New pricing model for NuGet

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Update: In case that’s not totally obvious, this post was an April Fool’s hoax. A number of people got briefly fooled on the day, which was the idea! Now that April 1st is behind us, I may as well make this super clear :)

Since we launched NuGet in January, its popularity has grown faster than we anticipated. A couple days ago, we reached an important milestone with over 1000 unique packages (see for more fun numbers).

Up until now, NuGet has an been entirely free offering both for package authors and consumers. This free model has surely helped contribute to the growth of NuGet, and we are glad to have taken this approach.

Now that NuGet is more mature and has reached fairly wide acceptance, we have decided to switch to a pay model. This is actually something we had been planning from the start, but we chose not to announce early as it may have hindered our initial growth.

How will the pay model work

For the most part, it will be similar to the pricing models used in popular phone app stores (though apparently we can’t use that term!). There will be a mix of free and pay packages, based on the author’s decision.

As an example, the basic Fart package might be free, while SuperFarter will be priced at 99c. The more feature rich MegaFarter package may cost as much as $2.99 with all the bells and whistles, though in the end the pricing decision is up to the author.

When you buy a package, you will be allowed 10 downloads of that package for free, after which you will be able to ‘reload’ your purchase at the original price to get 5 more downloads. Why not allow unlimited downloads once you buy a package? Based on our studies, we found that not only the patented ‘reload’ model will end up being more profitable, but by making the user think a bit more about where they choose to use a package, the average quality of the resulting software actually increases (this surprised us as well, but the results were clear).

So that’s the story for the consumer, but what about the author? We deliberated for a while on this, and decided on sharing as much as 5% of the package income with the author. That number was partially inspired by the fact that it is tax season, and that the Beatles wisely wrote in their Taxman song:

Let me tell you how it will be. There’s one for you, nineteen for me. Should five per cent appear too small. Be thankful I don’t take it all.

The last part is key, as we will in fact reserve the right to take it all in certain scenarios.

Everyone is #winning!

While this is a departure from the current model, this new pricing model will end up benefiting everyone:

Authors win by getting a share of the revenue. To put the 5% in perspective, everyone 20 million downloads of your 99c package, you’ll be making almost a million dollars. We’re talking real money!

Consumers win by getting higher quality packages. With the current free model, there isn’t as much incentive for authors to put hard work into their packages. But with money at stake, we expect it’ll be a different landscape. So packages will do things that you don’t even know are possible today.

Last but not least, the NuGet team wins. Most of the money will end up there, so that should be self-obvious. But we will put it to good use. For instance we will upgrade our cars, which will allow us to get to work fresher in the morning, and make NuGet even more awesome that it is today.

I hope you are all sharing our excitement about this game changing announcement!