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I've got an idea for a tiny utility program that seemingly nobody has thought of before. I've no idea what the demand for it would be, but I'm certain that it would be 0 if you had to pay for it. And I like opensource. :)

That said, it'd still be nice to get a few euros for my effort. How can this be done?

My first idea was to put some non-intrusive adverts in the program (somewhere in the side), but I can't find any advertising programs that would allow you to put adverts in Win32 applications. Google AdSense certainly forbids it.

Of course, a "Donate" button is always useful, and I think I will make one, but I doubt that many people will want to donate anything anyway.

Any other ideas?

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3 Answers

Paid feature prioritization

I work on SharePoint SUSHI and while we have a low, but more than I expected, income from ad revenue, we also charge for feature prioritization. We take requests from the crowd and on each release we take the most popular ones and implement them. However, occasionally we'll have someone who needs X feature NOW! We politely tell them that we do this on our spare time, and features are prioritized by the community. However, we gladly make a special build or bump their feature to the top of the list if they would like to sponsor the development of it. Generally we charge a slightly lower rate since their feature will then be open source, but it is enough to cover at least our hourly rate and enough motivation to take the time at night/weekends to do it (just maybe not the X3~X4 consulting rates or anything). This is a great way to get paid for the project while giving users a way to guarantee they can get a new feature quickly (even though they could just write it themselves).

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You could try something like InstallMonitizer. We use it for our application. Your users will be shown an offer during installation and can choose whether to install it or not.

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Make it for a Mac and put it in the Mac App Store. That is what Growl did: http://growl.info/growlupdateavailable

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Hehe, this question was made before the Mac App Store. But it is a valid advice now! :) –  Vilx- Dec 12 '11 at 9:52
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