Recently, I was contacted by a developer specializing in .Net, who is fairly new to mojoPortal. He asked me if it’s possible to be profitable supporting an open-source application like mojoPortal; my unequivocal response is “Yes, quite well.” Stick around – after the break, I’ll outline some of the ways that supporting open-source can generate revenue.
Now, it should be prefaced that it won’t happen overnight; you will get pushback from some members of the community, who feel that because the core application (mojoPortal) is free, and open-source, all utilization of it should be free as well. That’s not an unusual perspective for any open-source community, whether it’s WordPress, Joomla!, Dot Net Nuke, or any other application. However; if you talk to most of the actual core developers of these applications, you’ll hear a different story. Every one I’ve talked to has openly acknowledged that their application is used as a tool by for-profits, and indeed in most cases actively encourage it. Some offer premium support packages and sponsor ships to support ongoing development (nopCommerce), while others sell premium add-ons directly from the core development team (mojoPortal).
It is a good idea to give back to the community; good karma, good will, you name it. Whether that’s in the form of free UI templates, a plug-in, forum support – that depends on your strengths, and what you have the bandwidth to achieve and potentially support down the line. It’s also a good way to get a feel for what’s popular, what there’s a desire or a need for, and where your strengths fit in.
The ways that you can actually make a profit supporting an open-source software like mojoPortal include the following:
1) Custom themes – mojoPortal comes with a great selection of starter themes to choose from, but most business users will want a design that meets their specific needs, that’s not “out of the box”.
2) Premium plugins – Joe Audette at mojoPortal has provided some really excellent plugins, but there’s such a wide array of user needs, and always more room for more plugins to fill those needs.
3) Client services – At the end of the day, most website owners won’t care as much about what you use to support their needs, just as long as the solution you provide actually does do so. With literally billions of people and companies in need of websites, mojoPortal is a great content management system solution.
4) White label – other companies often run into the dilemma of having more business than manpower to meet the demand; in these instances, they’ll often look to partnerships with third-party entities to fill in the gap. It’s also a great way to focus on your strengths (graphics, development, social media), and collaborate with other companies to complement the areas you’re not as strong.