Micropledge recently sent me some .. well.. they sent me unsolicited email advertising their services. So I guess spam works sometimes.
They have a new service for closed and open source ideas based on pledged donations. Basically, I can say that "I will add support for DirectX 7 for $1000". Then all of you would have to contribute small bits of cash, and whenever the total pot hits $1000 I'd start working. At this point, your cash is frozen, but micropledge won't pay me a dime until I've reached reasonable, public project milestones. If I give up, you'll get your cash back.
That's the theory at least. At the moment they are a completely unproven startup without any major references. As such, I'm not willing to trust them with a $1000 project. I have, however, pledged $5 of my own hard earned cash to this project:
.. and I challenge you all to submit your quotes for completing it :)
PS: Do not take this as an endorsement of micropledge. I think it's a cool idea, and their "free for opensource" definitely warmed me to their idea, but they have NO security record. There's absolutely no guarantee the entire site isn't a clever scam to steal my $5.
I like the idea, but as with you I'm skeptical about how legit they really are. I think almost all spam ends up being a scam or have some sort of a big catch since mass email tends to be the best marketing for those types. They should be thoroughly checked out to ensure they do what they say they do before people start forking over wads of cash. If they turn out good, go for it. If not, I think you should look into turning the idea into something you manage yourself or find another company that does it and has a good record.
Personally I trust you to do what you say you would do, you've already proven how much you care about the project by doing it (and doing it good) for free and responding to the users in posts and with improvements. For those who don't trust you, taking it in smaller steps (smaller amounts at a time) might be better. Start low since you're already doing it all for free and work up to a reasonable level as the project grows and more people start to trust you. As long as you don't let money get to your head as it has done for many projects, I'm all for it.
I have a well paid job that I love, so I'm not likely to start depending on donations or contracted work on Mumble anytime soon. The donations are a big ego boost though, and, as advertised, they go directly into beer&pizza meetings where we generally discuss programming. So I definitely appreciate them (and thanks again to all who donate!).
Micropledge does have it's use for me though. Sometimes development costs real money, even if it's opensource. For example, until recently we didn't have anyone working on a OSX port. However, had I put that up as a micropledge project, people could "donate" towards the specific goal of a OSX port. Once pledges reached $1000, I'd buy the mac, port Mumble and post it, at which point I'd be able to collect the $1000 and hence reimburse my expenses for the hardware. (Note: we now have a volunteer working on an OSX port, so there's no need. Yay!)
This could similarily be used for other things, such as: Domain registration ($20 or so?), ObjectSigning Certificate ($249), that damn G15 keyboard so those people can get their LCD display up ($100).
In general, I'm more than willing to spend time on Mumble, but I'm not going to spend hard cash on buying hardware or services I wouldn't use for anything else. After all, one ObjectSigning Certificate = 30 beers at the pub.
I'm a bit disappointed at the outcome of my experiment though. Even though it's only $6, nobody has stepped up to do the final fixing of the Ubuntu package, something which really shouldn't take more than 20-30 minutes.
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