I would really appreciate some feedback on this subject.. i'm still playing with various ideas.
All of the software on this site is freeware. And it will remain freeware.
But one of the things we currently do is make some of the very newest programs and beta editions available for download only by members.
So for example, the two newest programs, Screenshot Captor, and The Form Letter Machine, are both only currently available to download by members. As time goes by (maybe 2-4 weeks?) these programs will leave beta and become available to download by everyone as normal freeware.
However, a serious flaw in this approach is that non-members can't try these programs to see if they like them.
And this just seems like not in keeping with dc approach.
So i'm returning to the idea of having a kind of personalized keyfile, that all members would get. This keyfile might be placed in the system directory or in app directory. (it would also be provided to anyone who emailed me and explained why they had decided not to make a donation).
The only real effect of this keyfile would be that it would allow beta/preview releases to run normally. People without the keyfile would just get a message when running one of our beta/preview releases on start up saying "This is a beta/preview release.. blah blah..."
So to summarize, the idea is to keep the exact same approach we currently have, all apps are freeware, but members get special access to beta/preview releases; the only dif is that this would allow non-members to download and use the beta/preview releases, only with a startup nag.