I've been reading the two threads and found them interesting. I think that one of the main points is that the decision of the method used to finance (paid, donation, ...) or not (freeware) software depends on the nature of the software and the potential public using the software and how the software is developped.
For example, in my case my software is aimed at small businesses or independent sellers (like on eBay). So I will have a rather limited number of potential users and these users will probably consist of a medium to high proportion of people not knowing how to use computers very well. This implies that the software has to be very user friendly and this takes way more time to develop.
On the development side, I have had the chance to work on my software almost full time for 2.5 years and will eventually need to have serious revenues from the software (let's say about $25K per year would be ok for me) for me to continue working on it full time. So at $100 per licence I will have to sell at least 250 per year (about 20 per month). Were I to offer the software as donationware I would have to get 2500 donation per year (200 donations per month) with an average $10 donation. This is not very realistic and is a huge risk for me and the software users as not enough donations would force me to stop development of updates and new versions and stop support.
I believe that the potential market for my software allows me to charge $100 for my software. Especially if the software help my users sell more of their products and help them reduce fees if they already sell on sites like eBay by selling on their own web site. Since I have some (limited) design talent I will include some basic templates with the software but will also offer templates for purchase that will directly work in my software with a few clicks. And I will probably also offer the possibility of doing unique templates for a higher price. I think that in my case, this is the best possible avenue to pursue.
I think that software developpers should ask themselves these questions before even starting:
- Do I develop for fun or for the revenue (but should include the fun factor)?
- What is the potential market for my software?
- Who are my competitors?
- How much money do I require from selling my software?
- What are the connex possible avenues for revenue?
On another note, one thing that I would like to see on this forum is a section devoted to people who have finished programs and would like to write a "debriefing" of their project for others. I forgot the term but it's a small to large document that tells the story of what happened, what went well, what went bad, what was learned, ... I think that it would be a good addition to this forum.
P.S. I remember now, it's a post-mortem.