How to make money off of a Firefox theme (or not)

This weekend was quite an eye opener for me. Since the first public release of ANTHEM (my Firefox 3 theme), I have been trying to think of a way to monetize the downloads. Not really looking for a way to get rich, but a way to take advantage of, as of today, a theme that has been downloaded almost 500,000 times.

I started out with a Paypal donate button which helped a little, but wasn't really doing what I wanted. Then, I got the idea of adding a sponsor logo somewhere in the top banner like this (see top right corner):

So I made the change and uploaded the new theme to the Mozilla Developer area. The next morning I awake to tons of emails and reviews on the Mozilla site with some seriously pissed off users. I knew I may get a little fallout, but not quite this bad. I guess I am guilty of falling prey to the big company mindset of caring about $$ more than the users of my product. But like I said on the Mozilla site, this was purely an experiment and the advertisement has been removed per the latest version (1.5.2).

Today I received a message which is truly a great idea and I can't believe I did not think of it:


Excellent skin! That's been said many times but I saw something new 
today that you gave away for free (and was a great opportunity!) 
Donating without cause never gets a response (although it needs to 
for the sake of others), but I think if you said people needed to
donate 50c to remove the advert, you'd be buying my motorcycles by 
now, and by the dozen J. 

All the best, 

The Convicts 
Thank you Convict and all the best to your motorcycle company. Hopefully I will be able to buy one soon!

I think I will either develop another skin much better than ANTHEM, or I may just work for free for the rest of my life and die a poor (but appreciated) man. I think it's easier to get into Heaven if we die poor, right? Ah, the life of open source. To me it really is worth it to use your talent and provide something that makes people's life better. I don't care what anybody says, you get it back (and usually doubled) at some point in your life.