My company has developed a .DLL, meaning a software component, which needs to be a part of software to have value. This software component can be useful in a range of applications in everything from small projects, to large enterprise projects. My question is: How can I make money from this component? In other words, what are the viable business models for such a software component?
Software Business Model Business Services
Some revenue models that I have seen:
If we knew more about the component and the market we might have better ideas.
There are online retailers for commercial software libraries. One possibility is to partner with an online retailer to sell your component. Take a look at Programmer's Paradise. Here is an example component that they resell.
There are also differences between developer licenses (the right to use your component to develop software) and redistribution licenses (the right to include your component in shipped software).
ComponentSource is a marketplace for components. They even have a DLL section. You can try to sell you component on similar web sites.
Everyone's comment should be useful to you David - they are all good comments.
If priced right you might also look into advertising the component on CodeProject. It's expensive.
However before investing in that type of expensive marketing it's always best to get it out there on the sites that have been mentioned in this thread and then gauge feedback on quality etc.
Nathan and Tim also made a good point re the licensing. Royalties could be a very good source of recurrent revenue for you but they might also be deal-breakers.
We are a software component company, although not so much in .NET. ComponentSource, mentioned, is the largest reseller, but they go for a much tighter linked relationship with you, it's not to everyone's taste. You also get sites like DevDirect, which is very .NET centric and cheap to use simply to advertise, rather than partner-based models like ComponentSource.
How you pitch depends very much on the price point of the component and the key with pricing is to remember you always have 2 initial competitors:
1) Customer implements themselves
2) Customer doesn't bother implementing at all and cancels project.
As well as any actual competitors.
The software component business behaves slightly unlike many other software businesses, if this is your first component, you're in for an interesting ride.