Anecdote: A few of our open source projects (our largest is https://github.com/SheetJS/js-xlsx ) have web-based demos ( http://oss.sheetjs.com/ ) which some people have copied, stripped license and attribution comments, changed the name, raised money, and then turned around and tried to shut us down. On the bright side, at least someone found it useful.
May I suggest that you be the one landing the contracts? Find real estate companies in your local area that have awful web sites and reach out to them for a coffee. Show them what you've done and sell the fact that they could hire the guy who has coded a site with his own hands rather than some scrub who knows how to click things in the WordPress back end. Yes, it's icky sales work, but if making money is your goal here, you'll get much farther than what you're doing now.
I think I must have communicated wrongly because most comments seem to suggest that I am sad or begging for money. I know open source won't make me rich. I earned very good money for many years and saved a ton. I'm not feeling sorry for myself or wanting to squeeze every penny from this project.
I would however like it to earn enough interest and money to keep it a sustainable long term project. Over the next few months I will do more to sell it directly to end users.
I'm also hoping some smart developers will be motivated to help me improved the code, design etc.
It's changing a bit in the crypto space. Take a look at:
I had a lot of hope for BitHub, a simple tool for paying bitcoin per git commit. What seems different about gitcoin which might increasing its chances of success is that it seems to be focusing on building a community/marketplace.
Would be great if GitHub could add donate buttons to pages and issues and payout. No reason this has to be done with cryptocurrency.
I'm not uptight or anything, but it bothers me when people allegedly (see, i'm doubting you already) put in so much work and then shoot themselves in the foot with shenanigans for half a laugh. First impressions, and such...
This often bothers me, and obviously when i was cooler and in college I did it to. Aaaaaand it didn't get me anywhere. In this particular case, we're talking real-estate? big money, important purchase, long-term debts. It especially doesn't fit.
Find a way to limit the damage one can do to the site by localizing changes to a randomized URL or something, because giving anyone on the internet access to your main demo is quite dangerous.
Well apparently you allow anyone to have access to what's shown there, so it seems you don't care what nonsense gets put on your own site.
I'll clean out the db and re-seed in a minute.
This is a demo site and the credentials are available on the github repo.
The ideas is to let people play with it. Only I can reset the db and that is what I do when people do silly things with the content.
Business? No, I see no business here.
I'm struggling to determine what you're offering though? How many new real estate websites launch, how many are looking for a "RoR ecosystem solution", how many are genuinely losing out anything by being based on Wordpress?
If you think the niche is there, I'd suggest your monetisation strategy should be like most of the big hitters in the space: continue to give away the product, sell value-added services on top. Offer the hosting, devops, SEO management, branding and advertising, or something.
At the moment there's no compel, it's a solution looking for a problem (I'm not judging, built plenty of them myself, just without any sort of expectation someone would give me money for the sake of it).
Most of the value of open-source work lies in the experience gleaned. It looks good on a resume. (There's also of course the personal satisfaction you may get from knowing a bunch of strangers use, and maybe even love, something you made or contributed heavily to).
From my experience this is actually way more rewarding than getting paid.
Who is the target audience? Developers that need an OSS RoR alternative to wordpress? Property owners/managers that need quick sites? Someone else?
Why does Open Source matter in this case? And how does it affect the target audience?
What disadvantages of Wordpress are you trying to fix/improve/innovate around? (I took a look at the link provided on the website, but assuming the reader is not a developer, it may be better to summarize in your own words).
What do donations go towards? What fees are associated with the upkeep and development of this product? How will my donations contribute to development?
Maybe the title I chose makes it sound like I'm complaining or begging. I'm not - just a sarcastic dig at myself. I'm not expecting to raise much money but whatever I raise will go back into the project.
The opencollective is actually a great idea because it means I don't have to go to great lengths to prove that I will put the money I raise back into the project. What I raise and spend will be entirely transparent.
Not all technologies are suitable for this business model, and it is best if you are comfortable with permissive licensing. And you may wind up working more and working harder than colleagues who don't choose an open source route.
Nevertheless, there are big advantages: the job security that comes from having a good reputation in open source is valuable, and if you care about open source ideals, you can take pleasure in how much this sort of position allows you to spread them and move them forward in our industry.
"This project has been created to address a glaring gap in the rails ecosystem: the lack of an open source project for real estate websites.
The result is that WordPress has become the dominant tool for creating real estate websites. This is far from ideal and PropertyWebBuilder seeks to address this."
isn't a bad way to sell the widget to developers. but because you've already put some of the work in to set up the one-click deployment, it looks like you're walking the path of going to a wider audience, and if that's your goal (not a horrifying one, it maybe where more dollars are...) it's good to think about how to explain that chunk more broadly.
granted, it's a tough line to walk but a lot of people are doing interesting things --> https://www.eclipse.org/oxygen/ for example.
Yes, you are right. I should aim for a wider audience. To be honest I'm totally to blame for not making more of an effort with marketing.
I will make more of an effort next year. I actually wasn't even expecting the $2 donation - it did cheer me up.
uh they sponsored you for 2 dollars? This might be you problem.
Also until you have users you aren't going to and shouldn't make money.
How then do you explain crowdfunding, which is effectively what this is?
You’ve got to have something people want, and find a way to tell the people who want it that you’re making it. You don’t magically have people show up and rain money on you just because you’ve put up a page on a crowdfunding site.
(FWIW, I’ve done three comics kickstarters, and have a Patreon that pays most of my rent drawing comics on months when I’m cranking out pages at a good pace.)
I can't speak for Kickstarter: that seems more of a 'from nothing' place and it'd be a gamble. I can say that if you are running a business charging money for what you do, you can do Patreon for the same thing and make a quarter to a half as much, IF you don't find viral success of some sort.
One big difference: doing the Patreon, you get to give your life work for 'free' to your community, which might desperately need that sort of support. I give tools to musicians, and I passionately believe that there are many musicians/producers/etc who cannot blow lots of money on proper tools they need. And, the ones I want to hear are not necessarily the ones who have the spending money.
So, my Patreon has other than monetary value to me. I take a hit in my income so that I can get the tools out there, across a wide range of host computers that sometimes aren't supported by the commercial sphere, and I get a lot of appreciation for doing it.
Even to do that, you need to already have a following, and it had better be a following that's already paying you or hiring you to do something.
I get people mad at Patreon wanting to send me money by PayPal. The thing is, if you do that, where are you going to be next month? I already know what total chaos of income and not being able to set expectations is like. It's called 'selling at retail and trying to get a next hit product'.
(See my other comment, above I think, about Patreon - you need tens of thousands of subscribers, from what I can tell, to get even a fairly basic level of income from it.)
51 patrons, $100 per page of comics I draw.
On a productive month I can get eight pages drawn, which is currently about 2/3 of my rent. It would be all of my rent if I wasn't living alone in a two-bedroom Seattle apartment. (Yes there are other sources of income.)
When I'm regularly drawing comics and posting them for free (I haven't been lately due to the last KS taking forever + some Life events) I see a slow climb in the number of patrons; it's been pretty much steady for the year or so I haven't been getting much in the way of comics done.
I think it took maybe a year at most to rise to that level; I wasn't building my fanbase from scratch or learning my craft, so that helped a lot. I estimate that getting back in the groove of posting pages regularly would see my whole rent covered in six months to a year.
The more prominent names in open source are an obvious example, but there are countless others who are more marketable, perhaps more visible, and likely had more negotiating leverage upon hire due to open source work.
Your work today might pay off in far higher figures down the road.
E.g., change the first sentence from
Ruby on Rails website builder for real estate.
Real estate website builder based on Ruby on Rails.
Also, put some newlines in, and expand the blerb out a bit.
The example site looks nice, though I notice on clicking the links to different sections in firefox, it draws once and then everything slightly resizes a little bit, so may be worth sorting out.
It might be worth mentioning propertybuilder more in the example, I've been using Wagtail recently, and their bakerydemo does this quite well. It's not over the top, but it is in there.
But releasing a project and hoping donations will come in almost never works.
I have an online games website I work on mostly for my own enjoyment. Basically just my take on classic arcade games like Asteroids (https://arcade.ly/games/asteroids/) and the little known Star Castle (https://arcade.ly/games/starcastle/). It's made a grand total of less than £7 from ad revenue over the last two years... because what I want to do for fun is write the games, and not a bunch of boring SEO.
Sadly it's the boring SEO that might make it pay enough to cover its own hosting. And even knowing this I'm still too unmotivated to do anything about it.
 Granted I should probably use Fiverr or Peopleperhour to pay somebody to do it for me, and I probably will, but I at least want to finish my version of Space Invaders first... and, fortunately, I have some time off over Christmas to work on it.
with WP, you get this huge ecosystem of easy hosting opportunities and addins. You can integrate your MLS directly with a wordpress app with no extra coding.
For the larger brokers, they often provide a web hosting solution for their agents to use that they built custom in house.
It is just too expensive to maintain and build compare to WP.
You know what gets me though? Patreon and YouTube. Granted you have to work your ass off to get to, say, $1000/month - based on channels I watch I'd say you need 30k+ subscribers to get to this level - but clearly there are people out there, in fairly decent numbers, who are willing to donate to support free content.
So, the question becomes: why does this not work for OSS?
The position to be in (and I think this will work for me) is to have a vision and essentially be the leader for that vision. Then, rather than getting paid to do what might be pretty ordinary code, you're getting paid because you're communicating a vision, one that's coherent and exciting to people.
What helps me is that I'm legitimately one of the vanguard developers in digital audio and have been for many years. It shows in my work, and that work isn't mainstream, and I'm able to communicate what's being discovered (for instance, the significance of repeated quantization of mantissa in floating-point representation: people behave as if you have infinite resolution because you can represent an infinitesimal value, but of course that's meaningless around 1.0f)
Just coding is NOT enough, and in fact having high value is not enough either. You have to get people to want to support your vision (or indeed personality, for the youtubers: and that holds for other types of creators as well).
I will do substantially worse when I go open source than when I was keeping things proprietary, just as I did worse going Patreon than I did when I was selling my stuff at $50 a pop. I'm doing the open source goal (and it's designed to be a trickle of source rather than a sudden throwing open of the gates) because it's the right thing, and that's in line with my brand (or, the way I represent myself).
I just have to manage the transition in such a way that I, personally, survive this doing of the right thing. That's not a given, but I think I can do it.
Never Patreon, or open source, in the belief that it is helping you. It's helping the world. Done unwisely, it can hurt or kill you if your resources can't withstand serious poverty.
Here is the open collective: https://opencollective.com/fakerjs, you'll see it's not even paying a pittance.
I suggest you either give up on writing open-source software or adjust your attitude entirely.
Sarcastic or not, that's a legitimate achievement.