TL;DR - Summary
You are not allowed to upload mods or addons that require users to donate in order to get updates, to get a better version of your mod or to get support. The addons you share on this website should be entirely free, with no obligation to donate. However, you can still ask for donations, but without offering any rewards in return. Besides that, offering a demo version of a payware product that is solely distributed on a third-party platform such as simMarket or ORBX, is allowed after contacting us to ask for permission. In this case, you can upload a demo version and let users know that there is a paid version, but you are not allowed to force nor aggressively advertise it to the user.
Recently some addons have popped up that are offering "exclusive" content when a user donates to the creator. The creator will then e-mail the donator with a download link to either a more up-to-date version of their addon, extra content for their addon or something similar. While we get that creators want to reward donators and also want to be compensated for their work, we feel like Flightsim.to isn't the right place for this, which is why we will be removing any donationware up on our website and will not allow any more donationware or payware to be uploaded. In case you are not familiar with these terms, donationware refers to content that is (partially) locked behind a donation paywall, this content can be downloaded by an end-user after donating to the author. Payware simply refers to paid addons. We have decided to not allow any payware or donationware on the website for the following reasons:
- Ripe for scams: In its current form, offering extra content for an addon in exchange for a donation is a very easy way to get scammed. Since we have no control over donations or consequences thereof, we cannot guarantee users will not be scammed out of their donation money. We cannot guarantee that the author of a donationware addon will deliver the addon that was promised. However trustworthy an author may find themselves, we cannot give end users the guarantee of the addon being delivered, which is why we will not be allowing donationware on our website.
- Unfair towards other users: We have also received several messages from users that, while they were thankful for the addon at all, did not like the idea of having to pay for an addon to receive extra content (like updates or extra scenery). We feel very much the same way in the sense that we feel like users shouldn't be locked out of any content. Either you get the whole addon or you don't get the addon at all. While our website currently does not support any form of payware addons, we might consider adding support for payware addons in the future.
- Freeware above all: This website was created to provide users with an easy all-in-one place to access freeware addons for Microsoft Flight Simulator. If we were to allow donationware, not every addon would live up to this promise since you wouldn't be able to access the entire addon while still not having to pay anything. Since we would like to keep this website as a trusted and safe source for freeware addons, we don't like having donationware up on this site as well. Our stance might change in the future, but this is where we are currently at.
Just because we are removing donationware, does not mean creators won't be able to be compensated for their work. We will still allow for creators to add donation links to their addons, as long as they have made the content themselves. If users really want to offer their addon as donationware, they can do so on another website, we won't allow it here. If you are uploading an addon to our website, the addon should be offered in full, for free. If you did upload a donationware on our website, we will decline it and ask that you to either remove the addon alltogether or to provide the full version, for free. Once again, donations will still be allowed, you just cannot lock certain aspects of your addon behind them.
Regarding demo versions
As for demo versions of payware addons: we will only allow demo version of payware addons if:
- The demo version includes all essential features of the payware version (i.e. the functionality between the demo and payware versions should be basically the same).
- The payware version is offered independently on a trusted website such as ORBX, Aerosoft, simMarket or your own, professional developers website.
- The author of the demo version is not forcing users to purchase the payware version. Mentioning the existence of a paid version is fine, but don't "force" it on users.
If you are planning on uploading a demo version of your addon on our website or you have done so already, please create a ticket, we will review demo versions of addons on a per-addon basis.