I’ve been thinking how to monetize my Android apps. I know that it will never replace my day job in terms of revenue, and that it’s more of a hobby; but it would be great to get some disposable income from the time and effort I put in.

My original thought was to have a donate model. If you liked what I did, then you can donate some money. This could be a couple of formats:

  • A Paypal-esque link
  • A donate version of the app (which sucks because then I would have to maintain two copies of the code)
  • A donate key

I’d like to provide some incentive to donate, which would be added functionality, so a donate key would work the best since I could have a single code base and then provide a small download that would unlock the functionality. I could even add the key as an app on the Android Market and distribute it that way.

That was the model I was thinking about for awhile, and it’s good for long tail revenue. Another idea has been kicking (heh) around my mind lately though.

My thought is to build apps through a patronage program. Such a thing exists, although it’s generalized – Kickstarter. How it works is that you set a funding goal, and you have 30 days where people can commit to funding your project. If you reach or exceed your funding goal, then you get the money to do your stuff, otherwise no one is worse for wear. There are a bunch of other incentives and so forth that you can read on their site.

I think this would be a good mechanism for me, because my apps are generally niche market ones, but I try to make it great and of high quality. The problem I have is that the numbers on Kickstarter are too big. It would be great to get thousands of $$$ for my work, but I don’t think that that is reasonable. I’d rather make 5 apps that get funded for $300-$500 each. I guess what I need is a micro-Kickstarter.