Monetization via Paid Premium Version

AKA: Open Core

A usefull open-source core is free for all but a premium version with additional functionality, performance, security, or portability is available for money. Enables one-time or recurring payments for the additional features.


Variants & Options:



Characteristics Value Note
Effort to set-up Weeks Creation of a legal entity with licences, documents, etc.
Effort to maintain Medium Finding new customers will become necessary
Cost to set-up Medium Will require a lawyer to setup the license and contracts
Cost to maintain Low Will cause costs for legal or tax related stuff (but should be covered by income)
One-time Income Medium Very few companies might pay large amounts if the premium feature is essential
Recurring Income High Recurring payments per month or per update
Income Predictability High Companies probably want premium version for several years
Full income Threshold 10+  
Recipient C  
Additional Work High Extra work to develop and maintain premium features
Visibility Low Easy to forget, ignore, or overlook by users
Necessity to pay Medium Might be attractive for companies (e.g., pay for higher security)
Entry Threshold Medium Individual contracts for every premium version might be necessary
Countervalue SW Customer buys additional features
Scalability Medium Scales with the number of commercial users (who need the premium features)
Effort for marketing Medium The users might run in situations that require the premium features
Competitors None Premium feature would have a proprietary license
Software types Special Best for libraries or programs companies build tools upon

NOTE: External contributors / companies might develop similar premium features and become competition.