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Last post Author Topic: DonationCoder.com Article - One Year Report on our Experiments with Donationware  (Read 53018 times)

wreckedcarzz

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Why not incorporate the license key process into the installer? NSIS is pretty flexible about that. A small wizard-like system, where if you have a DC account, just login and it auto-registers you, and if you don't, you can get an anonymous key (and have the default browser open the DC page or something), or sign up and get a key (w/o internet popup).

Seems fair?

mouser

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One thing i'm proud of here at DC is that we like to experiment with ideas..
Perhaps we could put together a list of a few different ideas to try and try them each out for a month or two and see how things go.

wreckedcarzz

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Maybe something to put in the newsletter? More ideas is always better...

mitzevo

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Quote
Iirc we've seen one or two posts from people who couldn't remember signing up for the newsletter who thought they were being spammed,

Idiots. They probably couldn't remember parking their car in some one elses garage either.
The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.

mouser

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they aren't idiots -- it's an imperfect system on our part which encourages people to sign up to get a license key -- they may not be paying much attention to anything when they come here in a rush to get a license key.

then if they get a newsletter from us and right away and don't even bother to read it -- and just assume that we are just one more of those evil spammers who are going to be sending them a million emails about all sorts of junk and scams.

the question is, can we make a better system that still doesn't leave us totally devoid of donations..
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 04:31:56 AM by mouser »

phitsc

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That really is a very interesting read! Also fascinating how thoroughly you've looked into this subject mouser.

mahesh2k

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I like brendon's idea : Releasing 6-months key in Newsletter & Give them seperatey as well; :up:(This is like spreading word about DC softwares,getting more readers/users for Newsletter/Forum)

Quote
the question is, can we make a better system that still doesn't leave us totally devoid of donations..
Mouser, My Evil mind is thinking about this,let me come up with some idea,i'll post here about that :D

mouser

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I actually have a new idea i've been meaning to try that emerged from discussions with Anderson (author of Mobysaurus), which i would very much like to implement as an experiment.

Let me explain the basic idea of it and see if people have some feedback.

I think one of the problems with the current approach is simply that it is a bit confusing to people.

This idea would change the donation page into more of a multi-step wizard, where the first step asks the person to "self identify" themselves into a number of categories with nice images and short descriptions like:



Please choose the description that best matches you:

Just Curious!
I am just curious about your software and site -- I don't want to have to sign up and i'm not prepared to make any donation at this time.  Please just give me a temporary 60-day license key for now and I'll come back to the site later if I want to support your efforts or get a non-expiring license key.

Commercial User
I plan to use your software in a commercial setting and I'm most interested in knowing I can get technical support if I need it.  I'd like to pay for a commercial license at this time.

Reluctant/Skeptical Donator
I'm still a bit unsure about whether DonationCoder.com has much to offer me but I'm willing to make a small nominal donation to speed along the process and simplify getting a full non-expiring license key.  If I end up using your programs a lot I may come back and donate more later; if i decide that your site and software is not useful for me I understand that i can request a no-questions-asked refund.

Limited Income Supporter
I don't have much money but i'd really like to support your efforts and receive a lifetime membership and license key for all of your current software.  Please let me choose how much I'd like to donate at this time, and I'll choose how my donation should be allocated on the site.

Deluxe Supporting Member
I would like to support the site with a donation of $50 or more and receive priority support and guaranteed access to all current and future software produced by DonationCoder.com.

Big Shot Funder
I would like to make a large donation to the site in order to support the funding of future software on DonationCoder.com.

Educational / Non-profit Organization
I belong to an educational or non-profit organization and I would like to receive a free license key for a particular DonationCoder.com program for use by my organization.

Conscientious Objector
I will not be donating to your site because it is against my principles, or because my economic situation makes it unfeasible.  I am interested in receiving a permanent non-expiring license key to your software.

Repeat Donor
Hey you know me! I donated before and I'm so happy with the site I've decided to come back and donate a little more.  I understand that I can choose how my donation credits will be allocated to specific authors if I so choose.



The idea being that a user can choose which category best describes them, and then have the website guide them through their specific case.

My hope was that this would achieve a few things:
1) Better communicate the spirit of the site and the non-scammy nature of the site
2) Be simpler to understand what to do
3) Provide some nudging for people to donate if they can, but also a simpler path for those that know they don't want to donate
4) Make it easier for people who just want to quickly come and get a license key to see what to do without annoying them.

The wizard approach would carry through so that people who aren't ready to donate and just want a license key would be able to choose between Signing up at forum and automatically being scheduled to receive a non-expiring license key, or getting a temporary key immediately without signing up.

Again the idea is to improve the workflow so that people could come in and get what they want in the smoothest fashion.

And hopefully convince some people that the description of the donor best matches a description of themselves.

mahesh2k

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+10  :Thmbsup:

Educational / Non-profit Organization Should receive Non-expiring key immediately, isn't it? 

Ok, i have so many points & I'll still dissect on few things & will come up with my views as well later  :)

   

mouser

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Quote
Educational / Non-profit Organization Should receive Non-expiring key immediately, isn't it?

yes.

phitsc

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What is wrong with giving non-donating users an expiring license key? I think it's not asked too much to go and get a new license key every 60 days (for the 'Conscientious Objector' group, which would then not be needed any more as it would be the same as the 'Just Curious!' group), or a one year license key if you want for the 'Educational / Non-profit Organization' group. For someone who can't afford (or doesn't want) to donate but still wants to use a program, going to the web site to get a new license key once in a while shouldn't be a problem. You would also not loose the chance to remind them that they could donate if they wanted to. Maybe someone can't afford to donate right now, but could later. Or maybe someone is part of an educational organization right now, but won't be in a year. I doubt that they would go and donate later if only just because they forgot that what they're using is donation ware.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2008, 05:37:16 AM by phitsc »

brotherS

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This idea would change the donation page into more of a multi-step wizard, where the first step asks the person to "self identify" themselves into a number of categories with nice images and short descriptions like:


Please choose the description that best matches you:

Just Curious!
Commercial User
Reluctant/Skeptical Donator
Limited Income Supporter
Deluxe Supporting Member
...

Nice idea :)

If you do it, I just want to urge you to use a descending order for the descriptions, starting with the most expensive one. I'm willing to bet your money it will make a positive impact!


czb

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mouser:
an issue which is not resolved by your solution is that donating users are punished as well by necessity to input serial number everytime they install some of your programs which is annoying.

So I suggest:
maintain two versions of each program, one with nagging baloon, one without. The first one would be publicly available, the second one only after registration/20 posts/donation etc.

Advantages:
  • no serial number => no punishing of donating/active users or even users willing to donate
  • users will be motivated to be active
  • no "stamp" of baad serial number software
  • no need to maintain serial number procedure
Disadvantes:
  • need to maintain two version, but from my point of view it would not be time consuming at all if designed properly
  • Download servers might offer the "pro" version, but this can be resolved in the licence

My idea can easily be incorporated into your wizzard idea. But to the wizzards I would say they are to plenty. Two max three would be enough.
My open-source online piano game: https://github.com/musicope/game

mouser

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czb,

what if instead of two versions of each program, which would really be painful given all the programs and all the different releases, we could make the license key thing a lot easier.

for example:
on the license key page could provide:
1) a file you could download for portable use of any of the programs (just put it in the program directory)
2) or a tiny exe you could run on your pc to create and store your universal license key on your computer or a registry .reg file you could double click to register all donationcoder programs forever after.

czb

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2) sounds good  :Thmbsup:
My open-source online piano game: https://github.com/musicope/game

mouser

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well #2 is definitely fairly easy to do and wouldnt involve changing the licensing system, so if that would help alleviate some of the pain of having to copy and paste the license keys i think it's worth doing.

tomos

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sounds great mouser
how about the repeat donor gets the option to get a second key they could give to someone else -
(maybe not a lifetime one?) - not sure myself if it's good idea but just throwing it out there anyway.

I've recommended stuff from here to people but know they wont bother, this could be a way of spreading the word - say someone gets a liscence for a year or 6 months, then they can come and donate or not as they see fit
Tom

mouser

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how about the repeat donor gets the option to get a second key they could give to someone else -
(maybe not a lifetime one?) - not sure myself if it's good idea but just throwing it out there anyway.

actually this is already the unstated policy.  when you donate you get a link that will upgrade any one forum account to full membership with license key.  you can give this link to a friend.

housetier

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I wonder what an articel about "Five Years DC" would sound like...

It's good we keep these old threads alive: the forums feels deeper somehow with all the historical facts still present.

mahesh2k

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I got an idea from housetier's post, Can we use SIMILE & some of our own code to put facts about DC every year? that will be a good time-line as well.

Also, it will be a good to have separate section for Non-profit/Educational users, so that direct license can be given. Also collecting information about Non-profits/educational user will help us calculate how many users in this category are using DC softwares.

Cavalcader

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Big Shot Funder
I would like to make a large donation to the site in order to support the funding of future software on DonationCoder.com.
I'd tweak the category name of that one, even though it's got no ill intent -- Big Shot could be taken as a jab.  ;)


2) or a tiny exe you could run on your pc to create and store your universal license key on your computer or a registry .reg file you could double click to register all donationcoder programs forever after.
This might be a little too easy to post around the web and bypass DC entirely. I'm sure it's not a super high-security registration process anyway, but for a stand-alone registration method there should at least be some kinda wording like "if you're reading this it means you've seen what we have to offer. If not, someone may have shortcut the process; here's a link:" (etc.)


I think it's not asked too much to go and get a new license key every 60 days (for the 'Conscientious Objector' group, which would then not be needed any more as it would be the same as the 'Just Curious!' group), or a one year license key if you want for the 'Educational / Non-profit Organization' group. For someone who can't afford (or doesn't want) to donate but still wants to use a program, going to the web site to get a new license key once in a while shouldn't be a problem.
Yeah -- as much as people might find a license key a hassle (unlimited free software is always the simplest) it's still a reasonable investment to go through some sort of process to get someone else's work for free. Everybody at some point should at least be able to offer either time, money or labor in return for useful software. (For example, even with completely free software it's still nice to offer feedback to the developer or at least say thanks.) For people that don't want to give anything back any other way, the "time" would be the key-downloading process.
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cyberdiva

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I'd like to add a different perspective to the discussion.  I'm a supporting member, but I've never downloaded any of the donationware available.  So why did I come to this site, and why in the world did I donate?  I came because of the Reviews, and I donated because I found so much useful information here.  I'd be a little surprised if I turn out to be the only person who has donated not for the software but for the information.  (Then again, I'm often surprised.)  Anyway, I really like this site, and I donated as a way of saying "thank you".  :up:

Marcel25

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Hello,

First of all, let me compliment the author on this article. It found it very interesting for different reasons. I am a developer of both small and big software solutions. The smaller ones could be good candidates for freeware of donationware.

Because I have a lot of projects, I made a "ToDo" program for myself. When published on a single page for beta testing, the program got attention from a lifehacking site and that article generated so many requests I decided to make a product out of it: Much2Do

Although 200+ people downloaded the software, none of them bothered to register for 25 EUR. Although I knew it before I read the article, your article proved it was not a good idea to state on my website and in my download emails that I intended to continue development only when some of them registered. Major error!

Don't feel sorryt for me, this project was a very small project and since I made it for personal use, I did not loose time or sleep over it. But the article made some strong points and I will re-read it again I am sure. Also, the article might help me when I need to make decisions on how to market my commercial software. Some of the same issues apply, like the fact that people do not like to register before the use the software.

But my first post is simply to compliment you on the article (I'll start a new post in a minute for the second part of my message)

mouser

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Thanks for your comments Marcel and welcome to the site, hope to read more from you  :up:

Marcel25

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Now a second post regarding my personal experiences on this website. I got here because I was searching for a Freeware Capture program. I read the 'rules' regarding registration and... like other people have said: it is too dawn confusing. Different registration options... if you don't agree you can click to another page and there is another option... temporary license...

This lead to me trying another freeware program first FSCapture and it suits my needs very well. One major point is that I want to capture window screenshots with rounded corners. FSCapture does it perfectly (adding white in the corners) and when browsing throuigh this forum I found out your Capture program might not be capable of rounded corners (one topic states someone couldn't get it to work, Mousers reply was maybe the feature was removed accidentally). No reason for me to look further it seems.

But because I find the DOnationware principe and the communicty interesting, I did sign up for this forum with the intention of complimenting the article and give feedback in this particular topic. Unfortunately, gettin on the forum took me multiple registraion attempts, because I did not receive a validation email (only after 30+ min). But here I am, haning in there just to give my feedback!

My opinion is this: everyubody knows people do not want to register for simple small programs. So for thos things, do not ask for registration in the first 6 months. When I am using the program regularly and I see a donation request after 6 months, I will definitelty donate. This are different when it concerns bigger, more expensive or more specific software.

I develop software between 80 and 880 euro per license (Much2Do is the only exception) and for those I really want people to give me their email address before downloading. This is for two reasons (may not be very valid but still): 1. I want to be able to ask them for feedback a few weeks later, 2. I 'd like to think - I know it's not true - I can keep track of who is using the software in case someone 'hacks' my software.

Writing this, I know I can NEVER be sure my software will not be hacked/cracked. But if it would be possible - theoretically - to develop 'unhackable' software I would be happy to return to my former download method: people could decide themselves whether they give me an email address or not. This is not a big step back because frankly: people can leave me a temp hotmail address now (although very few do)