Does your free app have a “donate” button? Why not? If you’re thinking that it’s not finished yet or that nobody would pay anything to use it, trust me- you’re wrong. It’s always shocking to me to stumble upon an app that looks sleek and does one thing very nicely and to realize that they’re charging for it. Example- Disco, a CD Burning app for Mac OS X.
Mac OS X can burn discs on it’s own just fine. Disco has a simple workflow and built-in disc cataloging (that data is irretrievable but we won’t go there for now). Do you want to know what the $19.95 (that’s right- 19.95 for a feature that the OS already handles) gets you really? Smoke. As the app burns the disc it throws up some nice looking smoke from the “burn” process onto the screen. And if you blow into the microphone, it shifts around like you’re blowing real smoke.
It’s genius. I would never think of it- it’s not a practical feature. But it’s the ultimate eye candy- and it actually makes sense because of what Disco does.
Anyway- back to the issue at hand. Any app that solves any problem should feel comfortable asking for a donation. You’re not making anyone pay and it’s likely many won’t donate. Put the button there so they can start thinking about it.