It's been just under four months since Mozilla launched its pilot program for contributions, a way for users to donate to add-on developers for their time and effort.
The program was launched in tandem with a redesign of Mozilla's add-ons site that gave developers their own profile pages. Many add-on makers were already running donation programs through their own sites, but wanted the option to show up in Mozilla's catalog too.
Already it appears to be working, but on a smaller scale than some developers might have hoped. For the half dozen developers that CNET News talked to, none has made enough from it to, say, quit their day job. While Mozilla would not reveal specifics on which developers are getting the most contributions, it did provide us with the total amount given: around $20,000. An organization spokesperson said that most of that came in September and October.
Of the 500 or so developers who are participating in the program, the average contribution falls somewhere between $5 and $6, with the largest thus far being $150. All have gone through PayPal, which is the sole way to pay through Mozilla's add-on site. PayPal then gets a small fee out of each transaction, something that comes out of the developer's pocket, although this varies based on how much the user gives.
Other ways to make money
Some developers believe Mozilla has gone about the payment problem in reverse. With the current contributions program developers are given the chance to ask for money before the user even downloads the free add-on. So why not give them a way to ask for a contribution after a user has downloaded and installed it?… Read more