Dear commercial users of vvvv, dear devvvvelopers of contributions and of course everyone else, we hope to interest you in the following:
a) Short Story b) Rationale
ad a) Short Story
We have a store now! Well more of a store-front really, but nonetheless. Consider this a start.
Here is how it works:
- If you’re buying vvvv licenses for a project, also make sure to buy licenses for all the contributions you’re using that are available in the store
- If you’re developing a contribution and want (commercial) users to pay for it, then offer it in the store
Here you go: Store
ad b) Rationale
As you all know, vvvv’s business model is what others would call non-sustainable. It is a weird mix of being half-opensource and completely free for anyone to use without restrictions (how can you!?) unless their application is a commercial one, then pay! The whole model is based on an ancient social feature and we call it T.R.U.S.T We want to trust our customers as much as they have to trust in us. All nice and shiny, but does it work? Read for yourself.
Since the early days though, it was clear that the success of vvvv does not only stem from the fact that we’re such genius programmers (citation needed!) but also from the fact that a lot of its users readily shared, first their patches and modules, later individual plugins and finally indispensable whole packs of nodes that extended the possibilities of vvvv enormously. And they did all that for free!
To at least symbolically support those developments and allow users to tip others, a few years ago we introduced a micropayment service called flattr. It was an experiment that pretty much failed, for different reasons I guess, not least because flattr itself still struggles to find its way…
Then of course the idea of a sorts of “appstore” for vvvv contributions always seemed obvious. We’ve had a few developers asking for it over the past years, not enough though to justify an investment in the fully-fledged webshop that was always requested. When recommended by us to run their own little webshop we got mostly two answers:
- “That would be too much work.” Yes, it would be an investment on your side that you’d have to risk. Same as we have to evaluate if it would pay off to set up and operate a multi-vendor shop with automatic invoicing/payment/customer-service…
- “Ok, but nobody else is charging for their contributions and I don’t want to be the first.” This one is more interesting as it was not only brought up by developers but also by users who were afraid that introducing money into our little free-spirited contribution-sharing community could potentially harm it. Because once someone starts charging, everyone might want to charge and thus make everything just more complicated and expensive which in turn could drive away users…
All comprehensible thoughts, but here is the rationale why we are not afraid of this and why we now finally take this first baby-step in creating the Store page, which for a start at least is a central place to promote commercial contributions. Also note that contributions vvvv-messagebeta-contribution, dx11.pointcloudbeta-contribution and automata-uibeta-contribution already charged for commercial use for a while now, if you read the fine-print, so this is really mostly to endorse that practice:
First: Money has always been part of our community in two ways: vvvv itself costs money (for commercial use) and hopefully users who create patches for commercial jobs always charge a lot of money. So far many contributors who gave their valuable stuff for free probably did so because they knew they can get enough paid patching-gigs they enjoyed in turn, so it didn’t worry them too much. But preferences change and in a good economy it should be possible to contribute in different ways. If someone doesn’t want to do patching-gigs or at least not only, as they more enjoy creating and perfecting libraries, then this should also be possible to make a living from, in our community. And of course it should be obvious how this is to the benefit of all participants of the equation. Plugins/Libraries that so far have been left unpublished because of uncertainty regarding commercialization, now have a clear endorsement which can only strengthen the ecosystem of vvvv as a whole.
Second: Will using vvvv become more expensive overall? Using vvvv has primarily become more and more cheap over the years since we haven’t changed its pricing in 15 years and computers can run more and more outputs from one license. So paying for additional commercial contributions will merely bring its costs up to a more realistic level.
Third: Will everyone now charge for all their contributions? We hope that with the T.R.U.S.T business model (as elaborated above) we can be a role model and convince contributors to join our experiment and also still give their stuff away for free for non-commercial use. Like this, not much would change for the casual user and even for the commercial user who quickly needs to test options. Only when buying a vvvv license users will also be asked to buy licenses for contributions they use. Still we won’t enforce the T.R.U.S.T model.
So yes, there is still the obvious inconvenience for developers to handle their own licensing but at least we hope by promoting commercial contributions through the Store we don’t hold anyone back who didn’t dare to offer their contributions for money.
Let’s see where this goes.. The ribbon is cut, welcome to the Store Happy shopping!