We've been brainstorming ways to ensure that PortableApps.com remains an ongoing project for a while. There are a few things I'd like to be able to do with the project and, as most folks have noticed, SourceForge downloads continue to be an issue for us. They're currently unavailable within the platform and only partially working within the browser (a big issue since about 74% of downloads are platform-based) and we're unable to upload new releases. This is the second DDoS in a week that has resulted in an outage.
Ideally, the goal would be to add some features that people want and would be willing to pay for without impacting the main product and allowing it to remain free and open source. Essentially a modified fremium model so we can keep working as we have been. Make that better than we have been since this would allow us to improve free access as well. I've put together a list of ideas, some relatively easy to implemnt and some not, some more useful and some more about just showing support. Here they are in no particular order.:
- Ad-Free Site Browsing - For paid users, ads would be hidden site-wide. So, no attempt would be made to load them full stop. In place of the main ad at the top left of the page would be a thank you message with a link to member benefits or similar. This would allow you to visit the site with your ad blocker disabled and still see no ads, improving page loads just a bit.
- Faster Downloads - For paid users, we could add a tier of paid downloads that would use a global CDN that's distributed geographically for the best performance. This would work both within the site and within the platform. It would be by account and allow essentially a 'family' plan of a certain number of devices/installs. Work-wise, this would require working logins into the platform and setting up methods to handle verifications on the server. It would have to be setup to only work for members so third parties don't leech the relatively expensive bandwidth, of course, as well.
- Premium Forum - Essentially like reddit gold, this would be a forum for paid members' discussions. I don't anticipate anything different really than the main forum and it wouldn't be devoted to support, just an exclusive way for premium members to communicate with each other and the developers. Workwise, this is relatively easy as we'd just add a new forum and tie it to the role of 'premium' associated with the accounts.
- Supporter Badge On Site - Paid members would get a supporter badge on site in the story comments, forum posts/comments, and on their profile page. This would be similar to the developer, translator, admin badges we use now. Workwise, this is also relatively easy as I'd tie it to account role as well.
- Free Commercial Software - As we're adding commercial software this year to our lineup, we'll have an opportunity to occasionally get bulk discounts on that software. We could then buy it for all members and distribute license keys. Think apps like the ClevX DriveSecurity commercial antivirus we bundled on our Carbide drives. It's a bit similar to paying for Xbox Gold or PSN and getting 'free' games. We likely couldn't do this every month, but maybe once a quarter for everyone that had been a member that whole time.
- Premium Platform Themes - As theming support is being finalized for the platform, we could commission a few premium themes from some popular digital artists that were available to premium members. We could even make a game of it and do a new one every X months and let members vote on the artist they'd like to commission.
- Cloud App Lists - This would let premium members maintain a list of their custom set of preferred apps with their account and have it automatically load it for users that use multiple devices. Workwise this wouldn't be too bad and just involve some custom PHP/mySQL/Delphi coding.
- Cloud Backups - Integrate a cloud backup utility into the platform for premium users. This would be a good amount of work and require us partnering with an online storage provider of some sort.
- Hardware Discounts - We're going to be reintroducing drive sales again soon and we could do some small discounts for premium members
- Merch Discounts - I'm thinking about introducing some PA.c merch. Think shirts, mouse pads, etc. We could do small discounts for members
- Other ideas I'll add as mentioned?
I think that's a good starting point. The goal would be that for non-members, nothing would change. Except more reliable free downloads. And seeing supporter badges on site from other folks.
I'm looking for more ideas, too. Especially things that would be a low-cost in terms of work and money outlay but that would appeal to some of our awesomely devoted users.
Our base costs for implementing would be $100 a month for the proper Drupal plugin to handle monthly/yearly subscriptions. Plus card processing costs of 30c per charge plus 2.9% of the transaction. I'm not sure about pricing, but as an example, if we charged $9 a month, we'd need 13 members to cover the base costs assuming a 2% fraud rate. At $5 a month it would be 23. We could also split off things that cost us more money (cloud backups) to another pricing tier.
Any thoughts, questions, suggestions?