If you are thinking about starting an open source project or even a website then one of the big questions will be on how to fund and sustain such a project. Hopefully this article will shed some light on the subject. Listed below is but a few option you might want to consider when trying to find a solution to your funding problem.
Not many companies are willing to sponsor open sources projects or websites as they receive numerous such funding requests. But maybe you could convince them that your product is worth a sponsorship deal. If not, then they might however be willing to sponsor products/prizes for competitions instead, so keep this in mind for the future.
Sell advertising space
You could try and sell exclusive advertising space in your e-mails and on your website to companies that you think might benefit from such exposure. That is only if you have a large client list to start off with, so here possible advertisers might decline and redirect you to their affiliate program instead (if they have one). However, there are many companies starting off that might just be looking for add space and massive exposure, so be on the lookout for them.
As there are many affiliate programs to choose from, this is probably the best way to fund and sustain open source projects and even websites. An important thing to remember is to be on the lookout for affiliate programs that will be beneficial to your income. Example: if your project or website is about gambling then visitors to your website will most likely not be interested in flower adds, but then again you never can tell what your visitors interests are. For a small list of possible programs to sign up for please look at the following article: funding.html
Another possible source of income would be to try and sell e-books to users of your open source projects. E-Books that you could write about may include an advanced user manual for your products, programming guidelines, maybe even through in a small hints and tips e-book.
Sell promotional material
You could create additional exposure for yourself by selling anything from coffee mugs to clocks with your company logo on it. T-Shirts is another possibility as this creates that extra awareness for your company or product.
Provide additional services (for a price)
If your product can be easily modified, maybe you could create a service where you are willing to redesign your product to specific guidelines. Such a service could be aimed at companies using your products, or even people looking for that special touch. Doing this would have the added advantage of providing you with ideas for the next major update as well as identifying features that needs to be included in your open source projects. Other possibilities could include installation services, selling your products on CD's and only charging duplication & postage fees, or even physically going out and teaching people/companies how to use your products effectively.
The above is but a few options available to you, so keep on the lookout for other sources of income towards your open source projects and websites.
N.G van der Westhuizen is a software developer currently working on an open source Lotto database application. www.slx.za.net