Displaying ads on Google Code project pages

Posted in Technicalon Jun 19, 2008

Dear Google Code,

A few months ago I suggested allowing projects hosted on Google code to display advertising in order to collect revenue and support their project. One of the problems I saw in this model was that it could encourage project forking just so individuals could collect advertising revenue.

While collecting advertising revenue might work with projects with just a single developer, full-community projects with multiple developers would make it difficult to decide how to divide up the money among many developers.

What I might suggest instead, is that projects hosted on Google Code can display advertising, but rather than collecting the revenue themselves, they can decide to donate the money a non-profit organization that supports open source software. Google can pre-approve and generate a list of these non-profits groups, such that the open source project can simply select their favorite organization to receive the profits.

This is a win for everyone. Google can increase (maybe only insignificantly) its advertising market share. The non-profit groups receive extra financing, allowing them to further open source software development. Developers don’t win anything directly other than satisfaction for helping a non-profit (although considering many open source developers write software purely for satisfaction, this is not a small bonus), but developers will benefit from the overall strengthening of the open-source community. Google can also win on its taxes by being able to write-off the financial donations to the non-profits.

Please, Google, consider Google Code advertising that can help provide financing for open-source non-profits.

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