Here's an idea that I think most of you will think is crazy, but I think it is a AWESOME idea:
I like this forum. I think we have a lot of talent here, and the talent is special because most of the people are very nice, polite and helpful to one another. We've tried doing things like donations and stuff, and it is always a nice idea, but like mouser said, the donations eventually evolve into something else other than people actually using the money to buy things. Since the amounts are so small, they don't have puchasing power, so they just serve as a "Thank you" to people here and there. And that is nice, but how about this idea (sorry for building up to it like this)
What if we use whatever money the community has here to start generating a small DonationCoder economy with employees and everything? Why don't we start a cool DoCo app store? The software written here is pretty good, why not charge $5 for people to get a license and make it truly free stuff. And we'd have great customer service also. Look, I asked skwire to write the List Numberer program, which he did in like a day. And it's great. But why not charge a buck or two for it? It's nothing, but at least people will come and just give a little bit to say thanks. But it's not freeware, so at least there could be something self-sustaining about it.
And you could make it a deal in a fair way also. Some money should go to the site and some should go to the authors. But it has to be fair. it can't be a salary, because shareware just doesn't sell well enough to have a salary. It should be a percentage PER license sold. So if skwire sold his program for $2, maybe one dollar goes to DC, and he keeps the other dollar. Then we just let the sales do the talking. If you want to make more money, write something that more people would want to use. We don't have to pay $1000 up front to make a program that only 100 people will buy.
It will justify some of the more difficult requests being made. stuff that is too hard and complicated to consider a one-hour coding snack. Well, charge $5 or $10 for it then. And keep in mind the discussion we had on the other thread about what people are willing to pay for, etc.
But the thing we'd really be able to hang our hat on is the customer service. Where else can people go and ASK people to make a software for a specific problem? And someone will actually do it?! It's very unique. You can't go to the Nero developers and say, "could you make something for this and that?" No way. So why not monetize it a little bit. Maybe somebody here can make a career out of it. Wouldn't that be nice? It would motivate people to do bigger and more challenging projects. The community here is already well respected int he software community, so why not? Let's do this guys. I know a lot of you really want to give things away for free because it's the right thing to do...but it's hard work, I know it is. People don't mind paying for it when they are getting good software, AND they are getting great customer service. Their questions are answered. bugs are fixed instantly. brand new software requests are accepted and new software is made within days/weeks...that right there would distinguish this place from just about every other "store". Even the app store has no ability to fulfill requests like that.
Why should we wait for other developers to fix their bugs and holes? You don't like their stuff, let's make our own and make it better in every way.
I'm not a programmer, but I would love to help in creating a practical business plan that would hopefully work well for all parties. There are so many things that can be done. I'd love if you guys wanted to do this.