The development process

And progress payments

The development process sounds more complicated than it really is. Try it out. We hope you don’t really need the help, but here it is, just in case.

Other help topics:

How do I become a developer for someone else’s project?

Simply add your quote during the initial 14-day quoting period. A quote will be chosen that delivers the finished and paid product to the pledgers most quickly based on their current pledging rate (not necessarily the shortest quote).

If you’re the only quoter when the quoting time’s up, you’ll be allowed to wait for another quoter to have microPledge choose between you, or end the quoting manually and become the developer immediately.

What if I want to be the developer?

Just choose “Yes, let only me quote …” when you submit your project, and you’ll be the only one able to quote. microPledge will take you straight to the quoting page just after you’ve submitted it.

But what if I just want donations?

Just choose “… make it a donations-only project” when you submit your project. Donations-only projects are simple, but they don’t give pledgers the same warm, fuzzy knowledge that you’ll only get your pledges when they’re happy with your progress.

In other words, you’ll get donations in your account as soon as users click “Donate”, but you may not get as many contributions overall. Choose this option if you’ve already mostly finished your project, or if you just want to keep things simple.

As a developer, how can I be sure I’ll get paid?

microPledge keeps “held” pledges in a trust account. This gives you the security you need. When you have completed a project, the funds are there to be transferred into your account. Of course, you still have to negotiate with the pledgers about whether you’ve done the work.

If you become the developer, the project will start in a stalled state. When you think there are enough pledges, you can start development and the pledgers’ funds will be called in and held in trust.

In other words: you don’t have to start work or upload releases until you’re sure they’ve got the money to pay you. But once the funds in trust exceed your quote, you can no longer stall.

You are in charge of making sure enough pledgers have placed their funds in trust. When you unstall, they will be sent an email telling them they’re in the red and have to pay their pledge into trust. You have the option of stalling again immediately while you wait for their pledges to be placed into the trust account.

How can other developers collaborate if I haven’t yet released?

You haven’t released to your pledgers on the microPledge website yet, but that doesn’t stop you from releasing all or part of your code to other developers (or even the public via or whatever).

Of course, if you collaborate with other developers, you’ll need to come to some agreement about whether you’re going to share the earnings. microPledge only chooses one “developer” but that could easily be a group of people.

Can I create sub-projects?

Yes. If much of your development consists of implementing new features, you can link all these features together by adding a unique tag. For example, for the game project called PhantomZ:

Linked projects on microPledge are great for specific features, because you can get a feel for what features people want most, based on how much they’re willing to pledge. Then you can select which ones you want to develop.

What is my credit rating for?

Your credits give you an advantage when quoting. A developer with a full 10 credits can quote 50% higher than his competitors and be considered on an equal footing. (But you’ll never have enough credits to buy a protocol droid.)

You get 1 credit when you complete a job on time, and you lose 1 credit if you don’t finish at all. You also gain or lose up to 1 credit credit after every estimate: specifically, you gain when your pledgers vote above you and you lose when they vote below you lose – but only when you don’t accept their vote.

What is a progress payment?

A key feature of microPledge is the ability to be paid as-you-go. When you feel like you have done a reasonable chunk of the project (perhaps 30%), then you post evidence of that progress on the project’s downloads page (screenshots, demos, and source) and drag your progress slider up to 30%.

Your estimate will trigger an email to every pledger asking them to either accept your estimate (the default), or vote with their own estimate within 3 days. If they agree, you’ll be paid 30% of the current pledge. The 3 days are not counted as part of your development time unless you have re-estimated 3 times in a row.

Can I upload my release files to another site?

Sure. And for open source projects, uploading to somewhere like might not be a bad idea. However, the microPledge licenses require that you also upload evidence and release files to the downloads page on microPledge.

If we said it was fine for developers only to upload to a third-party site, a dodgy or disgruntled developer might put some files up somewhere, collect the money, and then remove the files. Uploading to microPledge ensures developers can’t do this.

What if the pledgers don’t agree with my progress estimate?

It may be that your evidence of progress isn’t good enough. You’ll need to provide better screenshots or a working demo and re-estimate. You may also want to negotiate by stalling.

Alternatively, to avoid losing credit rating, just accept their vote and be paid for as much as they agreed to: you’ll still get the balance when you’ve reached 100% completion.

Is there any incentive for pledgers to accept my estimate?

Yes. First of all, it’s a bother to pledgers to reject an estimate (the default vote is to accept).

But an incentive is up to you. Along with evidence of progress, you may wish to provide an actual product (e.g., a binary installer) that each pledger can download immediately if they accept your estimate. This will encourage pledgers to vote “yes” to your estimate. This is particularly important when you make a 100% release.

How can I negotiate with the pledgers?

You can stall. Either to wait for more pledges to come in, or if you really think the pledgers are being unreasonable about your estimates. A stall stops the clock on your quoted time. However, you can’t stall if they have already pledged up to your quoted cost and placed those funds into the trust account.

What if I’m a bit late finishing?

We allow up to 20% grace period after your quoted deadline. After that, the above will apply and the project will re-open for quotes. If there are pledgers, then using your grace period will cost you 0.1 credits per % over time (up to 2 total).

And if I can’t finish my project?

If there are pledgers, then they won’t like you and your rating will drop 1 credit. Either way, the project will re-open for quotes.

We advise you to do a progress release just before the end of your quote period so that you can at least be paid for what the pledgers think the half-done source is worth.

Note that if you estimate 100% done, then microPledge considers you finished when you get at least a 95% payment from the pledgers.

If you’re not doing open source, you must also refund all the money that the pledgers have paid you so far. It is a legal requirement to refund a product that the pledgers never got. If you don't want to refund, you may alternatively provide the source for your releases under an open-source OSI License.

Can I quit developing my project early?

Yes, with the same affect as when you don’t finish a project, plus you will be charged 10% of your earnings so far as a penalty to discourage quitting. The fee will go to the project for the next developer.

Is there a sandbox to try all this out?

We do have a sandbox to create fake projects and pledge fake money – just go to

You can even accelerate a project’s timeline and sign up as fake users to see what happens. Note that the sandbox database may be cleaned out every few days, so you might lose test data you put into the sandbox.