Actually, part of this is something I've been thinking about for a long time.
One thing small developers might consider is banding together
to create a central purchasing point
for their wares. In other words, an app store.
The big problem many people have with buying from an 'unknown' is their understandable reluctance to share their billing information with what could easily be an inadequately secured or honest billing point. That's why they'll often balk at making a $10 purchase from a small business, but think nothing of dropping an Amex card and making a $1000 purchase through Amazon.
Many times I'll see something I want and check to see if the business also makes it available through Amazon. Because if they do, I almost always will purchase through Amazon rather than directly from the merchant. Why? Because I know Amazon. I worry less about the security on Amazon's shopping cart than I do about the security NiftySoft's unknown ISP provides. And I know I can drag Amazon into any dispute I may have with the merchant about shipping damages or goods not received. At the very least, I know I can get my money back if there's ever a problem.
Now if developers could work out some arrangement (as an organization
) with a reputable and well-known merchant account provider, I think one major barrier to receiving payment might be removed.
Even better would be if you could encourage customers to open an account (like you do with smartphone app stores) such that you don't need to re-key credit card or bank data with each transaction.
I can't speak for everyone, but not having to pull out a card has provided just enough convenience that I've bought many more apps (over 100 to date) for my, and my GF's, iPhone that I would have otherwise. True, most purchases were below $5 each so that had a lot to do with my willingness to take a chance. But not having to think about the actual act of buying something (since the app store makes it feel more like a free download) was also a major factor.
So, maybe it might be a good idea to focus on a trusted and reliable payment mechanism
, and get that in place first.
After that, you're free to experiment with different pricing, licensing models, and incentive plans at will.
1) Get yourselves organized into a trade group.
2) Get a trusted billing system in place to make it as easy as possible (bordering on no-brainer) for people to pay you.
That's another 2¢ from me.
(One more penny and you'll have a shiny new nickle.
As Mouser pointed out, he has neither the desire nor the mindset to become a full fledged entrepreneur. I'm sure he's not alone in that regard. Most people doing creative anything don't want to get involved with business issues. So maybe it's time for you to all get together and get somebody you can trust (because you own
them) to take care of it for you...
Authors have agents
. Rock stars have labels
. Movie stars have guilds
Why not indy software developers?