free source, free support, free modules - How do we get paid?

hope i don't open a can of worms here, but i have a couple questions for the community.

I have utmost respect for shaun and crew for their work and constant improvements in the dotnetnuke source. this is a very overwhelming task that so far is shared by few (lets say 10) developers who have devoted most waking and sleeping hours to get it out there.
I have kids and a daytime job (hell, i drive a taxi to pay the bills). I am sure most others do too. this project is not funded, and all the help comes from guys like shaun, kenny, mark, phil, thomas, tom, etc.
Enough of the soapbox.. I want to know, how is a revenue model supported? I know we all have wishes or dreams of hosting sites, and selling products, but what is the big picture?
As a fact, the top team of developers is giving this time and energy as a gift which is reciprocated in more questions and improvements. don't think i'm bitter, i love it as well we all must to be here in the first place.
how does the revenue get raised? through modules? though improvements? through new versions? through support?
what makes red hat a successful business model, when linux is free? all of the above, with a price tag.... so what makes DNN a successful business model?
i whole heartedly offer you my time and support to keep this project pummelling into the future, not so we can "beat" phpnuke, not so we can grow faster.... but so that YOU are able to profit from it and make a future.

Please help us. support us. seek out the revenue streams we are creating and follow them.
drink deep. we love you.
Intuition without concept is blind; Concept without intuition is empty -- I. Kant : Critique of Pure Reason

In the olden days, books were burned. Now the website is shut down.

KodHedZ Software Development
4/29/2003 10:59:04 AM 25171 articles. 0 followers. Follow

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Here is my Perspective.

I am not a great .net developer, but I have a vision that this work will pay in the long run. And I hope that your effort will make us all some money. Since I am just a copy paste programmer, I am not qualified to talk on the behalf of toe top tier programmers here in this forum. However, I do feel that the community at this moment in time is too small to allow chargeable modules pay for your everyday cost of living of the developer that produced it. I think there are only some 100 people around that are willing to purchase modules at a modest price. That will not pay the rent let alone your holidays. However, this is still one revenue stream and if one is dedicated enough then it can work. It is working for SnowCovered. Nonetheless, remember that this is just a small community and there are room only for one SnowCovered not too many.
The other revenue stream and that hopefully, is the big one I refer to the public out there although we are in middle of IT recession but the market is very big and one can develop website and applications for your local community and earn a respectable income. You can use this community here to support your venture and whenever you feel you deserve more then charge accordingly. I do appreciate that some of you may not have a local community that can pay for your expertise; I don't have an answer in that scenario.
Bottom line is that it has to be fair and you can charge fellow developers in a modest way and charge your local community at whatever rate you feel is right. Right now, you may have to be patent and just hope it all comes together.
This is my 2 p

KnapHill, Surrey UK

Skinning & Building DotNetNuke Applications

4/29/2003 11:53:09 AM

you are right and i totally agree. But, there is allways a way to make money. I agree with salaro that this community is to small (also there are 5000 downloads or more). Look to the activities in this forum in the last days. I feel that in earlier days there was more activity, or I'm wrong? And the types of question have changed.
I have mailed with you about the distribution and that seems to be a way to make money. There are a lot of "users" not developers out there that want to have a out-of-the-box solution. They can get it from YOU: put all the things together (modules, bug fixes, skins, handbooks,...) create a wonderfull installation routine (in special a database setup routine) and Whooom throw it to the market.
Go to the book shops where they have computerbooks, linux distributions etc. and ask them if they want to sell the upcoming product of the decade ( :-) ). They will like it.
In germany was a conference today. My brother told me that the MS guy says:
"we have to look for the small and medium business. They need a complete solution. They have to reduce headcounts. They need a central PORTAL solution to share informations in an easy way between employees but also with the customers"
Thats the world of us with dnn.
Just my thoughts.
* think about the survival kit. I need it because of all the nights i spend in the last days. :-)
German DNN Site

My portal enhancements
4/29/2003 12:38:35 PM
Hmm, good question.

I make money out of .net nuke by providing it to my customers as a cheap and cost effective solution, using the time it would take me to develop this framework to develop a few custom modules and customising the portal. The modules I develop I donate back to the community. My customers don't mind because they benefit so much out of a cheap framework.
The other side of me, develops modules in my spare time for a bit of fun, just to see if they can be done.
I guess there are 2 types of developers contributing, and there are room for both. Those who want a return in investment on DNN, and the other who does it to learn .NET
My guess is if you want to make real money out of DNN, you would chose a market, say, e-learning, crm etc, and develop a package solution with built in modules, installations, etc.
Modules, Skins & Skin Objects @
4/29/2003 12:55:44 PM
Salaro, Well said. I feel inclined to comment on this a little. Before I start I want to make it clear, that I recognize the right of any individual to charge any amount of money for their services that they see fit and that they have customers for.

With that I have spent a good amount of my life promoting products in various flavors of industry and the one thing that I have found that hold true is this. If there is not a substantial market and there is a lot of competition then chances are that you are not going to be successful.
This is exactly what we have in this situation. .Net is still a relatively new concept. Corporate has not bought in to the technology, well not in great numbers. You can prove this by looking on just about any job site for dotNet related jobs vs Java or other competing technologies. Colleges do not teach this technology as part of their cirriculum, but that is slowly changing. Over all you do not have a wide acceptance of dotNet from any perspective, not even the mainstream programmers.
I know we think a lot have but really we are a very small number, in the grand scheme of things. The number of accounts on the front of this forum is around 216,000, but I think we can all agree that there are not near that many that spend any significant amount of time here. I would guess its maybe a 400 to 500 active. Shaun posted that there where 5000 registered on, but we definently do not have that number here. I believe that any one who is truly serious about this technology would spend a lot of time here to learn about it and gain some experience, but that's just my opinion.
With all that being said; well just how are we supposed to pay for our toys? VS.Net is very expensive and there is another version shipping now. How can we afford to buy our books that we all go through like candy. I guess the way I view it is right now this is a negative sum game for me, but I do not believe it will always be that way.
My philisopy is that right now I am losing money on this endeavor, that will continue for some undetermined length of time. I also believe that I am investing resources to become one of a few programmers that embraced ASP.Net from its launch. From that embrace I will be light years ahead of others who chose not to embrace it once Corporate realizes what it can do for them. That is the beauty about this entire endeavor. Mr. Gates is not going to allow this to fail( the man does not know how to fail), Corporate will get on board and start investing money converting their applications to this. And once all this happens then we are going to be on top of the mountain. We are going to be able to charge any thing we want for our skills and the Exec's are going to play our price.
Me personally, I am going to spend this time promoting my name. So when the market really comes, people will know who I am. I guess I need to echo Salaro when I say just have patience, it will come.
My 2 cents and some change.
4/29/2003 1:29:53 PM
i am very much still in the "learning" camp but have the hopes to move into a contributing role.  i am fortunate to be a professional developer for my "day" job, and often need a project to get the ball roling learning new technology.  the fact that this project as well as a few others (rainbow and the starter kits to name just a few) exist for us to utilize for our own benefit and at our OPTION contribute back to this community is pretty cool to me...actually a bit of a breather from the every day world to be honest ... a place to interact with like minded developers, of all skill levels, on something most of us really like to do and that is building something, for many of us that means coding.  i love it.  it is very fun for me.  add the potential to have some sort of side gig going to make extra $$ (however you may with this application) and i feel very lucky this thing even get it up and going from the ground up on my own effort alone would take significant amounts of time, which i do not have.

in the end i think how you make any money off of a project/application such as DNN is up to you. it is a very flexible application and easily extended. the community is active and responds quickly to questions and conerns, how many paid support lines do you get that from? in the end, smcculloch pretty much sums it up...pick a market and apply the technology...


4/29/2003 1:55:00 PM
My Two Cents:

(FYI: My background includes being a small consulting house CEO, a recent position as CIO and someone who is well into pursuing there MBA. I also am an avid Microsoft Junkie and C#/ASP.NET Programmer.)
My perspective is this:
Presuming you have ten developers, each of whom probably could make a minimum $5k + / mo in the private sector and presuming there is enough full time work on DNN for all ten, you'd need revenue in excess of $600k not including revenue to cover taxes, payroll taxes, developer tools, marketing & advertisting costs, administration, etc. You'd need revenue in excess of $1M (estimate) just to cover costs of your team and operations.
So the question is: How do you make that kind of money? How do you cover $80k in costs / mo?
One of the fundamentals in Corporate Finance is about "differentiation". In other words, successful companies have to have a way of being different and not a "me too" firm.
So for DNN, How can it be developed to contain enough differences to make it unique?
Look at similar products that are out there both open source and not: DNN, Rainbow, IBuySpy, PhpNuke, Sharepoint Portal Server, etc., etc., etc.
I'm sure you'll agree, if you can be objective, that there are numerous "like" solutions out there. I think a market can bear only so many "similar" products, even free ones.
The key is to be different.
So my take is: Make DNN Different. Take the base, and make it veritcal: Make it about e-learning, real estate, accounting, data mining, health care, etc. Include mobilility, collaboration, management, integration to ERP/CRM systems or SCM. Take and make a non-open source vertical version that you can sell and market.
Stop trying to keep up doing what other portals are doing and "Be unique". Set yourself a part. Then get yourself a business plan, marketing plan, and figure out how to "SELL" and "MARKET" your product. You need to understand that to make business $ takes a different set of skills than programming. Get someone on your team who understands business, marketing, sales, packaging, etc. and tap into him/her.
I think this great group of people here can be creative in figuring out ways to differentiate the product. Brainstorm, dream, envision "tomorrow's" dotnetnuke. What would it be doing? What is different about it? what makes it unique apart from the other "me too" portals out there?
Selling an occassional module or subscription service probably might make enough $ to make it enjoyable for one of you, but not all ten. Not if you want to make decent salaries as opposed to extra play money.
I think if you admitted it, deep down you really want to make bucks off this thing and not be open source. I know I don't work for free. I need to pay my bills, take care of my wife, pay my house payments, and eek out a living in this world. I sure don't understand the motivations behind those who think open source will work in a capitalistic society. I mean my God, look at Red Hat...they've positioned themselves in a way to make money off open source...they can't do it for free. They needed a way to make $ and they created mechanisms to do so. It's not the underlying Linux that makes them $, but the services and packaging and distribution, training, and consulting that does.
Time costs money. Period. It's that simple. We're starting to see the costs associated with the time you guys are spending on this much appreciated project, but there's no revenues (inflows) to cover those costs. After all...this isn't the first time the topic of making money has come up with DNN. If i remember...there was quite a backlash from the community about charging for subscriptions.
I think making money from the community is not the right thing. They are not your market(it's too small and the market consists of those who aren't looking to pay for software). Corporate America is your market. Small to medium businesses are. Companies with $ to spend.
Take DNN and setup a web site to do market research. Set up a questionaire on the site asking about what small/medium businesses want from internet web technologies. Collate and review that data. Send out postcards or bulk e-mails to business/small business owners, take a survey asking them what they need...what they want. Modify DNN to satisfy those needs. Then market and advertise to those survey participants and business owners to pitch your product to them. Sell customization, training, and installation services. Sell a package to host, setup hosting, setup the site, train...all for a package price.
I for one do not believe in the "Dave Thomas" philosophy of business. "If you build it, they will come" is a crock. Find out what your customer base is, what they want, and target them with a focused product that meets there need.
Sorry for the ramble. I appreciate the efforts of the DNN.
Myself, I am trying to find ways to make $ in this market. Some of the ways I'm doing it are working, some aren't. It's not that easy.
Now that i'm done...this is the point where i get flamed for expressing my views!

4/29/2003 3:37:13 PM
well done guys, this is exactly the thread i had hoped would develop frmo this question.  right answers, and good information too.  I have patience, and agree with everything mentioned here.  Sometimes it seems to leave me wondering, but I realize that i will be riding the .net wave when it surfs through tech town.

Experience is one of our greatest acheivements. good on ya.
any more ideas?

Intuition without concept is blind; Concept without intuition is empty -- I. Kant : Critique of Pure Reason

In the olden days, books were burned. Now the website is shut down.

KodHedZ Software Development
4/29/2003 3:44:50 PM

Well I am not retired yet, but our revenue model is based greatly on DNN and I think it will work very well (has been so far). By using .Net Nuke as the core framework I am able to leverage its core feature, ease of user, and scalability when wooing a customer. Then I focus all of our time on creating custom modules, integration into the customers existing infrastructure, and training there staff to use the Nuke and our custom tools. In the past we created separate web apps to do the same thing, and then we would wire them together via a menu driven front-end. This was very tedious and took great amounts of time/$$$’s to do (primarily because of the rebuilding of the core and navigation). Also, making the different applications play together (integration) was a major pain. Now I can go to a customer with a total solution that is dynamic, offers all but Zero Administration (tab administration is the key here), and has the flexibility to allow virtually unlimited growth. This frees us up to spend all of our time, money, and resources building custom modules and systems integration. This make my life much easier, and do to the dynamic flexibility of the framework, I have been able to charge the same (or in some cases more) than I did in the past and still offer a better solution for FAR less $$$’s on the development side (our cost). I LOVE THIS FRAMEWORK!!!!
I see the profit potential in the framework and in providing well tested, well developed modules. This is why I (and lizardpickle) offer all of our universal (non client specific) modules freely to the community. This allows a much greater level of testing (everyone that uses it is in essence testing it for us) and in features (many of the features in our module were suggestions/code sample form the community).
So to wrap this up, I see true revenue as coming from the end customer and not the community (module sales etc). I also think that open source module are going to facilitate this growth better then a purchase model, do to the benefit that comes with many users using your modules (and sharing their updates).
That is my 2 cents.

Robert J Collins
When economies tighten, organizations need more than ever to find ways to
strengthen organizational effectiveness and support strategic objectives
4/29/2003 4:49:25 PM
I am just beginning with .NET and learning the DNN Framework has been a valuable experience..  I currently work in a Coporate Enviornment where if there is a cost involved, I have to build it myself..  With that in mind.. I do like the the way this is open source, but I also think that the way DNN is going will provide for a simpler way to be able to add $ to the equation..  

If I remember correctly in one of the next few version DNN is going to have the capability to add modules without having to rebuild the source code, that in itself is awesome.. it allows me to do what I need to do with my code and still be able to update the base code with all its new features / functionality without some of the headaches involved now. With that in mind, there is a potential for a whole new business with DNN, the base code potentially remaining open source and updateable and modules with a lot more power behind them that potentially could be built and charged for the end customer.
For example, there has been some talk about using DNN as a E-Learning Model, with that in mind.. someone could build a learning tool and sell it to the end customer, and we as the middle men dont have to worry about wether or not the base code would like it..
Anyways this was getting winded, so will wind down.. In my opinion I see DNN as a framework to open up to alot of different $ models from Charity/Church organizations to full blown corporate infrastructures, we have the power now where do we want to go.. )
4/29/2003 5:03:12 PM
All great points of view.  Here are some or my thoughts:

As an open source community we have the ability to develop a package that, as someone else mentioned, could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop doing business as usual.
The first impulse for some might be to try and siphon off some revenue by trying to profit off the same community that is involved in building and implementing the package. In the long run this hurts the entire community. Instead they should look at this as being able to reap the rewards that having this tool at you disposal can bring.
Many of us are here because other portal solutions have so many people trying to siphon small amounts of revenue off the community that the entire package became undesirable.
Think of this as a group of people that were given a backhoe. Some know how to run it, some know how to fix it, some know how to modify it, but together they have a tool that means that they can go out and do work they used to do with a shovel without the expense of buying that expensive piece of equipment. It gives them a competitive advantage.
If one of the people in the group decided he would only put air in the tires for a fee then the rest of the group wonders why they don't get paid too and the whole thing falls apart. They lost sight of the fact that the "tool' is there for them to use to make money WITH, not ON.
This project has given me the ability to provide a service to clients that I couldn't before. It brings a whole market of groups, small business, even individuals, into reach for me to provide them a site that they could not afford any other way.
By now bringing them into a higher level of site I open up their thought process to areas they never could see before. Now we can develop custom services that we can generate on going revenue with.
So develop an idea for a subscription based site that you can sell to clients. Develop a site for a market that you can then replicate with small modifications and expand throughout that nitch. Or develop an online service that you can charge monthly fees for operating.
I am working on some ideas that within a year will be providing significant revenue using the portal package. As this revenue stream starts to flow i'll be giving significant donations to those that stuck with the spirit of the community, and provided components of the whole that allowed me to move into these markets. These donations will be far greater than any fee they could have hoped to get before the fact were I inclined to pay such a fee (and I am not).
While I am certian I could come up with some ideas to generate a small amount of revenue off the community I realize that it would open a door that I don't want to go through.
I hope others will resist that urge as well, realizing that the community will be far better off, and the package they have access to will be better as a result.
I feel a loyalty to this community, and those that "get it" and contribute to the good of the whole. So far my contributions have been limited, but as my understanding of the project grows, and abilites develop, those contributions will grow.
4/29/2003 7:35:06 PM
Well, I for one was willing and able (and did) pay my 30 pieces of silver to shaun, and I believe that a working revenue model for this project _should_ include community participation. I do not think _pure_ open source as it is now practiced is the way to go, but the way that linux is handled may be our model: Some of the companies actually profitting from the sales, integration or implementation of linux give back to the community.

Some of them allow their hired programmers to spend part of their paid time extending the code base, some of them donate their custom code back to the community, and some of them cough up server space, etc. We can do the same.
The beauty (to me) of this community is that the poor student (like I used to be) can get as involved with DNN as the leathery coder (which I am now). We need to help keep that possible. If you can afford it, everyone here who has seen a movie in the last six months (meaning you have had a least 10 bucks to your name) can afford to give SOMETHING. And for those of us who are using DNN as our framework for commercial apps or are selling DNN as is, what would it hurt to donate $20 or $50 or $100 per implementation (depending on what you charged) to help the community of programmers???
I agree with the other posters numbers it would take approximately $1,000,000 a year to support the project monetarily, but I don't think that it is impossible. I know that if someone packaged DNN (or CSK for that matter) they could charge about $300 - $5000 per company for it. That is what these type of .Net "frameworks" go for. Go to if you doubt it. And many of the ones you see listed aren't as complete as DNN.
Given it's potential, I think DNN has the capacity for being very lucrative for its developers and community in general, but it needs time to grow. When the average businessman, can buy DNN3.5, toss in a design template from, and have his site up in 1-3 hours all WITHOUT KNOWING ASP OR HTML, then we will see a much greater market for add-on modules and consulting work. Until then, this product is still in development.
In any avalanche, no single snowflake feels responsible.

-- Voltaire
4/29/2003 8:43:44 PM
Great comments AJ.

I hope I wasn't misunderstood (and looking at how I wrote it I probably will be).
The Linux model is a great example. The code is free and the community supports themselves and each other even while providing themselves a good revenue stream offering value added services or extensions to the package.
I should have (as you did) made a plea to everyone that has found the work of Shaun, and others, of value to them to donate to support those that put their hard work into making this project work.
4/29/2003 10:41:01 PM
I have not completely read the all threads but I can say some words and ideas about DNN

last summer I have worked at a goverment portal project in Turkey
in this project the product was IBM websphere portal 4.0.x and when I compare these systems, maybe comparing these two products is not meaningful but I love and also prefer DNN :) it seems powerful product because it has less problems and free ( not at 100K $'s or above ) that can be easily managed,scaled,configured etc.
another thing that I have never seen microsoft open source project spirit, I have never tasted this but now I want to contribute, maybe now feeling like linux fans :) this development must continue because it is like baby, need to grow more and more, and has a life cyle, must never kill at the beginning.
on the other hand money is to important too but no specific idea about I think it was discussed before.
some ideas,
have an official web store of the modules that are released, active developers showroom, ongoing modules, ongoing projects, coder rental from the registered developers of DNN, custom modules,enterprise solutions, extra developer licences, centeralized licence servers, background discussions, more documentations, showcases, business success stories, official sponsons, more articles, theme( skin) store, ...
i think my brain stormed too much


Mustafa Dagdelen

4/30/2003 12:17:18 AM
It's getting late and so many have already made so many great points that I will try to keep this short.

Income Potential is very high if done correctly, however, be wary of biting the hand that feeds you. I for one have some very good ideas for reaching some of the niche markets that typically don't cater to portal users (or at least not yet) but in order for those dreams to be achieved, it's going to take a complete solution and we as a whole are just not there yet or at least not for the different pieces I envision as a total package. Are we off to a great start, absolutely! Could I ever achieve a finished product, never! Technology is always changing, always evolving, etc. Can I reach a point where cost of time & resources is no longer outweighed by dividend, very possibly but that will only get bogged down if we do not maintain a solid community to bounce ideas off, etc. I propose a different solution such as coming together on a solid marketing campaign that will benefit everyone or for those who may be afraid some big corporate entity will be monitoring these forums, take it offline and invite those within your registered portals to opportunity to discuss different marketing strategies or whatever. For example, I have already asked a couple of others if they wished to assist in pursuing a target market based on what I have seen them give back to the community and with any luck some day that might come true and I, like some of the others, will be able to look back from early retirement and say DNN made the difference but if that doesn't happen, I can still look back and say, "Boy it was sure fun getting to know so many from so many different parts of the country and the sense of comradeship as we worked to build DNN." Either way, I figure I win.
Clem Messerli

CTC Ministries
4/30/2003 4:20:48 AM
Wow, this is a great thread, and I hope it is everything those who are reading it are looking for.  I have read every post thus far and agree with just about everything I see.  Yes, making money is just a part of life whether you like it or not.  We all need money for obvious reasons.  What I see DNN as being is a way for people to make money from a small-large business, or a self start-up company, not from selling modules.  How many of you have actually purchased a module, or component.  Several months ago I posted something asking for opinions of what components are really worth buying, I did get some feedback but I still have yet to purchase any(The only one I find interesting is the Dart PowerTCP .net subscription but I don't have $2k to blow.)

I was working with the IBS as my entry into .net and I started on that 8 months ago. I took what I learned from IBS and created a solutions for multi-level marketing firms, and members of the merchant services industry. (By the way, if anyone needs any of this code, I can definetely help, haven't converted it into DNN though) I was starting my current project and stumbled across DNN(never checked it out when it was IBSWS) and found it a wonderful way to save me time, and adopted it into my project. I am currently setting up a module that can be used to order meals(ie. lunch) based on location and participating restaurants in that location. It is a side project, as I have other things in the works, but would be willing to share code, anything to give back. I don't see any of us competing against one another, unless we have the same innovative ideas.
Chris Paterra

4/30/2003 4:29:51 AM
Some more ideas:

1. xpdit's book should be arranged so that the first portion is free to the community, and the remainder is a paid product. Many sites use this model.
2. Companies like red hat survive on support and services. DNN developers will be no different.
3. The true power of DNN IMHO is that it lets you leapfrog ahead of your competition. They probably need to roll custom authentication/user management, menu systems, etc. You get all of that out of the box, and so you can come in with lower bids or more functionality at the same price as the others.
4. I still like the idea of gold memberships for people who get early distros, bug fixes, etc.

4/30/2003 5:31:19 AM
mmmm Money we all love it which brings about the paradox of open Source.  All the work I did i just gave away for nothing yet for some strange reason Im sure this is the best ploicy for my company.  At the stage that DNN is at there really isnt any point trying to make any $ out of the other developers, you are much more likely to make a quid from and end user whio you can set up with a fantastic Do It Yourself web site ina matter of moments, something i have been working towards since 1999!  Now it is possible.

Shaun has the right idea of providing a specialised DNN hosting service.
We are providing our customers with portal solutions they couldnt have afforded 6 months ago based on DNN and have decided that its DNN or bust.
Crispy Id love to see your MLM code as we are just about to port over our MLM VB6 code into DNN so maybe we could work on that together.
I believe that if we contribute to this project it will reap its own rewards.
Keep up the good work everyone.
Philip Beadle (MVP, MCAD, MCT DotNetNuke Core Team)
4/30/2003 7:12:36 AM
Wow...there is some potential in this thread...

Note: I'm primarily responding to XPDIT's first posting in the spirit of sharing some advise…(apologies for the length)
What I do:
As someone who doesn't have a daytime job...I pick up the occasional contract when they are around to pay the bills. and the remainder work 8~10hrs a day on IBS / DNN based products and developing a business around the implementation and provisioning of the hosting etc.
I suggest you start with working out how many people you can realistically get in two years and how much you would like as an annual income and divide that income into the potential customers, then, think about if that's a likely amount for them to pay.
I have taken a model of $100USD per portal per month incl. the setup / backup and any maintenance upgrades etc. (so I provide service for the money and don’t charge for DNN) and I'm after 100~200 customers...I charge on an hourly rate or fixed price to develop custom modules etc. and if someone wants more than a monthly backup, I offer them a weekly for 1 hours labour. The first $15k (mostly Microsoft Licensing) or so is going into setting up my own infrastructure, in order to minimise any risk to my business model, and can leverage of that to provide greater services (like using DTS in SQL to integrate to some peoples systems)
Also, any friends, Family and acquaintances etc can re-sell this for me and only pay $50 p/month this enables me to *Touch* many more people and gives them an opportunity to make some discreet revenue and even offer someone else $25 to their friends, family and acquaintances I have about 30 people marketing for me, and all I had to do was give up 50% of my gross on any sales they make for me at no cost. I also have a percentage (an increasing curve) which I take out for donations to the group, to keep the conscience clear.
What my experience tells me:
Apart from the odd lucky strike, I suggest it would be unwise to focus too heavily on the big fish, as they are already well catered for and difficult to catch without significant resources...I have done some consulting to some very large organisations and was told once..."We will only hire vendors that are big enough to sue if we don't get what we want". These guys generally wouldn't touch Linux with a barge poll, there all HP UX, Solaris etc. In my experience it's turned out to be a fairly good yard stick (ie...The bigger they are the more security & comforting they need). The exception to this is when you know someone on the inside, or come in as a contractor...and get to know someone on the inside.
It is also much more likely that
The Small and Medium business are by far the best people to market to and they make up a huge percentage of the market (Where I live >85% of all business has < 20 employees). Microsoft keep making noises about putting more effort into this area, not because they understand it yet, but because they recognise it's the largest untapped market out there. A good way to think about it is...Who makes more money, the local 5 star restaurant charging $100 p/head for a dinner or MacDonalds (not such a good anecdote nowadays, but you get the idea) .
I thought COZ's analagy with the Farming tool was excellent, this is going to be a brilliant tool to give the smaller players a head start and be able to offer functionality to many customers that don't realise they can afford this type of website / extranet / intranet app etc.
Note: I'm generalising terribly...
In my experience the biggest issue is marketing to the small & med size businesses as they are the most diverse and generally the only person in the business thinking about strategy is the owner(s) who don't go looking for solutions like these because they don't realise they are an option.
The only way I have found to cost effectively market to these guys is to get to know some of them, do some good work of the highest quality and look for referrals (If anyone has any better system....PLEASE share it).
There are generally lots of small business associations etc around the place, if you join one and contribute you will be well looked after get lots of really nice business cards printed and hand them out like your allergic to them, every one is a potential lead, and when someone is looking to have someone do some work for them in 6months time were do they look first...
Anyway…have to go and feed the baby!...I hope this provides some food for thought (hopefully positive).
4/30/2003 8:31:02 AM
Hi Xpdit,

You asked:
What's the revenue stream?
To answer your question with a question:
What does the core DNN developers group sell?
This question requires a clear one sentence or less answer.
Food for thought:
Q. What does WalMart sell?
A. Shelf space


A leaders job is to grow and develop adaptive capacity.
4/30/2003 10:03:46 AM
wonderful responses guys, keep em coming!
Intuition without concept is blind; Concept without intuition is empty -- I. Kant : Critique of Pure Reason

In the olden days, books were burned. Now the website is shut down.

KodHedZ Software Development
4/30/2003 10:20:18 AM
I just want to chime in. This is a great thread. Outstanding posts

4/30/2003 12:37:22 PM
Let's see if I'm getting all this straight:

1) Our target market should be small to medium businesses, not other developers (i.e. the Community)
2) We should sell this as a value-added hosting solution, a vertical market solution, or a shrink-wrapped portal solution. No matter what type of product is chosen, quick implementation and low price are the primary competitive advantages
3) Our greatest strength is each other and the variety of skills that everyone brings
4) While some people are here to learn, some people are here to help and some people are here because DNN is their job, everyone wants to make money in the future!
Is that about it? Sounds good to me.
4/30/2003 3:04:22 PM
Hi mm53bar,

"1) Our target market should be small to medium businesses, not other developers (i.e. the Community) "
I have some reservations about this. I think market segmentation should be driven by the value proposition and not demographics (samll or large, east or west, regions) .
The value of any product is set by the buyer not the seller. If you buy-in to this concept then you have two concerns about pricing:
a. You set a price that is lower than the buyers perception of value and lose revenue opportunities.
b. You set a price higher than the buyers perception of value and lose a customer
Furthermore, the buyers may already have a perception of value which you are not aware of. That's why we have sales forces trying to develop customer relations.
Most companies set the price (i.e. value to the buyer) based on cost. Buyers don't care what a product or service costs to provide. Buyers care about what it's worth to them.
The driving factor should be throughput (Sales - Totally_Variable_Costs).
OE = Operating Expenses (excludes labor, overhead, and burden)
I = Investment or Inventory (depends on industry)
Net Proit = T-OE
(I have a PPT presentation explaining this in a manufactuirng environment if anyone is interested.)
In this sense, pricing models and sales efforts will be driven by customer value and not demographics. Using this model also makes management decisions signifcantly easier and
more closely aligned with reality of the market.
"2) We should sell this ....... No matter what type of product is chosen, quick implementation and low price are the primary competitive advantages "
I agree with quick implementation but have reservations about low pricing.
If companies make low prices a primary competitive advantage, a buyers focus will change from value to cost. The product will become a commodity with low margins. Most companies in the commodities arena have huge infrastructures (high volume) or manage their business with the cash flow statement (not enough profit). That's not a good position to be in. It's called survival mode.
One last point:
The driving factor should be Quality with a capital Q! Not just in product and service but in every interaction with customers. Both internel and external customers! Every interaction should add value to the customer.


A leaders job is to grow and develop adaptive capacity.
4/30/2003 4:33:11 PM
Good points Todd!!! (have you been reading Goldratt?)

I agree that value is in the eye of the buyer, so that of course flips the question to:
How much is DNN worth to you and your business? How much would it cost you if it ceased being developed? What ever that number is, you should find a way to support the community to that extent. And you developer dudes, you should find a way to let us support you.
For instance, I have need of a couple of modules that I think would be of interest to the community, but the important thing is _I_ need them. I would really like to pay someone to develop them for me, and to my specs and I assume that the cost would take into account final ownership of the code and the source etc. How do I go about doing that? Along with selling hosting and whatnot, the prime movers in this community (and you know who you are) might want to set up some kind of rent-a-coder type marketplace for customizations (and yes I know that it would be _VERY_ slow at first, but I can assure you that it wouldn't take much of: it's friday, my deliverable is due monday, and I can't figure out how to make user-personalized pages on my client's/school's/job's intranet site, and I know that someone who is really adept with the framework could snap out the answer in 30 mins or so. My problem solved is worth less to me than the $50-$250 it would cost me to SOLVE my problem, and not just get a head nod in the right direction. There are many opportunities here guys, you just have to make good on them.
In any avalanche, no single snowflake feels responsible.

-- Voltaire
4/30/2003 5:52:02 PM
After receiving and email from shaun and reading the posts here. I thought I would throw in my two cents.  

I am the president of our local computer users group and play with programming when my and time allow. Our user group is the second largest in the US and we are struggling with declining membership and along with that funds. Even though we are a volunteer non-profit organization we have expenses to meet with our magazine and training center. We have the same basic question "How do we get paid" so we can pay our bills. The market will only bear a certain rate and we may have to find a new market that can increase our volume or our rate. Hopefully both.
In the past our focus has been the individual with the home PC. We are trying to reinvent ourselves and segmenting into the small and medium business market. What do we have to offer? Training and hopefully soon web presence. In this economy, businesses and people are not willing to leap out with a big front end investment and are not too keen on monthly fees if they run too high or require too long of a commitment.
I am looking at DNN as a possible solution to help us provide local businesses a web presence with interactive and dynamic sites for a small investment up front for graphic look and initial content. Then they would pay a monthly fee. I think it would only be fitting for us to pay a percentage of those fees to DNN and plan to do so.
Having said that, would I go out and pay for DNN upfront for our purposes? No. We do not have the money pick up a peice of software on a speculative venture so we were looking at DNN over SharePoint and other products largely because of price. Of course, as we move into the market we would be more willing to buy additional highly-specialized modules for a nominal fee and could even pass on a monthly fee to customers using the modules. Provided of course we could use it for our clubs personal use for free.
My personal feeling about the advocates of Linux over Windows stems partly from the Open Source and the Free Aspects of the products. Most everything associated with Micro$oft products has a hefty fee associated with it. If .NET can foster the free open source concept long enough to build a support base and convert some of the Linux advocates over to its far superior capabilities. The market base for more paid modules and framework will grow and so will DNN.
As I become more proficient with .NET and build or customize modules for our group be sure I will make them available here and for free. Of course, at the moment I am not in this for the money but to learn more and foster the free open source code. I will of course contribute financially where I can.
For now I think DNN should focus on providing customization and hosting services for a fee and specialized high end modules for a fee. Treat it the framework like shareware (look at what it eventually did for ProComm while modem communications was big).
If you do decide to charge for the product, you have as much work ahead in building an operators and admins documentation as you have done in the programming. Documentation is by far the weakest aspect of DNN. It is rich enough and big enough in features that the level of documentation needs a giant leap and you can not get away with the minimalist approach to documentation that was in IBS, especially if you want to charge.
Joe Brazell

San Antonio DNN User Group Meeting - 4th Thursday of each month at Alamo PC Learning Center.
4/30/2003 6:58:57 PM
Hi ai_henley,

Yes, I've read almost every book availble covering the Theory of Constraints. It's great to hear you know of Goldratt.
Actually I am a Constraints Management consultant and use my programming skills to support TOC implementations. I am a strong advocate of Deming , Goldratt, Heifitz, and Senge. It all fits together so well. My focus is on change management and leadership development but often deal with process improvements as well (DBR), which I think DNN may play a large roll in. The core framework needs to be rock solid. If the community can make that happen in a relatively short time frame, I see a tremendous and prosperous future for the DNN community.

A leaders job is to grow and develop adaptive capacity.
4/30/2003 7:11:18 PM
Just thought I would chime in with my 2 cents.  Not saying what I am doing is the best way, or the correct way to make money with DNN, but it is working, so I thought I would share it.  I am offering, mainly to local businesses, the following 'package':

- installation and configuration of the portal
- 1 month of user/admin training (up to 15 hours)
The above is for a set up front fee.
- Monthly hosting for a separate fee, with e-mail added on for a fee dependant on the number of accounts needed.
- If the customer wants the portal to be set up with an initial look, and most do, I am billing hourly for that work.
- Any skinning, or graphic designs are also created for an hourly rate.
Don't know if I really want to get into specifics as far as price, maybe I am being too cautious...guess it isn't that big of a deal. SO, here you go, the up front fee is approx. $3,000 - $4,000, monthly hosting averages $50, and hourly is approx. $80/hr. With the monthly, they get code updates, bug fixes, and tech support. Well, there you go. For a company to get a site built, this is quite inexpensive compared to the alternative, and they get more functionality, and they get managed content. If they want it on their server, there is an additional charge, based on an evaluation of their environment.
One last thing...I am being very up front about the open source project that is DNN...we are not selling the code, just our experience with the code. We want to do this in an ethical way. Many small companies don't have large IT departments and would rather have someone take care of the install and set up. We try to carefully qualify customers...who would need frequent updates...Sports clubs, retail shops with specials, employment agencies, etc. We have sold three of the above packages in the last month, and are excited about the prospects.
Any opinions on this would be great, and if this helps someone...great.
5/1/2003 11:51:00 PM

Hi Scott,
I have read and re-read your post several times lately. It has been very helpful, especially as I am considering how to price my services surrounding DNN. I have a couple of questions; we can take this offline if you like...
1) What determines your initial fee ($3k-4k)? Is that just going up as you gain more experience, or is there more logic to it that that?
2) How do you price the implementation if they want to do it on their own server (i.e. " there is an additional charge, based on an evaluation of their environment."? Why does that cost additionally - b/c you don't get the recurring revenue from hosting the site?
3) If you don't mind me asking, how to you go about gaining clients for the portal? Are you cold calling, or is it more warm calling based on referrals, associates, etc.?
Thanks for your consideration - this has been very helpful.
5/8/2003 6:07:34 AM
We are also providing a similar service to Scott where we charge a setup fee of $800 AUD and $80 monthly.  then if the client wants we build them a site and provide training so they canm mange it themselves.

DNN is so good thatb the 3 cold calls i made this week with demonstrations all gained clients!!
We try very hard to supply a service that the client cannot get elsewhere and it is working.
You can have alook at our offering at .
We will be emplying a Graphic design company next week to design skins for our sites too!
DNN is such a good product that it is really easy to sell even for me who hates selling but has to do it so you might as well sell something you believe in.
Philip Beadle (MVP, MCAD, MCT DotNetNuke Core Team)
5/8/2003 11:37:59 AM
I am very bad in selling however, everyone I have talked to so far has given the go ahead,  except two because it did not work on a mac. You can not win them all I suppose.


KnapHill, Surrey UK

Skinning & Building DotNetNuke Applications

5/8/2003 12:46:42 PM

I'd be interested in seeing some of the sites that you have sold. Any chance of getting you to email me the URLs?
site in production:
5/8/2003 2:36:26 PM
Hey Terrell,

Check out some of the stuff we have done: (WIP)
Have fun
Philip Beadle (MVP, MCAD, MCT DotNetNuke Core Team)
5/8/2003 6:25:03 PM
Todd, that is a most impressive post.  I agree that marketing your product as a low priced alternative runs the risk that a client will lose sight of value.  However, with DNN your neighbor could be selling the same product.  Even with the best relationships, if you bill say $3,000 for the framework and your client finds out that they could have downloaded it for free there is the potential for friction.

I have monitored the IbuySpy boards since the beginning and more recently the dotnetnuke boards as the open source concept is intriguing. I am truly a torn soul. I have been brought up the MS way, yours is yours and that is that. But the benefits of the community and the results that can be achieved are astonishing.
I have developed my own version of the framework and use that to sell to my customers. I believe I have a couple of advantages in my framework that are beneficial both to my clients and my developers. However, there are also benefits in the DNN framework that I have not yet completed, nor can I in a timely manner. Which brings me to my next point, if we are all working from the same code set, how are we to differentiate ourselves?
As for billing, I believe businesses, small and large alike, are out target audience. Vertical markets and the like mentioned above are implementations targeting these companies. Also, while I would not rule out enterprise companies, my experience tells me that small and medium sized businesses are usually more appreciative and open to suggestion.
Making money off the community is a good option if that is your bag, and you only need extra cash not a career, but I do not understand how exactly that works with the open source license of this framework. I tend to purchase souce code along with the copyrights.
I have to say I love this post because it hits on many of the issues I am personally fighting with in my decision to stay with our proprietary system or move our works into the hive.
6/26/2003 2:30:04 AM
I can offer my (humble) pov:

I recently had the (mis)fortune of being downsized. Whilst managed to find alternate exployment within two weeks - the experience brought home that I ought to take a more active role in controlling my future.
To this extent I've been pursuing (through an SME) three rather large (but niche) opportunities - all of them requiring DNN.
Would I be using DNN if it was not free? Unlikely. Its likely my google search of 'amazing yet free portal' would have led me elsewhere.
The opportunities I'm pursuing are large - but there is a considerable amount of work to be done before any money is likely to be forthcoming (and a chance that nothing at all may come of them)
If and when the money does materialise its unlikely to be substantial.
To some extent I'm my own (and your) worst enemy - I get substantial pleasure out of seeing others make use my efforts (and in this case the efforts of all of you). The money is often as secondary concern.
HOWEVER. All is not lost. If these opportunities do eventuate...
1] I'm going to need assistance in building custom modules perhaps even hosting the site and resolving performance issues. I've been to embarrased to openly approach people to write custom modules for a fee. Perhaps if there were a page dedicated to facilitating some interchange between those with a need and those with a capability? Similar to snowcovered but more comprehensicve (graphic design / hosting services / custom development / consulting etc). Module development is such a small part of selling a portal.
2] When I said these accounts are large - they are large. One has 40,000 users that will need to be preregistered. Would I (or anyone else who's income depends on dnn) be willing to pay for a 24x7 support service? You betcha.
Given the international presence here it shouldn't be too hard to setup a professional 24x7 dnn support service? % of all revenue goes back into the development of dnn?
In short - I don't believe charging for dnn is a smart move. I do however believe there is substantial scope for charging for the value added services (not just module development) that surround dnn and possibly the potential to earn a margin in facilitating those interchanges.
Who knows - perhaps setting a gentleman's agreement that if you earn anymoney out of dnn that you need to return (say) 5% of it to where it all began?
If I'm fortunate enough to bring in some sales (heaven knows I'm trying) - I'm happy to put my money where my mouth is.
I'm new to the dnn scene and not a software developer so go easy when flaming me!
6/26/2003 12:10:32 PM
So how does everyone feel about charging for modules?  Doesn't it seem to be out of spirit with the thousands of free hours that go into developing the core?

I have to admit that I feel kind of "used" when I pay for modules, particularly simple modules that I COULD have done... if I had the time.
Interesting metaphor: I love my NTForums module... I couldn't have done any better even IF I had the time. Still I feel used. The way I would feel used if I woke up hung-over one morning and realized that I had been "abused" by Mila Jovovich. ;-)
Isn't it sort of like someone charging to let you graze your cows on the village common?

But my MOM says I'm cute!
4/19/2004 11:00:45 AM
Wow.  Someone is really doing some digging in the old archives.
Joe Brinkman
4/19/2004 12:03:09 PM
Digdug ;)

I still try to focus my module(s) to be free. But after all the hours you put into them I can see why people would want to charge, and it's crossed my mind a time or two.
Engage Software
4/19/2004 12:21:45 PM
Yeh Joe, this one is really old. To put it in perspective. I went back and read my response to this thread. In my response I remarked how I really just wanted to build my name with this endeavor. It then occurred to me that at the time I made my first post here, I did not have any of those fancy icons that are beside my name now. Maybe a Top 50 or 100 poster but definitely not all those others. I guess the plan I had then is working ;-) 

4/19/2004 12:46:57 PM
My 2 Cents,

I am a developer that gets paid to develop aplications for my clients. I use DNN as a tool to facilitate this process in a more efficient manner. This allows my clients to maintain thier basic Internet / intranet web site with litle or no interaction from a programmer but also allows them to have custom modules devleoped for the framework for lower cost than developing the application as a stand alone.
I hope that someday, there will be a sustainable market for modules, etc and I think that will be a reality soon.
Steve Walker
Senior Consultant
SharePoint Forums
SharePoint Architecture
4/19/2004 2:24:40 PM
In short DNN is paying off for me in either a sustained or increased hourly rate for future contracts.  

I am a contractor. Some call a programmer like me a hired gun. I am on my 43rd project in the last 9 or so years. I solve the business problem of my current client(s). A couple years ago I was at a client that was evaluating portals. We used I Buy Spy as a prototype to "sell" the portal concept. ASP.NET was still Beta 2 I think. At the time there wasn't a Weather module so I created it and then posted it out on website for free. I never made a dime off the module but in building it I strengthened my ASP.NET skills by writing it in both C# and VB.NET and I used a webservice. This experience, along with others, gave the old resume a boost and gave me an edge in a part of the country where Microsoft technologies are not as popular as Unix/Java/EJB/JSP/Oracle etc.
The same is currently true with DNN. I use DNN personally for a family Genealogy site because it is free and comprehensive. DNN is making me money every day I use it even though the money will not be realized till I secure my next contract. For the last 18 months or so I have been doing SQL Server and DTS development exclusively on a day to day basis. That is great for staying at the top of my game with my SQL skills but if I neglect .NET I will fall behind and get rusty. If upon securing my next contract I have to say that I know VB.NET and C# but haven't used them in almost 2 years would cost me many dollars per hour. I estimate staying fresh with .NET means around $10 hour on my next contract. When I am goofing around in DNN for my own personal site I am learning how other extreamly competant and creative .NET developers are applying the latest technologies and architectures in a real-world problem solving manner.
The book of Proverbs says:"A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels"
Look for instance at how the Core is built, especially now with the new skinning architecture. There are reasons why the Core Team decided on using pre-compiled user controls, it benefits me to learn those reasons. I see how you guys applied using DAAB in the datalayer and why, also the use of caching. I took note of how reflection was use in a real-world way (many times we learn this stuff in our books then think 'OK but how would I use that to my benefit in the real world'). Because most all of the module developers distribute their source code along with their modules I can look under the hood and gleen methods and techniques I never thought of. DNN is a slick piece of work. It is not just some science-fair project a few developers slapped together in 3 months. It uses the latest architectures, technologies and best-practices from some of the most talented .NET programmers around the world. The creative prowess and technical ability of the DNN is community is readily apparent in the sucess of DNN and growing popularity. Because of DNN I stay fresh and current in my skills and raise my understanding by learning from all of you. So in a sense, I am a product I sell and you are developing me.

Jason E.Schaitel

Regular Guy

4/19/2004 4:13:23 PM
Great discussion! Here is my story.

I stumbled accross DNN about 6 months ago. I have about 8 years of desktop programming experience and I was looking for examples to help me learn more about I have learned a great deal about using DNN and in the process I realized how powerful the DNN platform was. Until now I had done a few sites in FrontPage but I never was able to maintain a consistent look and feel on each page in the site and they always looked kinda cheasy. I could get the same result with static HTML. DNN has solved that problem for me. I have a platform that allows me to created consistant pages and easily change the content. (yada, yada, yada preaching to the choir)
The good part-
I am currently developing 2 DNN commercial sites with several custom modules that will handle advertising revenue accounting for 2 retail distribution companies in the mid west and south east. These sites will handle all invoicing, billing and other mission critical business functions for these companies. On top of this initial development they will need me to provide ongoing DBA support for their SQL Server. And I am sure I will be able to roll additional functions into the app later.
I have several sites that I will be developing for my own businesses over the next few months. One of them will be yet another portal host site. I expect to generate about $40- $55,000 this year in commercial web development using DNN as the foundation and another $75,000+ in other IT consulting services. Would I be able to do this without DNN? Absolutely!
DNN is just another tool in my toolbox. It's worthless if it's not used properly. Fancy tools and choice lumber don’t create show case homes. It’s the craftsmen that understand the proper usage of the tools and the characteristics of the wood that create the finished product. It isn’t the tool, it’s the application of the tool that makes the most money.
Rant and ramble -
One of the lessons to be learned by the open source community is that somebody has to be able to use your product to generate revenue for themselves or the product will die. Does anyone really think that Linux would be where it is without someone making money on books, services, applications etc. Without capitalism why bother.
Also, I would imagine the members of the core team have learned a great deal about project management and their developer skills have soared during the development of DNN. Looking at the code I can tell that you all are top shelf programmers. It has been my personal experience that when I have mentored someone I usually learn more than they do because of the questions asked. I bet the same is true for the moderators of this forum. If you are a core team member that hasn’t increased you earning potential and contacts for future business then something is wrong or this is your hobby. You have got to learn how to market yourself first then demonstrate the beauty of DNN.
To sum it up. You guys have done a fantastic job. I really appreciate your effort and sacrifices. I hope to be able to give back to the DNN community and promote it well. And if you guys want to start a commercial venture with DNN you have my support. In the mean time, if any of the core team is ever in the Nashville, TN area let me know and I will buy you diner at the Wild Horse Saloon. K i r k w a r d at c o m c a s t (dot) n e t.
Another 2 cents. You guys aught to have good pile of cash by now! ;-)

4/19/2004 4:44:20 PM

Good thread let me give my ideas insights and comments on this and how we created revenue streams
Module sales
Tried this with IBS and DNN1, I also have one DNN2 module on snowcovered now. But for me this was not the way to go. At first you have the non developers that cant even install the simplest module or dont read well enough and forget thats it says core change. I made some money on this but not as much as I would do selling standard custom controls. Also the support is taking way too much time. So I am going to try a new setup now, I am working on a bunch of skinobejcts and modules and most wil be free for personal use but there will be standard licens for people who use commercially and there will be host licenses for portal service providers that want to use these objects in the services they offer to clients.
Since dnn is a developers market there is a coming market for skins and other stuff to visually enhance the portal. With dnn2 its easy for non developers to create complete skins which can then be applied to to the portal. Everyone want there portal to look cool but most developers cant design. I have made better money creating a few custom skins and converting over excisting skins ( from templatemonster or design bureau ) complete with flash and everything over to dnn 1 and dnn2. Than i have made selling modules over a year. So there is a great market for skins, I remeber a friend of mine who did an awesome phpbb skin for a fortune 500 companie for like 2k. So there is a market for skins, phpbb and other php based apps and frameworks have special sites and designers popping up that make a killer with these skins.
I dont have any experince with this yet alto we are working on a self publishing portal concept using dnn2 kinda like all the others are doing here but based on specific frameworks for specific markets.
Custom development
This is where I make the most money, doing customized modules for clients that allready have dnn2 portals running or providing a client a complete framework based on dnn for custom work that would otherwise had set them back lots more example given. We are working on a complete enterprise level elearning platform wth everything in and on it. Using DNN2 there is lot of work that is allready done for us and we can only develop the stuff that the customer needs. So we can offer this cleint a framework for 15k that would otherwise have costed him between 50 and 100k if custom developed by other parties.
Spin off
I havent seen this mentioned yet but this is which got me money and job. I once started a community for mobile phone ( wap ) develoeprs called waplinks because there wasnt much info available for this yet. This site grew from a one page link page to a site receving 100000 unique vistors a month on its topdays. Got me some banner money but the most fun part was the spin off.
Based on this site people saw me as linke and expert and I was invited to conferences was offer books software etc for review on my site and even had a number of people using my donate button. Best part was my spin-off job. Based on this I was contacted by Wrox Press and worked on several books on wap and xml as a technical editor. We all know the big red books and for abou 4 bucks a page for books of 100+ pages this was a very nice spin off.
I also got job offers for steady jobs and custom consulting work from people who saw my site and needed a good developer then. The same has happened for dnn2 work lately based on various postings I have done on this site to help others. I had people contacting me to do custom skins, custom modules and custom applications. i started for fun but now i can almost live of DNN2 work alone.
This is also why Im giving back to the community, I dont mind people using my stuff for free, but if others make money or it I would like to see this in return
Yes there is money to made in this, there are various levels on which you can make money but i beleive most in using DNN2 to offer ready to run apps to my cleints who just needs some custom development and tweaking to make it to there wishes. Giving me a competitive edge over other companies who custom develop each time.

Armand Datema
5 Skins, 4 SkinObject, 38 Containers, 2 Modules and more Euro 50 a year.
Offshore DNN and development
Container Creator
4/19/2004 5:20:50 PM
And finally, on the topic of modules --- free or not....

In other free community sites, things are free, but it's support you pay for.
If you notice people complaining about DNN module quality, they have basically complained about inadequate support.
If a module is good, and you choose not to release the source, then by all means sell the service of providing a supported module.
I think DNN community has yet to evolve around this concept - DNN support (that is consulting) as a value added commodity - but it can not be far away (we are doing it a lot on the forums).
As for the argument "I don't like to pay for what I can make" - well, I'll bet you don't go into restaurants and expect free food - why not? Well - you pay, among other things, for something a little unique, and mostly for the service.
And it is not different anywhere. You can make your own motorcycle & ride it to work; or you can buy one with a warranty.
The real point is one of value - is what people are currently charging (or trying to charge for) of value / effort balance that it is (a) worth the investment of time for the developer, and (b) worth the service (and is of reliable performance) for the consumer.
The rest is just philosophy and estasblishing local values (like "should health care be free for everyone in our country", or "should all workers be paid the same wage?" or "should private veihicles be heavily taxed, or should roads be publicly funded?" and so forth....)
The point is a market one: what I find "well functioning" or "of value to me" or "good service" another person may not (and vice-versa). So it boils down to are there enough of "me" to support "you" investing time to build something.
4/19/2004 10:31:33 PM

I'll throw in on this one.
I've been in business for quite a few years now (since 1995) starting as a hardware/software reseller, then moving into software development & consulting. What I have discovered over the years is that as the customer changes so must you. While that sounds quite basic, you'd be surprised at the number of companies that resist change and are soon out of business. (Seen any good buggy whip companies lately? )
With regard to DotNetNuke and revenue for any company, I agree with others here that it is not so much the product as the value added services that you bring to the client. Additionally, if DotNetNuke is your only area that you focus on, you have a rather small niche market. The idea is to build your products and services into a collection that your client wants/needs/can afford. Not just products that depend on DotNetNuke, but also those that compliment the framework.
I know over the past year or so, I have had to retool the offerings that my company offers in order to keep existing clients and attract new ones. I found DotNetNuke while working on a solution for a client and promptly got involved with the community to hopefully assist in the continued improvement and longivity of the project. At this point, it will play heavily in the offerings that I make available to clients, but will not be the sole product/service that I base the revenue projections on.
All that being said, Great thread, Great Project, and Great Community.

Dan Tindall
4/19/2004 11:28:46 PM
Ok, I thought I would add my comments here because although I've been a member for quite some time, have been unable to participate as much because I just didn't have the experience in programming and my focus was on making the technology look better.

I have spent literally every waking hour for the last 2 months on the new dnn platform, learning how it works, extending / working the existing modules and spending/wasting money on modules from snow that require a damn license to understand. Prior to that is was DNN1.09, then 1.10 and then the snapsis skins engine, so nearly a full year working with the DNN technology.
It's still very new grounds here and like Armand, am focussing on the *skinning* of websites and hoping to make a place for myself in the community as being one who gives and receives work in a area that I think is important.
DNN2 has had the attention mainly for the ability to make the sites look so universally acceptable, and apart from a fully flash site, there's not much that I can't make work with DNN2 and charge a fair price to do this.
I, like most other people here (I'm stepping out on limb, so please don't flame me) would be happy to pay a fair price for a fair product and don't expect absolutely every single module for free.
However, what I have noticed is that the more successful people would be the ones who provide a community environment - core team members, those who supply some free things -modules, skins, containers, tips, training etc and who are committed to seeing this project grow. You really need to give to get back and I have seen elements of my free work wrapped up in things for sale, so there are quite a few people who have had benefits from me providing the skins for nix, but, along with that, I have learnt, earnt the respect of the community and get some exciting work that further allows me to extend the skinning process. It helps the wheels go round.
DNN I have found is a big job.. The core team has without doubt provided an open ended environment for all who use the product to profit from it in some way, if you are prepared to put in the hard yards... of which I'm putting in miles and miles of learning.
I can work with businesses and use DNN as a tool and from a non developer, it's second to none with the community support helping to solve problems which I could probably not solve myself.
But Yarko is also right - I get frustrated about the modules I have bought that don't work, have bugs, don't do what they say they will, but feel DNN2 is sorting out the men the from the boys in reference to provding good modules that work and have some form of response mechanism if you have a query. I am happy to pay for modules and would have spent close to $500US on them so far.. and not using all of them by any means yet. But I don't expect all the modules for free and can't see how the public could honestly expect absolutley everything to cost nix... everything has a price..

Nina Meiers

Free Skins & Containers by Nina Meies
4/19/2004 11:51:35 PM
Note: I posted this in another thread and then found this thread and thought that it really belongs here.

Advertising is a great source of revenue for many "free" resources and organizations. And so, I would suggest thinking about the options you have to harness the revenue generating potential of advertising for the benefit of DotNetNuke.
For example, you could continue to build into a useful resource site for DotNetNukers and then charge for web based advertising or use pay per click advertising - you can even use agencies to find advertisers.
However, I suspect there is far more value in the traffic generated by this DotNetNuke forum than the DotNetNuke site and serious thought may need to be given to moving the forum to the DotNetNuke website to claim that value and turn it into funds.
So, there is some food for thought.
p.s. Personally, I simply use DotNetNuke for my employer, so my pay packet is my DotNetNuke pay too. My employer is happy for any module development that I do in work time to be free open source.
4/20/2004 12:03:10 AM
That's a shame, Nina - $500 on modules --- and think - my Macromedia MX package upgrade is that much, and it DOES A LOT...

Some cultural shift might be in order - I've noticed (sometimes in utter shock) people writing in the forums "awesome module, doode, thanks a lot" for things that either didn't work at all, or would completely scrog my database. Sometimes I wonder: "Are people just "me too" ego-posting, without ever TRYING the modules??? There ought to be a rule.... grrr....". Oh, well... I choose when to raise my voice, and it frequently gets "push back."
There's something fundamentally wrong about false praise in the hope of encouraging others' participation. Attacks are not userful, but facts and data are necessary. Being an engineer, I understand - if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Why things don't work may not always be obvious, but "wishing" never fixed anything, and ignoring is NOT "being a nice guy," and does little more than encourage a "safe" environment into which people are encouraged, in effect, to release "modules" without fear of being flamed, and have a "cheap" resume filler... while the community tolerates these pockets of little / no added value, and non-technical people (who can't discern on their own when they have technical bung in their hands) try these things and complain they either don't understand, DNN is "too hard" or "no good."..... ick!
On the other hand, I've seen people on these forums (nothing new for any public forum) have real difficulty with the basics of how to deliver (and accept) unpleasant information in a useful, constructive way.
So, right now the sort of semi-silent rule is listen carefully to what people repeatedly praise as "you can't go wrong with this", and note what is left off that list; all else, be ready to sort thru to see which is worth possibly building a support business around - which is hard enough work that it's likely (and usualyy) information held "close to the chest," guarded.
4/20/2004 2:31:36 AM
It is interesting to see the discussion in this area revisited.

I like many others have bought, modified and otherwise used a number of free and purchased modules. The purchased modules have normally been good and I had good luck with support of these modules. I am working with DNN parttime for our computer user's group that is also looking to provide hosting services to other small non-profit groups. Once we start getting a track record, we can see about starting to charge for the hosting services.
As a result, I am buying modules out of my pocket from the goodness of my heart to use for our hosting service. (We plan to go live with a site or two in a month or so.) Some of the more expensive modules would be very nice to have but are a little more than I want to pay out of my pocket until we have things running.
Question for the developers of some of the paid modules: How willing are you to negotiate on price and payment terms? Would you do something on consignment so to speak? i.e. Let us have the module for free at the moment but then let us pay you as soon as some paying customers wanted to make use of it.
My biggest interest in DNN has been as a learning tool and something for me to play around with my own web pages on but I see the potential for our user group who has a great server and static internet connection to generate some revenue to sustain our organization.
BTW: Any one who might be interested in using us as a hosting service is free to contact me about it.

San Antonio DNN User Group Meeting - 4th Thursday of each month at Alamo PC Learning Center.
4/20/2004 5:06:45 PM
I have a module you can pay for on snowcovered, I also have free modules i have posted on my own site for public consumption.

If someone came asking for my module for a non-profit, I would probably let them have it. Doing custom work to the specifications of the non-profit, it would probably be another matter, just depends on my time situation.
People showing inititive to communicate with me goes a long way. I have stuff on snowcovered mostly because I inherited it, but to tell the truth I like the potential for income. Sure, anyone could build the code themselves, probably do it quite a bit better, or more specific. But the modules that I will be selling on snow covered are ones that I will probably put well over 40 hours of work into, time that I could be putting into side work at around $50/ hour. So if i charge $50 for all of that source code, it seems like a bargain to me.
That being said, I would like to contribute back to the DNN core with some of the profit I make on such ventures. I looked for a paypal button on the DNN site this morning but failed to find it.

Jeff Martin
4/20/2004 7:57:22 PM
Shoot me ... but here's what I think

a) DNN is great. I've adopted it enthusiastically, both at work and for private ventures.
b) In the longer run, DNN is going to put a lot of people out of jobs, not into ... why? In the past, every company that needed a basic intranet, or real estate, or booking module had to pay a lot of people a lot of money. I worked on solutions like that - everywhere you looked, there was a need to be satisfied. Now, anyone who can copy/paste and unzip can host a really good site with a lot of bells and whistles. This doesn't affect the high-end developers who have the skills and potential to move on to bigger and better things - but for a lot, really, hundreds or thousands of small-scale developers in each country, each city, who used to make a living designing small-scale solutions for small companies - what now? It's only a matter of time before every major business niche will be able to buy a fairly good solution for something around $100. That's what I can pay now for a pretty good real estate application that would take several months probably to start from scratch. Great for the world. Not so great for all those little developers.
The market for good solutions does get saturated quickly ... Five years ago, my IT department could go to almost any one, up or down in our supply stream, and identify a number of opportunities for software we could develop for them. Today, they have most of those things! It's becoming really tough to suggest solutions for them!
c) How do I cope with this? Get in early, ride the wave now. Write good code. And have a decent plan B for when all the low hanging fruits have been picked and you need a much more focused business plan if you still want to make a living selling software.
6/26/2004 3:38:34 AM
You are putting forward valid points, however DNN is not the first Open Source initiative, the question for me is that this is trend is probably the natural evolution of this business, my personal USPs as a designer/developer was diminishing before DNN and with the .COM demise I could no longer ask for $100 an hour. The thing is this is not the first industry that I have been involved with that is going through this process. In 1990 I was involved with Cad and some fancy 3 D Visualization stuff and as soon as PC speed reached certain levels that work stopped because people could do it on low cost pcs and low cost software, later we saw the same thing with Design to Print/DTP world and low cost Colour printers. I remember we bought the first CannonCLC colour Printer and a firry rip that cost us £60k approx $100k same thing now is perhaps $1k. 

I think to change the momentum and the direction of this river is just not possible, just ensure you have a solid boat and good guys in charge and go with the flow. DNN is most certainly that boat.

KnapHill, Surrey UK

Skinning & Building DotNetNuke Applications

6/26/2004 9:28:55 AM
Salar is right - it's just a sign of the times... But I don't know what's worse .. being so early in the process that no one knows what you are talking about..... because I had email when no one knew what it was.. I spent so much time trying to explain it.. 

My qualifications are in the Design industry - and before the manufacture and I spent alot of my time trying to think of new ways to market our products (ok, it was old recycled furniture - not fine reproduction but out of old floorboards..stuff like that) And the education process was very hard.. I've seen good companies with excellent products disappear, but they lay the path for others who come in later with either more funds or more ideas.. .. I think that's called progress..
I found it hard to hang in at times with all these ideas I had when everything was so new and the education process was so slow but with IBuySpy & DotNetNuke.. like XML, like CSS, when I caught a glimpse of it when it was just twinkle.. I thought.. man this is great..And now, my quest for looking for something new is forever going to be satisfied with DNN.. it's always changing.. so I have something new to look forward ALL THE TIME. :-D
But I've had to really subsidise my lifestyle doing DotNetNuke.. but I feel like a moth drawn to the's so damn interesting and exciting.. I can tell you if I were a company with huge investment in CMS products.. wow oh wow, I'd be looking for other revenue streams.. They must also be worried about this...and what about SharePoint.. is DNN really ever going to be a preferred choice? It's managed in way I've never seen open source managed.
I know someone who is specifically targeting customers of a CMS product here in AU where their base cost is 11K for a website and 17K for ecommerce.. their system is built like many others - on products put together from different applications into one interface and you couldn't even compare it to DNN. DNN isn't everything, but if you learn the product, learn how to provide solutions customers want, you can generate some income from open source.
There are IT developers, web designers and graphic designers who may need to shift their focus and those who don't will be like everyone else who doesn't go with the flow..
How's still an unknown quantity but that's the chance we take in our business decisions.
How long before DNN is a household word?

Nina Meiers

Free Skins & Containers by Nina Meies
6/26/2004 9:50:51 AM

Great thread let me contribute.
Apart from being a professional developer I also freelance a lot mainly using DNN as my main tool. I never maike it a secret to my clients tat we use DNN as the main underlying part and that is NOT what they for.
We just use the framework to avoid letting them pay fro complete system setup and programming. Most what clients need in a portal in security and then whta needs to be added are special functionalities.
We are focussing on creating whole packages and doing custom work based on the specs we receive. So at the moment there is a good deal of interest in elearsning so we are happily programmaing away on various standard elearn modules as well as having to realy big custom elearn portals and other big projects.
When a cleint comes to me with this is our vb / delphi / whatever app and we want all webbased we usually come to the concusion that to handle the data security etc, dnn is the way to go and from that on we start on the rest and how best to integrate there current fucntioanlity webbaed, be it webservices more custom modules or other solutions that talk to dnn as well.
I also have soem modules and other stuff that i sell on snowcovered and soon on my own sites. Some of them i have provided for a free other for money. My new project I think is the coolest part I have ever done and alsho im still deciding I think I will release this lihtweight menu system for free to the community.
If you base your future just on selling your own modules kins skinobjects I would think it over, specially standard modules objects and skins can be recreated by others to get ideas. If you are however focussing on custom work for clietns based on DNN then keep up the work.
Its becoming more and more a household name and I have even asking customers saying I wanna make this but use this, and one clietns even came to me for some work and by the end he was giving me some comments and instructions on work, that looked real familiar to me. It appeared he has been asking questions in a forum thread here I have been participating in as well. Its a small world but DNN is ever expanding.
As in all enterprises the more succesful a product gets the more other people jump on the bandwagon. Ofcourse this also draws in peopel that wanan make a quick buck, especially in the skinning world, I see a lot of skins on snowcovered that had there original roots in other template stes or even websites that are almost ripped off.
Or i see free work containers etc from Nina in other peoples skins that they ssell on snowcovered. And altho there has been made mention of this its still on snowcovered. For modules snowcovered seems to be a good place to go, altho maybe a store o dotnetnuke would be even better that way all is in one and I wouldnt mind paying core a percentage for good work instead of the 25% to snowcovered.
So i dont wanna keep this too long, I have seen skin packs and skinobjects that i could have made in a few hours on the best sellers list for pretty high prices but then again some of the gatest modules are still free ot there.
But I think Nina has wound a good way to go I dont think snowcovered is the way to go for skins but here new skin site where other people can sell skins as well is a good thing. It just doesnt have the attention it deserves on Snowcovered.
Ok rambling is over
Armand Datema
5 Skins, 4 SkinObject, 38 Containers, 2 Modules and more Euro 50 a year.
Offshore DNN and development
Container Creator
6/26/2004 10:56:08 AM
Just my 5c

ASP.Net + SQL server + Cheap hosting + Dotnetnuke + Community spirit = no more mr/mrs ripped off client.
Yes, you can have all this for US$4.95 a month.
The problem I see is winning back the trust of people who now know they paid too much. Was dotnetnuke too late?
Sure theres potential to make money and everyone wants to be a millionaire and over night if possible, but It must be more rewarding surely getting there knowing your customers chose you for providing good old value for money and customer service.

6/26/2004 11:03:56 AM
And don't forget about us in small business that are looking for ways to match it with the big boys, or just as importantly, have access to the same kind of resources as them.

DNN is a boon for the smaller operator with only one or two IT staff who, not only have to look after the day to day stuff, but provide an effective information portal for head office, branch offices and travellers.
Thanks all involved (specialy TamTTT for the Auth stuff).
6/26/2004 11:32:31 AM
There will always be a market for websites.

Mom and Pop shops don't know DNN from TNT, not even a clue as to how to deploy and maintain it, let alone what it is. Nor do they want to.

6/26/2004 1:06:19 PM
Hey Ed.. Of course there will be a market for Ma & Pa Shops.. but you know something.. in the last 6 months, every person who has spoken to me about designing their sites has said this... 

... I want to be able to change the pictures myself.. or.. I want to be able to change the words on the webpage.. .. or.. I want to look at statistics - you know.. how many people have looked at my site... or.... or.. or...
So it's not a matter of whether they are just small businesses, other CMS products are telling them - you can modify the site yourself.. So they are somewhat pre educated with this notion they should be able to modify the content themselves....Yep.. if did just straight web design there would be no way I could have lasted 8 years self employed.
... the hard part about it, as someone said to me... Nina.. hand them over the keys.. they are 18 and can drive it themselves....if it looks like a shocker.. you can't do a thing about it.. *sniff*.. I lose a bit of control.. I detect a free Nina Skin on your site? I'm currently working on upgrading all the free skins I've found around, to 2.04 & 2.1.2 so people stop complaining that a skin that is 6 months old has problems.. It's good practice for my young trainee Kirsty - who's official employment status is .. DotNetNuke Web Trainee.. she's chuffed...
Nina Meiers

Free Skins & Containers by Nina Meies
6/26/2004 1:18:03 PM

"DotNetNuke Web Trainee.. she's chuffed... ". Not being from AU, I am not sure if being chuffed is a good thing or bad thing but it sounds painful ;) .
I definitely know how you feel though. I have code that I wrote to fix issues in 1.0.4. I wrote articles on these hacks/fixes and I still have users sending me email asking how to make this work on 2.1.2. Even for things that are clearly already incorporated into the core.
Joe Brinkman
6/26/2004 1:24:31 PM

Yes, that's your skin on my main site. ;-)
I've been so busy at work and again on my side job (DNN sites) that I haven't had a chance to do anything with it. Oh well, someday. ;-)
I've had a completely different experience myself in that when potential clients come to me (mostly Ma & Pop shops, small businesses, or sports related orgs), I give them my ball pak figure for development (which is on par with "static" sites), then I tell them about the ability to change the site themselves (pics, text, downloads,etc.) and they are completely blown away.
They are even more blown away when I tell them I can have it set up in a day or so.
DNN isn't putting me out of business, it's creating business for me.

6/26/2004 1:35:17 PM
hehe.. Joe.. *chuffed* .... is's that..Wow, I did it feeling and DNN has brought about a sense of accomplishment and achievements for my clients and my small team of staff... 

and dare I say it, even my son.. (linux through and through - we're running linux on a couple of systems) has been telling a few of his friends about DNN - OK I have had to throw MONO into the conversation so they can see that MS does have some good features..
Along with Terry's MySQL & Oracle support.. well it's just moving ahead.
I think Joe, there has perhaps people don't know where to look. I can't tell you how many email I get from people who don't unzip a folder. I thought it was a good start for Kirsty, she's gone through the tutorial - her first little site is quite cool - about cars - we're still working on the placement of panes, so having existing files and making them into skins that work is good practice, although after the competition, I wonder how many people will want to download any of the other skins that are around.
Even if I didn't do skinning, the whole concept of being able to sell affordable website solutions is great. I feel that good online management is not a privelige for business these days, but a necessity.
I'm chuffed :-)

Nina Meiers

Free Skins & Containers by Nina Meies
6/26/2004 1:44:36 PM
>How do I cope with this? Get in early, ride the wave now. Write good code. And have a >decent plan B for when all the low hanging fruits have been picked and you need a much >more focused business plan if you still want to make a living selling software. 

some good points in tinky lou's post. However one must consider just what market one is in. With packages such as DNN the market is not the writing of web sites. Clients want solutions and solutions to the client cover content,marketing and updating. DNN moves us out of the programmer level into sales and marketing consultants. Generally a client does not care about the code behind the site - he cares about selling the business product. Yep we still might have to write code for unquie module requirements of the client but where the money is is in the advice on content,color, the presentation of the client information to the prospective buyer - now to market the site and how to keep surfers coming back.
We are no longer web designers - we are internet marketing consultants. With DNN and the like we no longer have a long lead time to have a live site up and running. and most important we don't just design a site hand it over to the client and go find another client - we tend to keep those clients and get repeat income from support and keeping the site upto date with the changing web technology.
The industry is a changing situation and the consultant has to move with the times to keep his income level up. DNN decreases the programming costs - it is true that a client can download the DNN package of www.dotnetnuke and this will give him a fairly standard site but it will not give him the solution he needs DNN is only a small part of the equation.
6/26/2004 3:14:22 PM
>The problem I see is winning back the trust of people who now know they paid too much. >Was dotnetnuke too late?

I had a person cal me after seeing one of my web adds - he had been quoted $7000 for a web site for his business. I quoted him $300 made up of nill for the DNN engine and $300 for the design and code of some unquie modules and database tables
at $300 I made a good profit and expected repeat work and referrals to new work. How anyone could have quoted $7K was beyond me. it was basically a rip off.
In some cases undercutting the rip off merchants can create problems - the quote is too low if the big company quoted 7K how come you can do it for 300. These problems can only be over come by building up trust in the consultant and trust in DNN. Before DNN I used Drumbeat to build fast low cost sites and again the same problems existed however in those days Drumbeat was a macromedia product and you sold your work by linking to a well know name Nowadays Drumbeat is close to an open source community setup and it thus suffers from some of the problems inherent in open source systems.
If its so good why don't they sell it - bit hard to explain but then you only have to do a random search on the web to come up with hundreds of sites using some form of DNN to show how effective and unquie a dnn site can be.
I think that DNN is the stopping point for portal development - from IBUYSPY thro shareportal etc to DNN due to the technology the core team is using there will not be a spin off of DNN - with the module setup DNN is like a lego set and thus there is no need to have a spin off. So I see DNN as becoming the standard - bit like a musical instrament - from a fixed board one can create hundreds of totally different looking sites(songs) and this is a major selling point.
6/26/2004 3:34:18 PM
I am not sure if it is fair to call a company that charges £7000 a rip off merchant. I worked for one and I know the owner very well. I know very well that after his expenses/tax which is 3 sale guys, 5 developers (IBM/Lotus Notes shop), Office, equipments, server costs etc, he has not made a penny in the last 2 years and he is thinking of closing the business which would mean 11 people out of work. It is only possible for people like us working from home to charge $300 not for him and to feed his employees (BTW none of them earn much these days) yet they need to charge $10k a site to stay afloat. Remember they are the ones that pay the full taxes and fuel the tax revenue to pay for our hospitals and schools.

You see the dilemma here Does DNN mean the end of SME like his business or will it change the map and in the future, there will be DNN Boutiques that would work from home etc... I don’t know the answer and only time will tell.
Please remember that in certain parts of the world $300 is an extortionate price. I have developers in India that charge $20 a day and I dare to say they are not bad. They have not quite discovered DNN yet but when they do please note that our days would be numbered as they could do the same for $30. If that happens that, would be the cutoff point for me as I would leave this business and do something else for my day job. A good London taxi driver earns £350/$700 a day. a good kitchen fitter earns £500/$1000 a day. And I could probably learn to do that.


KnapHill, Surrey UK

Skinning & Building DotNetNuke Applications

6/26/2004 5:23:01 PM
Salaro, I think you hit the nail on the head.

I would also like to add that whenever I use to deal with clients on a smaller scale as an independant person, nothing was worth $300. Just about everyone that is willing to pay you only $300 wants 4 weeks of work. I cannot do 4 weeks or work for $300, heck not even one, otherwise it would be the poor house for me. What I am trying to say is that if someone is willing and able to pay $7k, they are prepared to pay you for all your work and probably will find great value in what you do. In the $300 ballpark, these people have very little money to work with and are going to push you far beyond what you are probably prepared to offer them.
Maybe this project was not woth $7k, but it sounds like it was worth more than $300.
Chris Paterra

6/26/2004 5:38:17 PM
Sure, sometimes you get what you pay for. One of the more expensive website developers in my area is not having any trouble getting contracts (to the best of my knowledge). They do a good job, are professional and privide a good service.

There has been some broader discussion about similar open source projects.
There is a stigma attached that if its free..its not as good as a bought some cases perhaps this is true..but not dotnetnuke (IMO).
MO is, alot of service providers do and perhaps by necessity (income) offer more than just a website. In small business, you are perhaps likely to buy a package IT deal and a website is just one of the deliverables. I know alot of telecom businesses are moving towards this and particularly small businesses (because they can get big). The customer may pay a little more in outlay but there basically getting phone, internet, intranet and in most cases the purchased support of a software company.
When I say ripped off I guess Im identifying the website setup costs involved and I think many are trying to make their profit in this area as opposed to minimal set up cost and perhaps offer some other service to generate profit (or just some service to begin with in some cases)
When the Internet came to be (let there be light!) and having a website was something of 'new thing the service provider could potentially charge the earth because it was a very specialist arena.
Times have changed. (and this is Internet time so fossil evidence is impossible)
New clients are going to be more computer literate and Internet savy, hell some are probably still in high school and know more now, than me (we) then.
Now im not a member of corporate so I dont have the worry of redundancies if I should charge less for web development. For me, with an engine like DNN, I can get back to what it is about the Internet I enjoy, perhaps make some money, perhaps give up my day job.
Dreams, just like DNN are free

6/26/2004 8:53:40 PM
John - Oziweb - there is no way I would do a site for 300.  I couldn't survive on it..and the value of DNN is far more than that.. 

I can't even do some skins for that money.. some skins take me the good part of 3 -5 days and thought I was relatively experienced..
I can also choose to tell people it's open source or not.. it depends who they are.
I have no problems talking DNN to most people, but on their level as the amount of time spent with developing the company profile and requirements, training, etc. varies.
But one of my client - I couldn't possibly say it was $300, not after I've earnt thousands of dollars from him doing things over the years in a static fashion. (ok a few include files to speed things up) He would not even think it could be a valid solution for his company.
What I do impress on people is the power it gives them. I've dealt with a couple of third they're selling my services to their clients and have had to put the price up because I am competing with others who are charging 10K for their work, and you have such a vast difference in price, people are suspicious.
I have found in most places, it's not about the money - it's about the relationship you have with your clients. I have my first client I did a job for.. and I tell need a new site, you need to change, I need to experiment.. and he's just got to the stage now of saying.. ok just do it.. sure I give him an estimate, but it's fair.. and no client I work with has ever thought they do not get value for money.
It also depends on your location for pricing, I mean some country folk don't have the funds that the city folk do, that's also a consideration.
However, I'm not exactly a millionaire .. but DotNetNuke has emphatically changed my perception on how I, as a small, boutique style business, does things. And now, I have access to wonderful developers, who I can see on the forums, are as passionate about their work as I am, and I can build up relationships with those who also enjoy working with me using DNN. I've got some great ideas and now a couple of terrific developers that also have vison and I know, there may be products that come and go, but I know where I'm headed with DotNetNuke. It excites me because it has a road map, organisation, integrity of developers.. and if it stopped today - it's still good enough for many many businesses to use.

Anyway, my two cents worth.. I've got to go make some clients happy.. (and it's Sunday - is that committment or does it mean I need committing?) :-)
Nina Meiers

Free Skins & Containers by Nina Meies
6/26/2004 11:44:35 PM
basically there is no way I would code a site for 300 however I would put a dnn site with some mods up for 300 and expect to make money on that site over time as a repeat customer. In the long run I would expect to get probably more profit off that site then if I charged 7k and never saw the customer again. 

times have changed - clients are not looking for a one off. they want someone who appears to have an interest in their business and interest in there income bearing potential. In most cases the web site is no longer a 'web site' it is a branch office with this in mind the consultant aims to have a long association with the client.
so I can make a high profit once from a client and go looking for another or I can made a good profit over time (and using DNN a lower input cost).
This also goes with the commercial modules that one sees on snow - some are quite low price and some are quite high price - dotnetnuke now has over 70K members lets say only half of them buy your module at say $9 but only say a small number can afford the higher outlay of the dearer modules - who makes the most profit? and who has the return customers? true it may cost more then $9 to code the module but the idea is to sell as many modules as possible thus getting a good return over time. The way programmers and consultants think has to change because the customer base is changing also..
I have been in the business as long as we have had micro and mini computers even before CPM and over that time thinks have changed - in those days a small business paid $20K and upwards to get a computer that did limited things custom software packages where items that you went to see your bank manager about to get a loan to purchase. Those times have changed now every kid is a programmer and web designer and valid competitors,
6/27/2004 2:03:48 AM
So it seems that CMS is now solved, just as many other issues in web development. As any good OOP practitioner would attest, any development should be modular and reuseable. In my opinion the beauty of DNN and its greatest advantage is that it follows best practices. It is a winner because of that reason, plus it rides on the back of the support and enthusiasm of the community. Other OS solutions have advantages, but after looking at the alternatives the choice of DNN for me was clear.

As to the cost and way to get paid. Well, if you use DNN and spend less time on the work for clients who want a simple CMS package than obviously you have two options - expand your market, or if you arei n an area like me with limited market size then you have extra time on your hands. I'm looking at expanding to another niche such as online entertainment (game development coupled with database driven site for scores or something similar). Anyone else cares to share their niche idea ?
6/27/2004 1:36:15 PM

I agree that times have changed but some basic economic principles have not and will never change. When building a module that you will make your money on through volume, you will price it low. When you are doing something that is a one time deal, it is going to cost more money because you have to make it worth your time. Just like in any other business, custom work is more expensive. Now, I would never charge someone $300 just to install DNN on a remote server as this is about 5 minutes of my time tops.
You mention that kids today are programmers and designers and this is very true. There is, however, one thing those kids are not ready to do and that is manage a business and customers. I am not saying you need college to do this, you just need experience in the world. This experience may not even come from anything but working your first job perhaps in fast food or whatever. When you get more into details about the programming/designing industry, you also need project management skills which are either taught in school or something people learn over time.
You mentioned that making less money on a job from a client that you hope is going to be a repeat customer will provide you with greater returns in the long run. This is generally true but you still have to set the stage with this client from the beginning. You also have to make sure you are getting value out of this one job because there is no guarantee this person will come back to you with more work. Just like in a retail situation, you never give discounts until there has been a multiple number of products ordered. I cannot go to Dell and say, "Give me $300 off this one pc I am buying and when I want to buy another one I will buy it from you again". Now if I went to Dell and bought 10, they would give me a discount and probably give me one the next time i ordered through them even if it were a single machine.
One last thing I want to ramble on about is the overseas outsourcing. While this may be a very cheap option it is not without some pains. There is the language barrier to start with and also the distance factor. The distance factor comes into play when dealing with project management.
I have read all of the posts in this thread over time, one thing I don't remember being mentioned is the value of pride. Pride is a free and pretty much priceless piece of this puzzle. When someone is getting paid a fair value, they are more likely going to take pride in their work and go the extra mile to make that project the best it could be. This pride can be the difference between a good looking site and a great looking site. Without a fair price being paid for a project, the pride is gone and the just get it done attitude takes over.
/End ramble
Chris Paterra

6/27/2004 4:48:10 PM
One last thing I want to ramble on about is the overseas outsourcing. While this may be a very cheap option it is not without some pains. There is the language barrier to start with and also the distance factor. The distance factor comes into play when dealing with project management. 

This may be true currently, but I personally believe a lot of the companies will be changing this very soon and start bringing these jobs back to the states. There's a lot that go in the price of a service than just what they pay the employee. Cheaper labor does not neccesarily mean better. I was in a meeting the other day with a representive from one of the largest PC companies in the world. I will not mention the name, but we got on the conversation of outsourcing and they are pulling away from hiring oversees labor, just because of the language barrier and they were receiving a lot of complaints from customers because of the in-ability to to understand the tech and because the service was not to the level that has made this comapny a world leader in PC's. I can see a lot of companies following suite over the next few years.
As far as the 7K for a site. If you where building a farily decent size site which required a decent amount of graphic work, maybe some flash movies, and all the content all as part of the project, then I don't see 7K necessarily being a bad price, it really all depend on what the company was offering for the money, but it may have been very reasonable depending on the requirements.

6/27/2004 5:13:30 PM
Gee, Bruce, I hope the large company you're speaking of is the one I bought my laptop from. All of their tech support is out of India, and I had 5 phone calls on one problem with no result. So, I posted my problem in the user forum, and had an answer back from another user within 12 hours. (A cable was loose).

The major issue is that I felt tech support wasn't listening/understanding me. Everything they told me to do didn't address my real problem and I knew it at the time...
Matt Fraser
DotNetNuke Core Team
Liquid Platinum Technologies
6/27/2004 8:54:23 PM
May be the same one it the same company of the one I'm typing on right now. The rep was telling me a horror story she had with a tech out of India and she was even an employee so she had a lot more patience than a normal customer would. She's not even really a technical person, but does know  a little and she said could realize what they were telling her was wrong could not even be close to the problem.

From what I understand its being totally phased out of there and brought back to the states. I have another local number for tech support for them just because of the number of machines we have. There's 1400 currently and I have an order in for another 500, so I get a little different support than a single user would.
6/27/2004 9:37:14 PM
The story in UK is opposite to what I am hearing for US.

As these outsourcing operations are going to phase 2 and 3 they are becoming very slick indeed. For example my bank HSBC I dont mind saying their name as they are good. If i phone them naturally I go to somewhere in Madras, there I talk to a real person that speaks relatively good English. but because it is a real person and not a stupid automated system and they usually within 60-90 do the security check and in the next 60 seconds workout what you want and if they can not deal with it they pass it to my local branch in Woking Surrey UK.
The thing is at least they are real people and can sense my anger or agitation if any. The problem with so many other companies that use automated systems locally is that it normally takes a lot longer to get to a person and while you go through the repetitive selection process type your account number here and there and of you are lucky then you end up with a real person that asks the same security questions again. Now I am sure if you are given the choice you would take HSBC example.
I think I know the Computer company you are referring to as they are bad in support what ever method they use. Over here they outsourced to Ireland. And even though it was still Europe it was still a very bad service.
As the broadband becomes more and more available in India they are getting better at it and the language barrier is improving all the time. What would change the pattern is when they become more affluent and in a few years time they start asking for things we take for granted in the west like free schooling, National health, Pension, ... etc... Then they would be asking for $200 a day not $10 - 20 a day, and things would even out.
I think during this transition period this business is in turmoil. I remember when 10 years ago I went for a long holiday to California, the place that most of the world wants to live. In-fact if you take a poll in anywhere in the Eastern block and ask where would they want to live I would guess that over 50% would say they want to live over there. That would make California population around 1b. I think!!
Back to my holiday over there the interesting thing was I met number of people that worked in Restaurants Hotels or as cap drivers taking about their life story and a lot of them seemed to be doing those jobs in the day but they were really an actor or a script writer etc... The thing is there can only be a few Brad Pit or Tom Cruse. The majority in movie business are doing it in their spare time for free because it is something they love to do.
IT is becoming something like that where the rewards can be great. But there can only be a few Bill Gate or Steve Job. For the rest of us Cab Driving in London in the day and DNN at night is looking much more profitable.

KnapHill, Surrey UK

Skinning & Building DotNetNuke Applications

6/28/2004 7:36:54 AM
>As far as the 7K for a site. If you where building a farily decent size site which required a >decent amount of graphic work, maybe some flash movies, and all the content all as part of >the project, then I don't see 7K necessarily being a bad price, it really all depend on what >the company was offering for the money,

it was on their specs about 7 pages fixed content - plenty of font colors and graphics no upload of site etc. The problem down here is that the internet is a fairly new thing for small business and thus unlike the states - the large companies came across as the experts due to the fact that they are large. As the internet becomes second nature to small business then things will change.
my solution was dnn as the portal engine coding 3 modules to display the product information and a small change to the feedback module - the 3 modules could be used in other customer solutions certainly not worth $7k
We also have the problem of the managers 12 year old kid being able to write some html and thus given the job of wrting the company site which ends up as a static content site with the feel of an xbox game design.
don't get me wrong - there are kids out there that do write excelent html code and some write excelent code but then that is only a small part of keeping a customer happy
I supose that as the internet grows up down here things may change at the moment getting companies to actually use their email accounts as a major way of reaching the customer fast is hard enough.
6/28/2004 1:18:24 PM
>You mentioned that making less money on a job from a client that you hope is going to be >a repeat customer will provide you with greater returns in the long run. 

I go back to the old punch card input systems - over time a programmer would build up a great store of punch cards usually stacked in boxes under the desk. If a client wanted some code we would check thro out boxes to see if we had already written it or if some of the routines we had used can be reused. a bit like your current code snipit systems that are around today on the computers.
Thus a clients job usually could be custom made with a large percentage of the code already punched. Custom code jobs were a little bit of this and a little bit of that - shold we charge full rate for the code on the punch cards in our storage box - no of course not this is what made us competative in those days
now lets look at a DNN module that is a 'custom job' say a module to display a clients product data - this module is reusable might need a little rework on the layout but the hard stuff is already done - again do we charge full rate for this module - well it depends if you want to be competative or not. So not only may the customer be a repeat sale but the code can also be a repeat sale even tho it is customized
How you get the customer back is quite simple you give him value for money and you keep in touch with him via newsletters and the like - if his site was coded in asp then you suggest to him that great security is now available using and not only that but it has much better ways to interact with his future customers. or you may suggest that it now time to move from Msaccess to SQL to give his customers faster response on his site - in other words you show him how he can increase his sales on the internet - its called marketing.
You cannot get a guarantee that he is going to be a repeat customer but you can make him want to come back to you.
>This pride can be the difference between a good looking site and a great looking site. >Without a fair price being paid for a project, the pride is gone and the just get it done >attitude takes over.
actually a good looking site has very little to do with it - a site that meets the customers requirements is the key. I am quite happy with a bad looking site ( as judged by a web designer) if it makes a million for my client. I am not after an award just to satisfy the client and get him to come back again.

6/28/2004 1:38:20 PM
Glad to see this forum finally getting some activity. It's been stagnant for quite some time. 

I have been using DNN since it was IBS, and find it to be a cost saver certainly. How it is to be used in business is a varied as the businesses themselves. However, I believe there is plently of space for everyone to play.
Skinning, is the newest but certainly not the last frontier. Great designers using the 'core' (by the way Kudos to a great CORE team) will profit by using cutting edge looks for real world business solutions (face it design is like fashion: it changes over time and that is sustainable). Developers will profit from developing a nice module and 'developing it out'. That means taking a small module and versioning it up into a full service application.
Integrators will profit from selling combined services at competitive prices. Writers will profit from writing extensions and help files for the ever expanding modules and core features.
And we haven't even begun to harness the power of .net in the reality of Web services. Soon very specialty niches will provide an interlinked framework of services that will change the face of programming and consuming information.
Examples are few right now, however as the community matures so will the service market. xmethods and remote procedures combined with CSS skins will mean the entire sections of a business can be remotely hosted and completely integrated with the whole. For instance ZIP CODE lookups will be service that no longer requires integrating new data into your SQL db, but rather a webmetods call (or series of them based on performance and uptime).
Then introduce things like remote charts on linear regression analysis for bio tech, Sound Dynamic functions for acoustical analysis written in MathCAD for architects and availble via SOAP, and you will begin to understand the new age of data consumption. Each of these micro services will be 'services' for a small monthly or 'call' based fee. Imagine running a ZIP CODE lookup function at $.001 per method call. Worldwide market share of 5% would be a substantial business for a small SOHO company.
Yeah but who's doing stuff like this?
It's out there and available in all business segments by creative entrepreurs.
Examples? Try this marketing example (audio testimonials via phone for technophobics)
My customers and clients LOVE InstantAudio techonlogy. It's personal and real. I would recommend it to the development community.
I look forward to the future, and think the CORE team has done a great job creating a clear roadmap. The development community has started to come up with brillant uses of using 'standardized best practices', but we are just getting warmed up.
Gone are the days of vertical integration of VAX legacy systems and closed proprietary code. Yes that means people will be put of out business but hey, the milkmen found new work eventually!
Long live the entreprenuers and enjoy the journey!
6/28/2004 6:07:27 PM
talking about the future of the internet and things to come - would'n it be nice if we could address the internat as one large database of business and government information - just add an sql statement  that would search the database as a large binary file. The sql returning just the information you were looking for  - ah we can dream

6/29/2004 11:41:46 AM
If you are looking for ideas then do have a look at this Keynote.
Other than the cool gadgets that Steve Job is bringing out, I particularly like the RSS and the New Search that is going into Tiger and Safari.
Just more food for thought.

KnapHill, Surrey UK

Skinning & Building DotNetNuke Applications

6/29/2004 1:35:13 PM
hehe..isnt' that the cia? or .. in AU.. Medicare? hehe.. don't they call that.. BigBrother?

Nina Meiers

Free Skins & Containers by Nina Meies
6/29/2004 2:07:24 PM
I'm a day late and a few marbles short as usual, but I thought I'd chime in.  I think the starting point is to understand the business models.  I didn't read all of the posts, but it looked like the ones I read focused on mostly on one.  I'll try to summarize a few of the models I see, but since I'm not a business major...

1. Low cost / high volume - Sell something with broad appeal to a bunch of people for a reasonable price.
2. High cost / low volume - Sell something with limited appeal for a higher price. e.g. a verticle solution which solves a particular business problem or a high-value middleware product sold to deep pocket corporations. 'course we'd all love a high cost / high volume product, but you'd likely find Microsoft, Oracle and others competing with you pretty quickly.
3. Services - Provide assistance (consulting, development, project management) in customizing a solution. I think a lot of the replys have focused on this.
4. Support - technical support, bug fixes, etc.
Based on the number of folks who said they'd be willing to pay something, I think you could easily do model 1. If you need $1M that 100Kx$10 licenses, 10Kx$100 licenses (per year) - is that achievable? Maybe a tiered approach with low, medium and higher costs with corresponding value and capabilities.
Model 2 is an option - it might be easier to sell 1000x$1000, 100x$10K or 10x$100K licenses - although I'd sure hate to see you go this route since my pocket book can't currently support it. To be honest though, I think you'd also be looking at an entirely different cost structure since companies who pay $1K-$100K for software expect a lot more that just a download over the internet.
Combinations are also possible - e.g. combine model 1 and 4 - isn't this really what Redhat does?
Outside of focusing only on model 1, I suspect the cost structure (# of people and skills) would have to change at least a little - although Model 1 & 4 could probably be done without too much change.
Whatever you choose, I think life will be easier the more customers you have, which means getting the word out, growing the base, a strong vibrant community, possibly a book or two. Some of it's timing too - spending isn't what it was during the .com era.
One thing's certain, if you are going to start charging, it would help to start setting expectation for what you have in mind as early as possible.
7/9/2004 6:40:44 PM
Here is a pricing model I am using. It's just intended to show a data point for reference. 

The assumption is that I am running a custom skinned, turn-key solution, with hosting, email and MSSQL server as a monthly hosted solution to a set of clients that in-turn have a set of members (that pay a good size monthly fee).
They don't want to do ANYTHING regards to web site hosting/maintenance and need a full blown customized solution (every module has it's own CSS, custom graphics and unique code base for modification).
Sorry if the chart renders funky its an HTML chart.

0-99 Members 100-499 Members 500+ Members
$ per mo. $ per mo. $ per mo.

10 Gb. Data transfer $12.00 $12.00 $12.00
SQL Server Hosting 50Mb. $25.00 $25.00 $25.00
Content Management System $45.00 $90.00 $145.00
20 Mb. Storage space $18.00 $18.00 $18.00
SUB TOTAL $100.00 $145.00 $200.00

Website Plug-In
Announcement Marquee $5.00 $12.00 $22.00
Membership Manager* $45.00 $70.00 $110.00
Coupon Manager* $5.00 $12.00 $22.00
New Member Lisings* $3.00 $9.00 $16.00
Html Editor $12.00 $22.00 $33.00
Bulk Email System* $14.00 $24.00 $38.00
Event Calendar System $5.00 $12.00 $22.00
FAQ Manager $5.00 $12.00 $22.00
Real Estate Listings $60.00 $120.00 $180.00
SUB TOTAL $154.00 $293.00 $465.00

Total $254.00 $438.00 $665.00
Monthly Monthly Monthly
* represents totaly unique in-house modules, not the standard DNN ones.
7/9/2004 8:49:04 PM
I come from the old days of CompuServe and the Borland forums of Turbo Pascal.  I had a small consulting company then.  I traded information for information, knowledge for knowledge, skill for skill and code for code. I never got paid directly for open source work.

What did I get?
Experience, skill, and knowledge that I took to clients and later to employers. That eventually paid off in tripling my income in less than 10 years.
Too often today we are always looking for the "get rich quick" solution in IT when the reality is that only a few will "get rich" while most will get paid well for their services over the long haul.
Today you have at your disposal a ton of free or low cost tools to use to learn, grow and get better at your skill.
Take your skill, move forward and expect the best. Amazingly, most who have a positive attitude about their own skills and abilities will land the best jobs with the best pay.
I am very thankful for ASP.NET and the very fine work being done with DNN. I hope to contibute back as I have attempted in the past with information for information, knowledge for knowledge, skill for skill and code for code.
After nearly twenty years in IT, I am back to having my own small consulting company and having a great time learning new and exciting technology.
Have I been well paid? You bet and will continue to be...

7/9/2004 10:22:16 PM
Whoa, there are some old s*ckers here, as old as me even. ;-)  First of all, after finding this thread while searching for a flash page (which I'd seen but didn't save the url) to help answer the question of one of the threads, I'd like to say that I'll *never* complain about paying to learn DNN again.

Second, is that, trust me, this product is going to be *big*. I've never been wrong about this stuff before...I know this sounds like bragging, and I don't mean it to. It's just a knack I've always had...seeing what is going to be the next 'big thing'. Now making *money* off it is another problem altogether.
But I think what *needs* to be done for the community is to get these forums ONTO the website. That's the first necessary step IMO. If you want to 'show' an integrated *front* to the world, you can't have the dotnetnuke forums here on, and NOT have forums that reside in Once people *see* that DNN, has a community of almost 70,000 registered users, and can handle a forum for it (YAF?, or a paid one or a donated paid one?? that's stable. YAF .99 still has some 'quirks' to it, but is going to be good...), they'll come in droves. Especially after .NET Framework 2.0 comes out and the new SQL Server also. This is going to explode.
And once you have the forums on dotnetnuke, there's no reason why you can't start selling t-shirsts, hats, etc. And as someone who's authored a book on advanced Macromedia Director Programming, I'd think that publishers, once they *see* SEVENTY THOUSAND USERS, and an *integrated* community, will pay you folks to write a book on DNN, which will have a compounding effect on the community itself. People that are members, but aren't experts yet (like me) will toss out still more dollars to buy this book. And *also* people that don't know diddly about DNN, will be browsing the books in a bookstore, and *find* it.
IMO, these are the next steps that DNN is now ready for. I can see how when this thread was started, that it really might not have been feasible for all this stuff to happen. But it *is* now. You need to get these forums on and show an integrated community, and get some of the core members together and write a book or a couple of them on this.
Then the core members who have spent all this time building this beautiful product can start profiting from it.... You also might want to consider talking with the folks at snowcovered about a strategic relationship (perhaps you already have one. I know that one of the guys there is on the core team, right?), and to allow people to purchase DNN modules not available in the core directly from the DNN site. Just my 2 cents...
8/3/2004 4:14:41 AM
I agree with aaava about the books on DNN.  I see the biggest drawback to DNN as its documentation.  That applies to the core as well as all of the independently developed modules.  Books are available on a number of different subjects with some only having a limited market share.  I recently reviewed a book on LAN Parties that has given me some ideas on how a book for DNN might be layed out.  There are three core groups of people that need documentation. 

1. Developers - most of us here
2. Host providers - some of us here
3. End Users - Our clients
The end user piece is the most serious piece lacking documentation for most any of these modules and the core framework. Before DNN can hit the "big time" this must be addressed. I would be willing to pay $40-$50 for a good book (300+ pages) that adequately covered these issues. The book could be divided up into appropriate sections and chapters that clearly indicated the intended target of each chapter. No more than 1/3 of the book should be targeted to developers. Documentation for a number of the more popular modules could be included in the book. Although I don't have the time and resources to write the book, I would be happy to collabrate on it and possibly write a few of the chapters. I think the book would need to be a team effort.
I know and understand why the forums started out on and see how that they have grown. I also know and understand why at some point some of the forums need to at least appear to originate on the website. As an Integrated Community it needs to become more integrated as it is growing.


San Antonio DNN User Group Meeting - 4th Thursday of each month at Alamo PC Learning Center.
8/3/2004 2:42:49 PM
And before anyone goes into the whole "It will be outdated by the time it is printed" song and dance, who says it has to be published by Wrox???

A book of this type could be printed(yes, self publishing) for about $3950 (for a 1000) to $8950 (for 5000).
And then the person printing it will get about a little less than half the cover price (selling through amazon) of let's say $29.99. I would buy that book. I am sure that many people here would. If each core member wrote a short chapter on their area of expertise (some of course would collaborate) then you could probably finish the book in less than a month.
And finally, the printing would take about 3-4 weeks.
And that is just doing this the conventional way.
If you used xLibris or some other print on demand publisher that has a relationship with amazon, your out of pocket expenses fall to $1000 and the turnaround time is like 2 weeks from process initiation to listing on Amazon.
8/3/2004 2:57:39 PM
The book part is the most important thing I’ve seen mentioned on this forum. The one thing that stops people using DNN is the documentation. I’m a user/designer and it’s taken months to really get into DNN because I’ve had to feel my way around the system and hope I’ve got it right. Most of the time I’ve managed to get it right (mostly with help from this and other forums) other times I’ve made a slight mistake and totally blown it. By the time I’d got to the point where I trusted the system and decided to use it I’d got past buying the basic documentation. 

I’ve now got a good intranet working and my bosses are starting to trust my judgement again, but it took time that others haven’t got or aren’t prepared to risk.

Yes, you can make your money by producing a good book. More importantly you will get more clients/users if you have good documentation. At the moment DNN documentation is abysmal and this is putting non-technical people off (I know, I’ve tried to persuade others to use it). It’s a bit like getting Autocad or Photoshop without the manuals, you have to feel your way around and miss out on a lot of the major parts. You always need to buy books to get the most out of an application but the basic manuals are always there at the start.
So, bottom line, get the documentation with the application = more users, more users = more potential customers for books, modules, T-shirts, mugs, film rights and toys (sorry, got carried away).
Finally, great application and I’ll buy the first decent book that appears on the market from any of you guys :0)


There is always someone older than you, trouble is the percentage is getting smaller all the time.
8/3/2004 3:27:58 PM
Sure, I wasn't implying that there wasn't a good reason for the forums to be here.  But I see the now has about 70K registered users.  Granted, not all those users are active, but that's prolly because they didn't want to spend the time to 'get over the hump'.  I think there's a market for your 1 and 3 above for TWO books on DNN.  Basically, if a publisher sells 10K copies of a book in this high end, they're happy.  If they sell something like 3-4K (higher priced books), they break even.  So just by showing a publisher that there are that many people that have downloaded DNN, the core group could make a case for a couple of book projects (Cause you can bet your doody that if any of those 70K were end users, they knew they wouldn't be able to set this thing up themselves, as is.  With a *book* for end users, they'd be able to do this)...
8/3/2004 3:31:40 PM
Alan I think in the coming months you will find some great changes on DotNetNuke as the new core team kicks in and pushes information, structure, resources in a more formal way.

Although there have been 30 or so core members until June, many were inactive, developers, technical writers, quality assurance, bug testers etc.. and the list of core team members has now changed and we have 42 of them, with a combination of experiences including writing, presentations, marketing, graphical added to the core team mix.
It is happening, we are working on as many facets as possible, but again, it's a voluntary position, many with other work related tasks as well that take up our time.
For me, I've had 3 weeks or so again, of discovery, understanding what you can and can't do with css, to push the boundaries further, documenting and versioning skins now as we extend the solpart menu in 2.1.2 and finding that css changes with some modules now, so have to take that into consideration.
I wish I could release some of 9 new skins I've got under development, but have to sort out other skinning related challenges first - which, in some cases has taken more time than expected to resolve.
What we're seeing here is an amazing growth in a fast moving, fast changing, and very broad environment.
I'm very close to the point of finishing some very mentally taxing work and all I want to do is finish my articles I've written, get my blogs and calendar to work (they are driving me mad because I can't code to fix or understand problem)
As I read the forums I see how much news there is to tell people and if I had only a few more hours in my day - I too could add more here, but since I'm working on a few contract projects, with deadlines, I have to do them.
So here you have an insight - we just need a little more time. You've come in to dnn orginally full of abuse & complaints and bagging us all, to now have tremendous praise, enthusiasm and desire for answers, but the bottome line is... Everything takes time, this is unpaid work to develop this and I've yet to have someone who loves dnn so much slap a cheque on my desk and say - Nina you're on a winner here, I'll pay your bills while you write a book on the technical and graphical methods to create a skinned websites that work.

While I love DNN, it's caused me so much stress as I see I can't get my information out to my clients or registered users fast enough... I wish I could, but I'm working nearly 7 days week now... :-)
Cheers From Nina Meiers
Nina Meiers

Free Skins & Containers by Nina Meies
8/3/2004 10:02:20 PM
>I see the biggest drawback to DNN as its documentation.

I must agree here - not so much for the developer but for the end user. I had made a comment on another thread about user doc's and there was one that was working on it some were interested in helping.
DNN is well and truely sold to developers but to sell it to users requires good doc's that dhould be online with the admin and host section. Currently writing user docs for my clients and intend to modulise them as a admin tab.
The current doc's are of no use to end users in fact they are a hinderance with clients. I took a simple approach to user DNN starting with tabs as the upper level breaking tabs into skins, panes and containers then breaking the panes into content containers. No techical info on skins containers etc just the idea of them being the layout tools of the web page.
Next stage is the data contents of containers - the nitty gritty of user content and how to use the common modules in relation to what the user wants to show in the web page.
Next how to limit the access to content via the role system.
at this level the user should understand how to layout the page how to display the graphic, font colors etc and how to get content into the site. Basically this is all a normal user should need to know. 3Rd party modules must start coming with their own user manuals.
Advanced DNN needs to look at the admin versus the host, logging schedules etc. However most of these are not needed by the average user.
8/4/2004 5:40:30 AM
John, I think most of the core agrees that docs have been neglected especially for end users. 

I think you will see the core start bringing these docs out sooner rather than later but it won't happen overnight.
As for the 3rd party modules, I strongly agree they need some docs. Sometimes I try to use a module and I am not exactly sure what all it does.

Chris Paterra

8/5/2004 7:20:18 AM
>John, I think most of the core agrees that docs have been neglected especially for end users. 

I am in no way saying that the core team is slow - I think that the core team has done a fantasic job with the dnn engine. I do think that with the number of consultants out there selling DNN to their clients that there must be quite an array of user doc's written by them for their clients ( the same as I am doing) and I see no reason why this avenue of user information can not be put back to the DNN community for all to use and maybe added to the core download rather then put more pressure on the core team.
The core teams area is more to the technical docs - they understand the inner workings more then anyone else however we as consultants placing DNN into the client market lnow what is needed in user manuals.
Docs are harder to organise in a community input system then code but I am sure that a standard could be worked out to standardise the information across several writers. For instance a standard on terminology needs to be created ie tabs,panes,containers,skins etc need to have a set definition we have a technical definition but not a common user definition.
We also need to create a learning path for the user. This then designs the layout of the manual. Such standards can then be applied across the 3rd party modules with documenation that fits nicely into the user manuals.
I would see the user manual as being under the same licence as the core engine. Those that want to write books etc can still undertake such a task as they may delve deeper into design within the constrants of DNN.
Yep the core team should have some control over the documentation but not necessary to actually write it more a coordination process - maybe if you have a core member with technical writing expertise.
The other area is help files - I would see every aspect of admin a site to have a link to a help file. Some modules do have this already however for example the admin bar on the top of the page should link out to an online help. Each of the admin and host tabs should link out to a help file. Not that I am saying that the core team should write the help files but basically put a hook in the engine and internal modules to access a help file.
Help files are more localised ie I may have a different help file for different clients where as the user manual covers all clients and is basically the same for my clients and joe blow's clients. the user manual is a teching device where as help files are prompting devices.
Just some thoughts
8/5/2004 12:31:55 PM
After re-reading this thread I thought I throw back a question to module developers on the value of the modules. I recently bought a module for one client (no great deal, they are cheap) In my naivity I suggested that modules can be extended, thinking I'll be able to get the developer to enhance the module sold on But that did not work, and I am now kind of stuck with a customer that wants a change/modification in the module in a hurry and I can't seem to find a place where to search for "DNN module developer - will code for money or donation"... So there needs to be a site where module customers and module providers meet - Snowcovered is too much a one-way street.

Of course- if any of you module developers are available let me know: klokany<AT>
8/24/2004 6:52:53 AM

well I have been moving more and more towards standard .net development, custom controls. Its about the same as skinobjects there is a bigger market and people dont ask all the time about source.
Eeverytime I check snowcovered or try out a new module skin or whatever a cleint just bought and wants me to implement ( a few exceptions on the side ) there are small glitches, skins that dont work on all sizes, shifting etc.
It looks like some of the stuff on snow best sellers list is more based on quantity of stuff then quality in there then something else, altho there are plenty of good ones too.
Consultancy might be the best because if I compare my module /skinobject sales with normal development then the normal development is better rewarded in hard cash.
ok back to coding again

Armand Datema
5 Skins, 4 SkinObject, 38 Containers, 2 Modules and more Euro 50 a year.
Offshore DNN and development
Container Creator
8/24/2004 9:42:19 AM
As you said, the goal should be to create a more viable business model.

Some quick thoughts on this ...
Expand to the PA addon modules to support Web parts and WSRP.
Currently the market for DNN modules is too small. But if an ISV can write add-ons that work in both Sharepoint and DNN, that will increase their markets and decrease costs.
Integration with ECommerce stores, Payment Gateways, etc.
There is not much info on how someone can use DNN and make money. And not many examples of companies making money on it to showcase it.
Create a product management and marketing team around DNN to help the community make money.

Warm Regards,


8/24/2004 4:48:52 PM
This is probably the only bad comment on this thread but since someone opened the worm can. (hope nobody flames me and I still believe that DNN is a realy nice piece of software)

And sorry for my not so good English!
Many great ideas in here but nobody talk about the bad side of opensource.
In my opinion there's only two ways to make money and it's to charge for your product or for your time. The first being better since you can sell much more unit of a product than you can sell hours in a day!
By providing software for free we then kill the first way to make money and we bring down the price of other existing products which in turn forces the developpers to charge less for their time! That look like a bad thing in my humble opinion.
You wouldn't beleive how many developpers are getting fired just because we don't need them because the company is switching to free opensource software! I already lost 2 contracts this year for that reason...
I think we are near the day when opensource developpers are going to realize this and we might face the end of free software and then start to make more money out of our time and be able to sell our products.
The opensource business model is just not viable in any other industry. Try to apply this model to a car manufacture.
Let say Ford build a basic car for free hoping that someone will give some time to make it better and then sell it for a low cost. What happen to GM who tries to sell his car for a reasonnable price? And now the worst part. What happen when Ford decides to start charging for the basic (now boosted) car. GM is dead (bankrupted) and Ford can bill whatever he wants for the car...
So if you want my opinion. The only ones that are going to be able to make big money are those that own the code at the beginning and if they want to make that money they'll have to screw us all in the process.
Microsoft is currently under a law suit for doing this with their Internet browser... Don't you remember Netscape....
Giving software is just not a good idea.
Am I over pessimist?
8/24/2004 6:33:11 PM
That is what I am doing with my content control system.  The only thing I would add is that a small (1-5) person company can not compete on the shelf, they have to "add value" through customization, turn-key packaging, ongoing support etc.

OpenSource only works when it opens the door to more contract work installing, customizing and maintaining. The only exceptions I have seen to this were the early pioneers in shareware who were either bought out or went on to develop their product into a full-feature shrink wrapped product on the shelf.

8/24/2004 7:19:43 PM
>Am I over pessimist? 

well actually you are not -
going back to pre internet days to the BBS days when BSS's were really networks of programmers swapping code with the idea of inmproving it - the outcome was that end users did not benefit from the exersize.
A lot of that code ended up in commercial products.
DNN however can be utilised by the end user without a programmer or web designer - it is an end user product and anyone that can ftp can set it up on their own isp or server without any great problem. Thus in part it bypasses the programming and web industry.
Most open source projects that have this capability usually end up as a closed commercial product and really I would see DNN going the same way A reverse example of this is Drumbeat 2000 which was dropped by Macromedia and replaced by their own product - however an open source approach was taken by a number of users to keep it alive and even today one can still add to drumbeat thro the open source structure.
But DNN is too good a product for consultants to over look - like drumbeat it also has an open end if the product goes commercial via skins and modules or spin offs.
Nowadays every user is a 'programmer' and a 'web designer' the one thing that keeps dnn more within the grip of the consultant is the cost of Visual Studio and supporting web design programs for a one off job by a user the outlay for the development software s too high also the degree of technology tier design is usally above most end users. So there will always be an opening for consultants within the DNN area.
But as to general open source - yep it does destroy the industry. Open source started over 30 years ago as a means of improvement using a wide knowledge base of programmers - it was never intended to be a end user product.
As to the security issues in open source this is a nightmare for any consultant.
But love it or hate it - open source is here to stay and I suppose is helped by the high cost of commercial software - commercial software high prices is helped in some ways by open source industry.
So the answer is to improve on the OS and build a spin off that beats the orginal OS project. This in itself is totally against the open source ideology however programmers and consultants have to eat and pay for the high cost development software.
Now it would be different if we had an open source visual studio project - this is what open source is all about decreasing the cost of development tools
I understand what the core team is getting in return for their work - a topic well covered in an old book called the psychology of the programmer. However these rewards do not feed the beast and at some stage the possible financial returns will come into play.
8/25/2004 12:56:40 AM
Yep! I totally agree.

Open Source for scriptlets pieces of software and to make some part of a program better this is really a good idea. But when it comes to "complete package" we are really shooting ourself in the foot.
Must admit that DNN offers, as you say, many opportunities but those are just not as money making as the building of the whole solution...
And yes Open Source is here to stay but we should be carefull with it as we are getting more and more of those "complete package" freely on the net.
Why not try to help the developpers instead of the end user! We can think that reducing the amount of work for a project IS helping but in the long run it's NOT. We're only cutting in well paid job to replace them by not so well paid part time jobs...
Those were my two cents and a half!
And don't get me wrong I'm not against DNN at all I'm just a bit suspicious about this outcome of all this OpenSource Hype!

8/25/2004 12:08:41 PM
Open source is a well recgnized way of marketing.  Probably the best way in the post-IT age.   Once it reaches the critical mass of scale, the revenue will flow in by itself.  To reach that objective, the basic DNN framework needs to be more feature rich than its current state.  Taking Sharepoint as an example, it has not made a great success in group level/SMB market as it targets, mostly because it's difficult to be extensible.  DNN has great plugin architecture yet missing some critical features, such as document management, dragdrop style customization, etc.
9/1/2004 7:01:32 PM

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