splitbrain.org

electronic brain surgery since 2001

Sync Plugin Released, Survey Available

A few months ago I tried to sell a DokuWiki Sync plugin. Today, I'm ending the experiment by releasing the sync plugin even though the final sum hasn't been reached, yet. You're still free to donate of course ;-).

First of all, I want to say a huge thank you to all people who chipped in, encouraged me via comments or mails or spread the word about the experiment.

The plugin can be found here.

Success or not?

So the big question is, was it a success? Well, my answer is yes and no. Yes, because it made me $530 so far and I'm sure the final sum would have been reached somewhen this year. No, because it did not work as I hoped it would.

In my opinion the sync plugin is most useful for traveling business guys who want to take their company wiki with them. So my target for the sale where companies. There are a lot of companies using DokuWiki1) – ideally a single company would have seen the use of the plugin and bought it right away for the full sum. That didn't happen.

There were 17 contributions to the end sum. The highest amount that came from a single entity where $100. From looking at the people's email addresses, I'd say probably all money came from private persons or people who run their own one to three man business.

From the comments I know, that not even all where interested in the plugin. Some just saw this as an opportunity to say “thank you” for DokuWiki in general. Others did like the experiment and wanted to support it.

Concerns

When I announced the sale on the DokuWiki mailing list and in my blog it created a lively discussion and people raised quite a few concerns. I'd like to list the most prominent ones here:

  • Some people strongly believe free(libre) software should be free as in beer, too
  • Others prefer to donate after the software proved to be useful to them
  • While many seem to accept bounties, the idea of paying for something that's done already seems to be wrong to them
  • Many did not like to pay without knowing when the software actually will be released
  • A few people simply refuse to do anything via Paypal

Again most of the reasons given above seem to come from a personal standpoint and are not the concern of company representatives.

Reaching the right audience

The main problem I guess was that the target group did not even know about the whole thing. Probably very few DokuWiki business users either read my blog or the mailing list. Reaching those would have needed a completely different approach. Mailing these people directly, for example.

One idea I had when thinking about this problem was to create a newsletter aimed at DokuWiki users. It could be sent maybe every two months presenting new, noteworthy plugins talk about recent developments or highlight interesting forum posts.

Good idea? Let me know in the comments please.

Learning more - the survey

I learned quite a few things from this little experiment so far but I still have a lot of questions.

To get these answered I created a short survey. It would be great if you could take the time to answer it. The results will be made available of course.




Tags:
dokuwiki, plugin, sync, opensource, monetization, survey
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1)
I estimate about 60% of all DokuWiki installations are used in a business context