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Revisiting the idea of simplifying the DC big app license key stuff

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Few thoughts about the new version->new key:
* If people are happy with the features of the current version, they tend not to upgrade (no motivation, fear of change).
* Upgrades often happen when people install new Windows or buy a new computer.
* It is in the best interest of the developer to push the new version as much as possible (support is easier if there are less versions out there; latest version has more features and hence better chance to be talked about and spread by word of mouth).

Getting people to donate is good, because the donor feels part of the community. I guess that is one of the Mouser's goal - getting people to participate in the forum, etc. People, who often upgrade already are part of the community, they are watching and waiting for the new features. If they did not already donate, they probably will in the future.

Problem are those other people, who downloaded and forgot. They are not likely to return and donate. Hence I would be against the principle of new version->new key. The opposite may actually make sense: if you are using the latest version, all is fine. Once a new version is out, users must either upgrade or donate or be bugged every month to get a new temporary license.

Even though the new version->new key sounds well, I think I'm very much against it, as I believe it will have a very negative effect on DC. Vlastimil made a very good point: "regular" users (I don't mean regular DC folks, I mean non tech-savy people) will never update the software and will just ignore nags indicating a new update is available, but might be donors if remembered after 1month of application use.

mouser: maybe this decision would be simpler to make if there were some stats on what percentage of your software downloads are Upgrades, and how many people really donate through the "get your key after 1month" page.

wow we are having a really interesting and productive discussion here, i'm loving it.  and i really like the cooperative spirit of the discussion, trying to figure out new ideas while remaining true to the idea of being good to the users while helping the site.  :up:

Once a new version is out, users must either upgrade or donate or be bugged every month to get a new temporary license.
--- End quote ---

That's an unusual and intriguing idea -- my favorite kind!

I don't think you actually have to *force* them to upgrade but the point is still the same -- you could combine the REMINDER TO UPGRADE with the REMINDER TO CONSIDER DONATING.

By combining these two messages, it might make it much less of an annoyance, while still being a MORE EFFECTIVE request-to-donate (since it will come at a time when they are likely to notice our improvement of the program), which is basically a win-win situation.

Regular users who are pro-actively updating probably are already paying enough attention to us and are conscientious enough not to really need much reminding.. and i suppose you could always still show a quick "please consider donating" message when there is an available update..

This could be done with or without changing the free license key policy -- i.e. if we were feeling brave we could eliminate the need for anyone to get a free license key, and simply put this new idea of reminding people to consider donating during update checks or downloads, into effect instead.

So what are the downsides..  I guess the main downside is for programs that don't get updated very frequently.  Such programs are sometimes but not always less substantial than those that do, and this idea would seem to put those programs in an awkward situation where they aren't donated for much.

On the other hand there are a couple more advantages i can see to this..

One that I love is that, even authors who don't use the License Key system could put this reminder-to-consider-donating-TO-THEM into their update checker.  I could easily put it into the dcuhelper update checker tool that many of the Coding Snack authors use.  That might help these authors get more deserved direct donations.  I love that idea -- and it also would mean more donating and participating members on the site in general, since there are a ton of users of these programs that don't even realize where the programs came from.

Verrrrrrrrry interesting..

Just continuing to think about how this new idea might work..

Let's just assume we no longer have any use for the free license keys that people now donate -- all of the software new and old, big and small, runs without needing any license key at all, and has no date at which it will start "nagging" you to get a new free license key or donate.


If you haven't run an update check in the program since the last 30 days, it will pop up a box that suggests that you run an update check and that you consider donating. (If you have run an update check every 30 days or so, you will see no messages).

If an update is found, it will help you get the new version AND show a message at that time asking you to consider making a donation to continue to support the ongoing development of the program, and ask you to join in the discussion of feature requests, etc.

And perhaps we could add a message that would be displayed if there has not been an update in a long time, which was more of a "This program has not been updated in a long time but we hope you are making good use of it.. Would you consider making a donation and letting the author know you appreciate it and perhaps make a feature request for a new version?"

The idea being that all requests to donate are tied to update checking in an effort to make the messages more useful and not just nags, and also hope to catch the user when they are in a mindset to support the developer of the program.

One possible real downside to this is that it does violate a key idea of the article i wrote and have been talking about -- which is that it still makes it much easier and more convenient for people never to donate.. they might even view the reminders about update checking as a positive thing.  It may be that the main reason the free renewable license keys work is precisely because its easier to donate than it is to not donate and have to go get a free license key.  And any change which dosn't make it easier to donate than to not-donate will fail.

I suppose one way to solve that might be to make the update check involve something that makes the idea of donating more attractive.  For the larger apps that currently use license keys, we could simply say that update checking is only available for those who donate (though this would'nt work for programs that don't use license keys)..  That's an interesting idea.. Or we could have the update check /donation reminder message have a 30 second delay for non-donors -- which seems fair to me but could likely cause some frustration.

The discussion is definitely turning fruitful!
I like how you defined it now. My only problem is what happens for apps that get frequent updates.
I personally would go mad if I had to update an app 3 times in a week (with stuff I might have never noticed) and insert the key each time. I think I'd go with something like:
1) major version updates require key update
2) regardless of updates, free keys last no more than 2 months

1) would keep people from having to get a new key 3 times in one week, and 2) would work for the apps that don't get frequent updates. The only problem is that the developer needs to mark an update as a "major" version. Also, this wouldn't stop the following situation: today I download FARR, tomorrow mouser releases a new major version and I have to go through the hassle of getting a key, etc.
Another interesting mechanism might be:
1) regardless of updates, free keys last at least 1 month
2) regardless of updates, free keys last no more than 2 months
3) if the app is updated in this period, user needs new key

This design does not help with making it less confusing, though :(

[just noticed you made a new post, I'll read that now]


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