June 23, 2008

Crowdsource Software Payments to Reward Alert Developers

Not all software is free, and not all of it should be. Unless you are the type who can break out your C and Python manuals with ease, the time may come where you have an idea for a great application, and you're going to need someone else to do it. Why not leverage others who have the same need, and combine to provide a bounty, by which, if your solution is delivered to satisfaction, the developer or developers can reap the rewards directly from the end-users who will benefit from their product?

As a visible, active, FriendFeed user, I grew jealous by the success WordPress bloggers were having with Glenn Saven's nifty plug-in to show if items had received comments or "likes" from the popular social lifestreaming service. He had single-handedly developed a tool to unify conversations from disparate sources in an elegant way. But, for me, a long-time Blogger user, I was basically faced with a rock and a hard place. Migrate to WordPress, or keep my conversations separate.

This clearly wouldn't do. So, on May 25th, I said I needed a solution, writing:
Needed: FriendFeed Comments + Likes for Blogger (Old and New)

Thomas Hawk and I need your help. The WordPress bloggers are having way too much fun with getting FriendFeed likes and comments into their blog, and we using Blogger (both the old or new) can't yet do it. I am offering a $250 bounty to the developer of a solution good enough I can integrate into my blog. This would not replace Disqus, but go alongside it, as seen at the Inquisitr. Thomas and others, feel free to add to the bounty...
As much as the WordPress advocates wanted me to just switch blogging platforms (and I respect their views), I was looking for somebody to develop a solution that could help other FriendFeed users in the same predicament I was. After all, what was more likely? That you would see a lot of people make an exodus to a new platform for want of a widget, or that many people on Blogger would find the FriendFeed widget useful? I was willing to pay $250 to make this happen, and I wanted others to pay as well.

By June 16th, Pat Hawks had a solution worth paying money for, and Thomas Hawk agreed. He wrote, "I'm good for a match."

In the space of less than 30 days, I had helped spur an alert developer to create a fantastic solution which I have in place today, and one that continues to improve. Pat, for his efforts, not only gained at least the $500 from Thomas and me, but now has a great deal more awareness and respect across the FriendFeed community and the blogosphere at large. I bet that with platforms like FriendFeed, Twitter and others having direct, immediate, connections to people on the "demand" and "supply" side of the fence, this won't be the last time you see a crowdsourced method for getting software developed.

I am all too happy to give Pat $250, and I'm headed to PayPal now. In this age when you have developers trying to compete with free software and Web services, why not encourage them to build something that you would use, and offer them real cash? If you get enough friends together, you could end up with a serious code competition on your hands.

See also: WinExtra: Crowdsourcing a tech interview