For centuries, authors have traded mentions in a book for cold hard cash. Today, this is most often done for charity, as a Tuckerization auction. As a BSD author, though, I think that there’s a way to put this to use to raise development money for various BSD projects. BSD always needs money.
When Absolute FreeBSD came out, the FreeBSD Foundation auctioned off the first copy off the press. It raised $600. I suspect that getting your name in the book, or being able to name something in the book, might raise more.
I’m considering hold an auction to, say, let a reader name something in a tech book: a server, a sample user, whatever. I’d mention their winner by name in the acknowledgments. The money would go to the project covered in the book, and I would ask someone from the project to run the auction. (I don’t want to go near that money, as I’d probably spend it foolishly, for food or shelter or soap.)
I’d need some basic rules — the desired name would have to get past my publisher, for example, so obscenities are out. You couldn’t blatantly insult people — while I’m fine with naming my example server LucasDroolz, I’m not comfortable using someone else’s words to abuse other people. When I insult someone, I want to do it personally.
Would this be a publicity stunt? It would be publicity, yes. But the real goal is to extract money from you and give it to a developer.
Of course, setting up such an auction would be time and expense. I’d risk my own time and expense on such an idea, but this would mean asking other people to do so as well. Therefore, my question for readers is:
Would you bid in such an auction? Given the cause, how much would you bid? Do you think it’s a stupid idea? I’m also open to suggestions on where to run such an auction. eBay has a charity option, but they still take a cut. I suspect there’s a better choice.
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