A tour of sponsorware

Been reading into sponsorware to see how it could be used to fund open source. Here’s a bunch of links arranged in a semi-timeline.

Feb 2020 - Introducing Sponsorware: How A Small Open Source Package Increased My Salary By $11k in Two Days - The first post by Caleb Porzio that introduces the term.

17 Feb 2020 - The dawn of sponsorware - Caleb is featured on a podcast.

Mar 2020 - Sponsorware repository is created.

09 May 2020 - Why Sponsorware is not the answer to monetize open source - Disagrees with ‘sponsorware as early access’ but agrees with ‘sponsorware as upselling’

Jun 2020 - I Just Hit $100k/yr On GitHub Sponsors! 🎉❤️ (How I Did It) [Hacker News comments] - The post that really ignited this space.

The following are from the same author:

13 Oct 2020 - I got my 1st big sponsor for the GraphQL API for WordPress - Someone who got a $1400/month sponsor but it’s more a freelance gig than sponsorship.

24 Oct 2020 - Funding a plugin through sponsorware, how successful is it? - Not really, unless you have 10k subscribers like Caleb.

Other articles

17 Nov 2020 - And now for something completely different… - An interesting take on sponsorware from the security sector.

Third-party middleware/services start appearing.

19 Oct 2020 - GumHub (posted on Product Hunt) - Sell access to your GitHub repos with Gumroad. Not sponsorware per se but similar.

Nov 2020 - Only Sponsors [Hacker News comments] - Build a Salary with GitHub Sponsors - A middleware/service/community.

02 Jan 2021 - Sponsorware for Github (posted on Product Hunt) - Another middleware/service. Huh? They have 0 sponsors. Their dogfood doesn’t work every well then.

10 Feb 2021 - Sponsorware Screencasting WP Plugin - There’s even a WordPress plugin.

Dishonourable mention: https://joinsponsorware.com/ - Someone else trying to cash in but looks unfinished/abandoned? This is sloppy. Why put up a website that’s obviously incomplete and (worse) has inappropriate content?

Aside from Only Sponsors (which also offers a community), these services seem a bit dubious. It looks like they sell an access control service, but access control isn’t very hard anyway. What is their value proposition? Probably they are just trying to land grab early.

Github repositories

byt3bl33d3r/SponsorMonitor - Monitor Github Sponsors and automatically add/remove them to/from a Github Organization Team.

jwright/sponsorware-bot - Automates actions based on activity from your GitHub sponsors. - Unmaintained/Unfinished?

grey-software/Sponsorware - Technical guidance and tooling to allow open source developers to distribute software to their Github Sponsors. - Looks like it’s just documentation only? Related: https://gitmemory.com/issue/grey-software/sponsorware/1/689595158

maticzav/sponsorsme - A lightweight utility to check whether a user sponsors you.