As you probably know, Docear is free and open source. As you might know as well, we do accept donations. Today, we would like to share some statistics with you about the amount of donations we received. Actually, in the past two years, we received 434 US$ (~340€) from from 33 donators. That’s not a lot, given that Docear has several thousands of active users. However, it’s also no surprise and to be honest, we ourselves hardly ever donate for other software tools, so we cannot blame anyone for not donating to Docear (even if he should heavily use it).

The average donation we received was 13.16$ (median was 10$), the highest donation was 50$, the smallest 1$, standard deviation 11.04$. The following chart shows the individual and cumulated donations. Sometimes, we don’t receive any recommendations for several month, sometimes we get multiple ones within a week or so.

It’s interesting to note that only 22% of Docear’s visitors are from English speaking countries (US, UK, CA, AU, NZ) but 42% of the donators come from these countries and they donated 40% of the money. Another 24% of Docear’s visitors are from German speaking countries (DE, AT, CH), but 30% of the donators are from these countries, donating 28% of the overall donations. In contrast, while 54% of Docear’s visitors are from non-English and non-German countries, they only make 27% of the donators. What does this mean? Well, there could be different interpretations. One might conclude that people from the US (and UK etc.) are very generous. Or, one might conclude that they just have a lot of money which makes it easy for them to donate. Whatever the reason is, we would like to thank all of you who did donate (or contributed in some other way to Docear) – we really appreciate this (even if it’s only 1$ – if every user would do this, we would be quite happy).

Besides Docear, I run another website on which some friends offer a number of freeware tools. Interestingly, the donation statistics are similar to those of Docear. The total amount of donations is similar (416$), the number of donators is similar (34) and the English users are also the most generous ones. However, visitor count of that website is about 25% higher than that of, and users are asked more prominently to donate. Hence, one might conclude that researchers are more willing to donate than users of freeware tools for sorting pictures, copying playlists, or burning DVDs. Or, maybe, Docear is just better than those tools and hence the willingness to donate is higher. Anyway, these numbers indicate that the willingness to donate is rather low for different types of software, be it Docear or the other freeware tools. This shows that donations are probably not a promising business model. Actually, Docear had almost 300,000 website-visitors in the past two years, and has roughly around 10,000 users. This makes an average donation of 4.34 Cents per user, or 0.14 Cent per visitor. In comparison, the Google Adsense advertisement on that other website generates a multiple of revenue.

Btw., if you are a happy Docear user and want to increase the average income we generate per user and visitor, you can donate here :-). If you are running a website that is offering some free software and accepting donations, we would be very much interested in your experiences.

Joeran Beel

Please visit for more details about me.


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