Subject: Re: Motivating support contracts
From: Brian Bartholomew <>
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 16:19:35 -0400

> A while back, a company called American Information Exchange looked
> into use crediting people's credit cards as a way to pay them.  It
> proves that this cannot be done.

Credit cards seem to want about 3% of a minimum transaction of $5.  I
was picturing an e-gold type offshore bank.  Money is transferred in
and out of the bank via credit cards (accepting their hit), and
sloshed around inside cheaply by the software vendor.

> might be neat if people could 'buy in' to some product, at a set
> price, and depending on the quantity sold, get refunds?  That way
> they would have an incentive to get their friends to pay money for
> it...

That's what I was thinking.  Again, the software is proprietary for a
year or two before it's GPL'ed, to limit the free-rider problem.
Imagine a piece of software that cost $1M (including profit) to make,
and is expected to sell between 1K and 10M copies.  Once you have 10K
customers in the pool and the software costs $100, you're home free.
But those early customers are hard -- customer #1 has to pay $1M,
which makes him an investor, not a customer.  Perhaps the vendor sells
early copies at a below-recovery price, and fills the pool with later
above-recovery prices.  Or perhaps early customers need to be
motivated by a share in the profits.  Perhaps the profit margin is
allowed to rise as an incentive if the software sells 10M copies.

League for Programming Freedom (LPF)
Brian Bartholomew - - - Working Version, Cambridge, MA