How do you make money online from sharing your codes for FREE? How do you succeed without obligating users to buy scripts from you?
Well, George Chiang, founder of Dynamic Drive, did it. In this interview, he shows us how his company enjoys success, while keeping to its ethos of providing free scripts.
The likes of Intel, CNN, and Walmart features scripts from Dynamic Drive. You’d expect that the company has a department of code writers, but it doesn’t. In fact, George ‒ yes, the founder ‒ writes almost all the codes himself! Isn’t that a little surprising?
Dynamic Drive’s target audience are mainly beginner to intermediate webmasters and small business owners who maintain their own web sites.
I caught up with George to share his insights on his company and how they’ve managed to succeed without asking users for money. Here’s George’s answers to my questions.
Meet George Chiang of Dynamic Drive
Dynamic Drive’s Code on CNN.com. Source: CNN Money.
Are Dynamic Drive code snippets community sourced or developed in-house?
Most of the codes are actually written by myself, with some contributions from key members on our forums.
How is Dynamic Drive responding to the current wave of drag-and-drop builders and plugins targeting non-tech savvy website owners?
It’s true, the landscape for web design and building rich UI interfaces have changed a lot since the olden days, and webmasters have a myriad of ways to build out a web page, including drag and drop builders. One of the ideas we have is to convert some of the most popular scripts on DD into WordPress plugins.
How does Dynamic Drive make money as it seems everything is for free on the website?
Main source of revenue is from advertising and contract work such as customizing scripts for individuals. We’ve always strived to prioritize user experience and the goal of keeping the site free over revenue.
What challenges did you face in developing Dynamic Drive and how did you manage those challenges?
Who are your competitors and how do you differentiate Dynamic Drive from them?
These days, the competition for high quality, readily available and free code is everywhere, from github, codepen.io, to a myriad of other code repositories that people can access code from.
While new open source scripts spring up every day, the instructions are often vague, and trying to get help from the author(s) usually falls on deaf ears. DD has a very passionate and responsive help forums that visitors have been turning to for years to get personalized, timely help on any code found on DD.
What changes were most responsible for Dynamic Drive’s success since its inception?
What improvements do you have in the works at the moment for Dynamic Drive users?
One area I’m really trying to build up these days is the blog section. As mentioned, most of our users are beginner to intermediate webmasters and developers, and with the blog, my goal is to provide them with useful tips and tutorials that would resonate with that audience, such as how to best set up security in WordPress, best browser plugins for web designers, etcetera.
What’s Dynamic Drive’s big picture ‒ where would the company be in the next 10 years?
To Wrap It Up
George says the strategy that gave his business the most boost was “giving people more of what they want.” His method was to get his codes into as many hands as possible. With his scripts in use on CNN.com, Walmart and the like, his credibility was strong enough to gain clients who’d want him to write custom codes for them.
George’s marketing strategy ‒ one that aligns with his ethos ‒ is giving his codes for free. Freely giving his scripts proved effective. In using Dynamic Drive code snippets, “Users agree not to remove/ edit the credit notice within the DHTML source code, or claim the code to be work of their own.” This agreement serves both as free marketing for the free code and as a copyright protection notice.
Hope you’re able to draw some insights from Dynamic Drive’s strategy and growth? You can follow George on Twitter.