Re: Donations on BP.org, what do you think?
This a problem of target market in my opinion. Themes can readily be seen and demoed by end users (clients). They are pretty straightforward in what they offer (from a client point-of-view) and they arguably “complete” the website or at least for its base. As the client (I’m not a developer), it’s easier to understand the value proposition of a theme and its role of “completing” the site. I think that’s inaccurate in reality, but I could easily see clients operating that way.
Plugins are clearly components and as a client, you could see components as a way to nickle and dime away all my money. I could spend days (and have) combing the repository and if it was even mostly premium plugins, I would quickly be overwhelmed with the potential cost.
For me personally, because I’m developing my own site, I see both themes and plugins as TIME. For that reason, I’ll pay for either based on the savings of time that they represent. That will differ by plugin/theme, but also by the importance in my project and needed customization time. The problem with charging developers is these are the same people that are contributing as well. They are giving as well as taking.
I don’t know how to solve this conundrum, but I don’t mind the premium structures that have a different rate for developers and end users. I think that’s a start. But, if you charge for a plugin, make sure it’s likely the base or a significant function for a site (and its end user) before doing more than donations (IMHO).
I’ve donated or will donate to every plugin that I use as an end user, but that donation will be influenced by time saved.