Kate, thanks again for sharing this very insightful analysis. Your thoughts are very much appreciated!
We agree with a lot of points you have raised here. Indeed it is not the easiest thing to strike a balance between the ethos not to charge for downloads and receiving donations to grow GPLDL.
We have had a lot of discussions in our team about how to organize memberships.
We are crystal clear that the mission of GPLDL is to make free software free for everyone. This especially includes people who neither have the financial means to buy directly from the developers nor are able to make a donation. With this particular group of people in mind, we cannot imagine to charge our users (in general) and therefore hope that those who can afford to give something back will also cover the expenses for those who cannot.
We also will keep donations completely voluntary and reject the idea of “forced donations”- or “donate and reward”-models. We believe that this is not a true, genuine donation but a “hidden membership fee”.
Instead we would love to hear from our users who need more downloads or additional services to manually increase their download limits or improve and extend GPLDL’s services in other ways. We are curious to learn about their particular needs and see how we can add additional value for them.
Since we have just started out – actually we are still beta! -, we are very excited to see that a lot of users have registered and are enjoying GPLDL and we are grateful to those who instantly made donations.