[quote=157976:@Thomas White]Sometime ago you released a freeware app. Its user base is growing steadily. You’re paying for Xojo license, hosting and probably for Apple Developer Program too. You realize that asking for donations and putting more and more ads on your website doesn’t quite cover the expenses. You don’t probably want to ask money to use your app, you just enjoy making it, as a hobby. What do you do? Should you ditch the freeware model and start selling it instead?
I’m interested on your thoughts and experiences on changing a freeware app to commercial.[/quote]
I started with freeware Dos programs back in the eighties that I had done for the fun of programming. Then when I saw 20,000 downloads on Compuserve (that was before the Internet), I realized I would have liked having $1.00 for each download (barely paid the rent at the time).
So I went into shareware. Pretty much the same as donationware, if you think about it. Except I had placed a price tag on donation. It really picked up in 1993 with a 50 fonts pack for $20.00 that actually started my present business.
Things have changed a lot since, as the biggest companies started using the same model, like Microsoft and Adobe, to the point today every publisher has a free more or less limited version, and a commercial one. In the App Store, there are a lot of free versions, promoting the “Pro” paying version.
I use GetBackup on Mac that started as freeware, and is now commercial. The free is still around, but the commercial is guaranteed to run on Mavericks and Yosemite, which is an incentive . The Internet is such that the current versions cannot be recalled anyway, so it has to remain free. But you can create a new, more elaborate version that is commercial.
I don’t think going entirely commercial is ever possible . Anyway, the momentum gained as freeware, as well as the experience gained, are valuable assets. And even if you don’t sell much, that will pay your developer contract and hosting expenses.