A factoid from a Ben and Mena Trott interview for anyone starting a mom-and-pop business selling commercial weblog software:
Mena Trott: For the two years that we were just Ben and myself, the donations and commercial licenses supported Ben and myself to run the operation, and we never had to use our savings to pay for our rent or anything; this covered our costs. And we've had a lot of downloads and we've had -- numbers have been really large, but the average price, I mean the average --
Ben Trott: The average donation per download --
Mena: -- is 38 cents, lifetime, not per month! So 38 cents is basically what people have paid for Movable Type, and that's because of the generosity of other people that have decided that they wanted to pay.
-- Rogers Cadenhead
That number isn't right of course. I believe they just divided the number of downloads by the total amount of the donations. I personally downloaded Movable Type more than once, and never actually deployed it. (I'm sure others did for testing, backups, etc.) If I had deployed it I would have donated money. What if they would have put a front-end in place that required some donation before download? Besides, if making money was a primary goal of releasing Movable Type, then they probably went about it the wrong way. Well, it all paid off in the end, right? ;)
So, they were doing fine. Living a life that 99% of the world only dreams of and they're complaining about it.
Way to make me sympathetic.
And I agree, dividing the number of downloads by the amount of donations is valid. I wonder what that would come to now? I've only paid for one license, but my downloads on my account are already climbing into the 20s or more (even though I'm pretty sure I didn't download it that often so I don't even trust their counter). So, even having a legitimate license for Movable Type, I've only paid about a dollar a download. (Well, I didn't pay it, a benevolent reader bought us a license.)
Sometimes I think Mena and Ben are their own worst enemies. :/