• Starchild

So, What’s a Donate button really worth?

I must admit that I've never received any money through a Donate button. Most probably this is because people feel I don't offer anything much of value. But putting this aside for the moment, I thought I would browse around and look for other opinions regarding getting paid for apps and software.

These are a few of the interesting links I have found.

I also asked some of the seasoned B4X users (software developers forum) to share their own experiences to better determine the reality of getting payed for software work.

It seems that many financially secure software programmers are employed by a company and are already receiving an income from their primary 9 to 5 job, making the task of offering coding and technical support through a forum such as B4X, a hobby with the occasional “Like” being enough reward. For all the other software programmers trying to generate an income through their many hours of work, it is generally “not very rewarding” to be an independent software developer.

Why is this so?

For me, I started publishing various VB6 programs back in late 1990s for doing things from BMP2AVI (slides into a video) to DCmagic (digital camera drag and drop photo sorter).

I was able to ask $10 to $20 USD each back then. This generated about $10K over 5 years, paying for my hobby (PC, VB6, Cameras, etc). Who would have thought I was a trend setter selling PC apps, before there were "apps".

I came across B4X back in 2015 and thought this would be a great way to get back into programming and learn about developing mobile phone apps that I could sell. I did not understand that the consumer psychology had changed to the point that apps now have little or no value.

The big monopoly companies Google, Apple and Microsoft, offer so many features for free, that the consumer no longer attaches any real monetary value to software.

Asking my friends, "Who has paid for an app?" not surprisingly 99% have never paid for one. In fact, if they found an app they really wanted and it was a few dollars, they generally would spend hours of their own time looking for a free app that does a similar job, probably while sitting at the café with a purchased coffee.

My son said to me, a few years ago, that instead of just asking for answers from forums I needed to get more involved and start "giving back". I have posted many of my developments (especially for B4R and some B4J) and although I am getting a lot of satisfaction out of the participation and sharing, I am also eager to obtain some form of money/income from the many hours of work that I do. It's a matter of “self-worth”. I know this may not come directly from my online contributions, but may come later through other opportunities that arise from being connected.

So, coming back to the question, "What is a Donate button really worth?"

I think that the concept of a "Donate Button" is very similar to "Tipping". Let me explain…

If you go to a hotel the door-man holds the door open for you, you might give him a $1 for his 10 seconds work.

The Bell-Hop then takes your bags up to the room, again you might give him a dollar or two for his few minutes work.

You go down to the bar and buy a round of drinks. This takes the barman several minutes and he might even offer a joke while you wait. You tip him say $5.

After that you go into the restaurant. Buy a good meal with some excellent service. It would be common to tip anything from $10 upwards.

We are very comfortable (Americans especially) with this whole TIPPING thing. It's odd that we don't offer the same courtesy through the Donate button for people that are;

  • giving up a few minutes of their time answering a question on a support forum,

  • browsing the web/forum to find the links to the answers for others or offering some sample code themselves,

  • or, writing a working and tested solution, such as a software library, to not only save people many hours/days of time but more often facilitating a solution when there wasn't one without it.

Why do we accept that when a plumber comes out to replace the water tap in our bathroom, we pay him (in Australia) a minimum of $150 per hour, often with an additional call-out fee? Why are we happy, when we realize a week or two later that the tap has a slow drip to pay the plumber again to correct his work yet we are not happy to pay a programmer for the utilization of his skillset?

A software programmer’s skill set and knowledge base must be so much “Less” than that of a plumber. Apparently! Software programmers are expected to offer virtually unlimited warranties as and when bugs show up. For what-ever reason, we just don't seem to value “Ourselves”.

I think I need to redirect more of my time into my Kite Surfing as the monetary return seems to be about the same. NONE.

You can check out my full thread which includes the other user postings at the B4X Forum.

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