I’m not sure there’s anything significant that sets Cofundos apart from microPledge featurewise. Possibly a step where bidders (pledgers) vote on which developer bid to accept. However I’m not certain how a developer is chosen on microPledge — their FAQ says “A quote will be chosen that delivers the finished and paid product to the pledgers most quickly based on their current pledging rate (not necessarily the shortest quote).” microPledge’s scheme for in progress payments may set it apart.
In terms of marketing and associations, Cofundos comes from the Agile Knowledge Engineering and Semantic Web research group at the University of Leipzig, producers of DBpedia, about which I’ve written. Many of the early proposed projects are directly related to AKSW research. Their copyright policy is appreciated.
Cofundos lists 61 proposed projects after one month, microPledge lists about 160 after about three and a half months. I don’t see any great successes on either site, but both are young, and perhaps I’m not looking hard enough.
Cofundos and microPledge are both welcome experiments, though I don’t expect either to become huge. On the other hand, even modest success would set a valuable precedent. In that vein I’ve been pretty skeptical about the chances of Fundable, they seem to have attracted a steady stream of users. Although most projects seem to be uninteresting (pledges for bulk purchases, group trips, donations to an individual’s college fund, etc), some production of public goods does seem to being funded, including several film projects in the small thousands of dollars range. Indeed, “My short film” is the default project name in their form for starting a project.
It seems to me that creating requirements and getting in front of interested potential donors are the main challenges for sites focused on funding open source software like Cofundos and microPledge (both say they are only starting with software). Requirements are just hard, and there’s little incentive for anyone to visit an aggregator who hasn’t aggregated anything of interest.
I wonder if integrating financial donations into project bug tracking systems would address both challenges? Of course doing so would have risks, both of increasing bureaucracy around processing bugs and feature requests, necessity of implementing new features (and bugs) in the relevant bug tracking software, and altering the incentives of volunteer contributors.