Thursday, 17 February 2011

Revisiting monetization of open source on a pre-alpha high

I'm nearly ready to send my app out friends to test it. I should start compiling a list of people that have different phones...

Once this stage is done, and people are out there testing the functionality, then I need to prettify it. The previous prettification was pretty basic, so I need to go all out, re-skin buttons, etc.

After my discussion of how to money from open source a while back, another option came to my attention. In short, charge for the app on the Android market, but provide the app as an apk for free on the web. The way Gina describes it, the money that you pay for the market version buys you two things:
  1. Automatic updates via the market
  2. The warm fuzzy feeling that you're helping the project
This option sounds very appealing to me. It's making everything as hard as possible for pirates: what are they gonna do, give out the apk? I do that already! Apart from people who want to help the project, who will always pay, it relies on people's laziness: it's much easier if they spend a pound or two on the market, then the app automatically gets better over time.
My current plan is to start out with it for free, while I'm getting my friends to test it. Also so that any early adopters (who are bound to have a rough time, there will be bugs!) don't have to pay for it. When do I switch to charging? That will depend on how much take-up there is, I guess.

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