comfortably. With a sophisticated enough download distribution script (which there are some available I believe), you could even limit each mirror to a specific amount of transfer (theoretical, based on number of requested downloads, but still). Get 10 people donating 100GB and you have your whole bandwidth for a month taken care of. There are tons of apps that have many or even just a few mirrors, very popular apps at that surely have similar bandwidth requirements. I would think that with the popularity of CD, you could find some people willing to donate bandwidth...

And why did SourceForge not work out? Is CD not licensed in the right way to comply with their terms?

Now I realize I may be displaying a good deal of ignorance as to the history and current status of CD as well as what has been looked into in trying to solve this problem. I have a lot of faith in Steve, so it's hard to imagine he hasn't fully considered all the above options. Yet I still am not understanding why some would not work, or at least help. I have no right to expect an explanation, heck I'm not even a CD user (but I have donated), but hopefully it's not presumptuous to ask for more details on what has been considered and the reasons why these options have been decided against in favor of a seemingly more complex and risky approach.

Thanks,

Oshyan
Logged

The New Adventures of Oshyan Greene - A life in pictures...
mouser
First Author
Administrator
*****
Posts: 33,578



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2010, 10:52:37 PM »

Quote
I will proceed on the assumption that profit is not a motive and that cost of *materials* (not time) is what is sought,

i think this may be the root of the misunderstanding.  i don't want to speak for anyone but i believe the aim is to make a little money to offset the time spent developing and supporting the software.  and no one need be ashamed of that.  so i don't think they intention is to get rich, but i believe the idea is not just to find free hosting.
Logged
JavaJones
Review 2.0 Designer
Charter Member
***
Posts: 2,537



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2010, 11:00:38 PM »

Yes, that's absolutley fair, but it needs to be clarified. I, at least, am not clear on this. Wink

If that *is* the aim there are also a few related questions. If profit is desired, is it because profit is needed to support either Steve or Markham's living situation? Or is it because so much time is put in by both of them? If the latter, what of the possibility of reducing time input? After all if the success of CD is overcoming the ability of its supporters to sustain, simply reducing input effort should have a balancing effect. cheesy

- Oshyan
Logged

The New Adventures of Oshyan Greene - A life in pictures...
sgtevmckay
Moderator
*****
Posts: 836


Magis Esse

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2010, 05:01:45 PM »

Topic Locked till further notice
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
 
Jump to:  
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  

DonationCoder.com | About Us
DonationCoder.com Forum | Powered by SMF
[ Page time: 0.045s | Server load: 0.2 ]