We are fast approaching the one year anniversary of the DotNetNuke Benefactor Program. This program was introduced on Dec 23, 2005 and had some very specific goals in mind. Primarily, it was intended as a mechanism for individuals or companies to help support the project financially, but at the same time receive some premium benefits. To serve the specific needs of different stakeholder groups we introduced various program levels ( Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum ) each with their own associated set of benefits.
So after one year we are happy to report that nearly 200 community members have become active participants in the program. An interesting fact that may be surprising to some people is that we ended up with an equal distribution of participants across all Benefactor Levels. This seems to indicate that we accurately identified the needs of different community members. Another interesting statistic, which is consistent with my research of other open source communities, is that only a very tiny percentage of users are willing to provide financial support to a project ( ie. with 375,000 registered users, the Benefactor program only managed to attract support from 0.05% ). The total revenue generated through this program in 2006 was approximately $80,000. This is not a substantial amount of funding for the amount of work required to manage a project of this magnitude, but it certainly helped subsidize a few full-time project resources, which was absolutely essential in allowing us to continue providing a superior open source web application framework to the community.
In 2006, we had a number of large scale deliverables which consumed all of our available resources. We successfully maintained two versions of the application for the entire year, DotNetNuke 3.0 for ASP.NET 1.1 and DotNetNuke 4.0 for ASP.NET 2.0. A significant amount of time and effort was required to keep these code bases synchronized and stabilized. In addition, we developed some very large scale enhancements to the core application framework during 2006. The first half of the year was spent overhauling our Membership, Roles, and Profile services to go far beyond the limited services offered in ASP.NET 2.0. The second half of the year was spent optimizing the application for performance and scalability. Enhancements such as these require full-time, focused effort and would not have been possible without the financial support of the Benefactor program.
Some participants of the Benefactor program have already started to receive automated reminders that their yearly subscription is due for renewal within the coming week. Since we leveraged PayPal for our subscription services, participants do not have to do anything in order to continue with their current level of benefits ( PayPal will automatically process the renewal ). However, if you wish to upgrade your subscription to a higher level you will need to cancel your subscription through your PayPal account and re-subscribe through the Benefactor Program page.
On that topic, we have recently updated the Benefactor Program page with some new information. In order to strengthen the program, we are now offering a number of new benefits for 2007.
In closing we wish to express our sincere appreciation to those community members whose generosity help provide the foundation upon which the entire DotNetNuke community is built.