RWW features a story about DimDim, which is an open source web-conferencing platform. I’ve used it and it compares well with the various proprietary systems around. RWW talks about DimDim’s three business propositions:
- Big company – cut your Webex/GoToMeeting bills by 50% or more
- Established online venture that needs online meetings to close sales with end users – no hassle revenue share
- Start-up with enough techies, but no cash – use the open source base with normal GPL rules (and thus grow the platform for DimDim and everybody else)
- Product Proprietary or Commodity Model
- Commodity (Brand & Servicing) Model, e.g. Red Hat: make money from your services
- Transitional (Pragmatic) Model. The transitional model is focused on solving problems (e.g. MySQL and JBoss) and is open source in the sense that code is open, but may be closed in terms of controlling the development process and the developers.
DimDim’s model would be #2, making money from services, including software as a service, but still remaining open to engage a wider user/developer community to fuel growth. When times are tough (can you say recession?) then cutting costs takes on a higher priority and it will be interesting to see if there is a forthcoming spike in OS adoption.
I’m preparing a talk that I will be giving next month to NRC-IRAP industry technology advisors and one of the themes will be open source business models. I’ll be updating my research and would appreciate any other unique or interesting business models around the use of open source software or OS content. Wikipedia would be an example of the latter, but I’m looking for lesser-known examples. Of course I’ll summarize and publish my findings here.