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Author Topic: Ideas for getting more users to pay for your software  (Read 825 times)

McMick

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I'm not a coder, and this may be a complete waste of your valuable time. I don't know what your various (whatever the plural for ethos is, see HERE) are. I was just sitting around contemplating the demise of one of my favorite apps, which relied on donations, and got to brainstorming. Forgive me if these aren't new ideas or are stupid, I'm just trying to help.

So I was thinking that if you coder types track the number of hours you put into your work, then display that along with # of downloads, # of paid users, and the resulting yearly income, also broken down to an hourly pay rate, that you might be able to guilt some folks into paying you for your work. This could be a display that gets updated any time you release a patch or update. Heck, it could be updated in near-real time, I guess. It could be on the website, in the installer, or in the "about" section of the GUI menu, or all three. Decide what you believe a decent wage is and have that displayed and make it change color depending on whether the goal is met or not (like they do on crowdfunding sites).

Another idea that occurred to me is the concept of group rates. I've seen plenty of deals on multiple licenses, for businesses. How about a deal like that, but for individuals? Have a website where people can sign up to set up or join groups and get a discounted price on the software, which varies depending on how large the group gets. Have a timer for each group that gives so many days/hours to join the group to get the discount, then the software will be purchased at the specified expiration date. The advantage to the user would be significant savings, the drawback being the wait. If people want to pay full price right away, of course they can.

Of course the first idea would expose you to public knowledge of your income, but I think people would appreciate the honesty.

Hope this makes  some sense. I'll respond to any replies if anyone thinks it's worth the time to do so.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 07:37 PM by McMick »

mouser

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Re: Ideas for getting more users to pay for your software
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 10:03 PM »
Welcome to the site, McMick.

Regarding your first point idea -- I think it's actually quite a good one.  I can imagine it might be especially nice idea for open source projects where there are multiple authors collaborating.
It might help people see that donation-based authors receive so much less than they might guess.
The only difficulty is that it imposes extra work on the developers (to track hours), so it would be nice to know if the extra work actually helped increase donations.
I have seen some open source sites use line counts as a proxy for time spent writing code, which is imperfect but has the advantage of not requiring actual tracking of time spent.

McMick

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Re: Ideas for getting more users to pay for your software
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2018, 09:22 PM »
In terms of getting paid for lines of code, you could convert that to hours after you figure out what the average lines per hour are. Then you just need to divide the current total number of lines by  the ALPH (average lines per hour) to get your hours figure. I'm stuck on the hourly figure because I think most people can relate to that.

wraith808

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Re: Ideas for getting more users to pay for your software
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2018, 10:59 PM »
In terms of getting paid for lines of code, you could convert that to hours after you figure out what the average lines per hour are. Then you just need to divide the current total number of lines by  the ALPH (average lines per hour) to get your hours figure. I'm stuck on the hourly figure because I think most people can relate to that.

Everything doesn't boil down to how much code, however.  Much time is spent in coming up with a good design, and that, I don't think, translates well.  In fact, the highest paid programmers are paid for their knowledge more than their coding ability.  And some of the most useful software doesn't have that many lines of code.

p3lb0x

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Re: Ideas for getting more users to pay for your software
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2018, 08:57 AM »
While I am sure similar software already exists, I spent most of today on creating a small utility that would allow you to very easily put down small notes about what you've been working on and outputting them in JSON, so it would be uploadable to a web server to track time.

wat.gifIdeas for getting more users to pay for your software
Stop mousering people so much - Mouser

wraith808

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Re: Ideas for getting more users to pay for your software
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2018, 11:44 AM »
Anuran does something similar, and is what I used before I started using WakaTime.

McMick

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Re: Ideas for getting more users to pay for your software
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2018, 01:39 AM »
However your calculations arrive at a number you're OK with, I'm just saying most people I know of get paid by the hour, so that's why I was thinking it'd be a good indicator as to how much work you had to put into it. Of course, it's not only the coding, but all the other stuff that goes with it: equipment, electric bill, testing, etc. and it may not be for everyone. If you knocked an incredibly useful bit of code together in an hour, and it saves everyone a ton of time, maybe an hourly rate figure wouldn't be the wisest choice for calculating your compensation. But most coders I know are working on many things and all of that takes time and energy. Maybe you could aggregate all your work and arrive at a figure from that.

I'm just coming from the perspective that a lot of people seem to have a blind spot and won't see that "donate" button, and it turns them off to be nagged, so I was trying to think of a way to get their attention without being annoying and simultaneously make the coder more relatable as a fellow human being who wants to get rewarded for his or her efforts. I figure if they see an hourly rate, they'll know right away whether you're getting at least a living wage from your work. As an aside, interestingly, spellcheck doesn't match the word relatable. :huh: