Alternative ways to for users to help fund Zotero project

I read with interest this comment from @dstillman that the storage subscription is what really funds the Zotero project:

I use ZotFile with a Dropbox folder, so I currently don't pay for storage. Moreover, the ease of finding a PDF in my file hierarchy outside of Zotero, the ease of sharing individual PDF files with colleagues and students via Dropbox links, and the fact I already pay for Dropbox cloud storage makes the idea of transitioning to Zotero storage not very appealing.

Nevertheless, I would like to support the project and would consider other subscription options.

For example, given the popularity of the iOS Zotero App (Beta), I wonder if it's worthwhile for some features there (maybe even the whole app eventually?) to be subscription based. I would certainly pay for that, particularly if it gave the developers the extra incentive to create a workflow for sharing PDF in/out of Zotero in iOS:

Even if the iOS App isn't the way, I would like to hear what folks think other subscription options could be :-).
  • I maintain an unlimited storage subscription that I essentially do not use. That is a demonstration of the high value that I place on Zotero.
  • Like wise, I would happily pay for the iOS app in order to support the project — especially if that meant development could proceed faster,
  • My adventure in academia is on indefinite hold, but I gladly support Zotero with a 60G subscription.

    I don't use iOS, but I hope that Zotero doesn't go subscription for features. One of the major attractions of Zotero for me is that if you don't co-author, everything about Zotero can be free, and I think it's fantastic that a struggling academic doesn't need to compromise here. If you do co-author, it's a bit more setup for all involved, but you can still get a free setup if your budget doesn't allow for the convenience of Zotero sync.
  • A simple "donate" button on the main zotero homepage would hopefully bring in quite a lot of money, without making anything paid. The diversion through paid storage is cumbersome and non-obvious. I think the developpers think the "upgrade storage" button on the homepage does the same trick, but it really does not.
  • yeah, I'd rather donate than pay for a feature I don't need.
  • But then it's more that you want to donate one-time rather than having a subscription? Because if you want to make an ongoing donation, why would you care that it gives you access to something you don't plan using?
  • An app with a free trial period that expires after two weeks has no barrier to entry and allows users to determine its value up front. Companies benefit in many ways from the consistent revenue stream that subscriptions provide so going that route makes sense. I was a long-time Mendeley user -- just installed Zotero today. If the importer allowed me to transfer 20 documents for free so I knew it worked, I would have paid them just for that function. Instead, I bought 6GB storage for my 2GB library.

    I developed software for 20 years so know a quality product when I see one. A $50 annual subscription for the iOS app is less than a once a month visit to Starbucks...
  • My point is not about whether to donate once or having a subscription. It is about the psychology of paying at all. At the moment, nothing in the webpage tells a (willing to pay) zotero user how they can pay. It only says "upgrade storage". But if a (willing to pay) zotero user does not need to upgrade their storage, then there is simply no obvious way to pay or donate. Having a button that is as least as prominent as the "upgrade storage" button that says: "donate" could lead to a page that offers one time donations or repeat donations, and zotero could for example suggest the kind of donation/subscription that they expect/wish for.
  • Ah OK, gotcha. I think that is a good point.
  • Just to spell it out further. Imagine someone who say moves from endnote to zotero, or just someone who just finds zotero, has just started with a small library of 50 or 200 items and obviously has no use at all for paid storage and thinks: "wow, what a great software, I would like to support this". I find it hard to imagine that they will ever think: ah, I could buy some (unneeded) storage to support this.
    The whole donation/support issue is thought purely with advanced users in mind, who are encouraged to buy more storage than they need (and even for those the whole point is non-obvious).
    But more generally, it just runs counter to how we think about "donation" or "subscription". If say, I would like to support a venue that is suffering from the pandemic, or a charity, then being told to buy 50 tickets for events that I wont attend does not make sense. I would like to donate them some money, without entertaining a transaction for stuff that I do not need.
  • Literally the first item on the “Support Zotero” page suggests to upgrade storage.

    IIRC, Zotero many years ago did accept donations, but the accounting issues with doing so weren’t worth the small number of donations received.
  • But again, even from the page you refer to it is totally non-obvious what to do. Also please read the post that started this thread. it is literally someone saying: I want to give money, but I do not need storage. If what you say would work, then the first post in this thread would not have been written.
    If there are accounting issues, and you cant just add a donate button, then I suggest to at least add a sentence that spells the work-around properly, such as: "If you would like to financially contribute to the development of zotero, please do so by paying for upgrading your storage, even if you do not need additional storage."
    And, if you cant say "donate" for accounting reasons I would still change the top menu to at least say "support zotero" (funnily, this is how you call the menu in your own post, but its not called "support zotero", its called "get involved", which invokes work, not donations).
    I suggest you do a mini survery, sit ten random people in front of the zotero website and ask them to support zotero financially, and see what happens. My guess would be that none of them will buy storage upgrade.
  • (If people are eager to support Zotero's components, I'll just note that we at CSL really don't have any source of revenue other than donations and have sponsorship button on our github repo: -- the money goes to Rintze who feeds it back into CSL, e.g. to pay for development)
  • edited December 3, 2021
    The subscription is too expensive and only small storage and need continuous payment, so I personally prefer using WebDAV.
    I just want to do something in my modest, so I think a patron page or github sponsor is a good way. @dstillman
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