Freemium extensions, what's the best course of action

I’m working on an extension that I’d like to make free to use. Unfortunately, I still need to find some manner of generating income. I don’t need anything exorbitant, it’d be nice to have income to help fund continued development, but the only necessity is making enough to cover the overhead of my backend server.

There’s nothing I can reasonably monetize in-extension using bits. So my plan is to either go the freemium route, or accepting donations from willing streamers.

The extension guidelines notes:

5.1 Extensions may provide differentiated experiences or functionality to broadcasters, in exchange for compensation from broadcasters. Examples: tiered access to features or purchasable plugins to add functionality.

That reassures me that a freemium model is acceptable, but I see nothing regarding taking donations.

With that said, I have a few questions:

  1. Am I allowed to insert a donation button on my extension’s config page, accessible only by the streamer (i.e. A Paypal donate button)?
  2. If I go the freemium route, is there a required, disallowed, and/or best-practices method of doing so? For instance,
    a) Can I charge the streamer bits to upgrade (if that’s even possible)?
    b) Could I accept Paypal payments directly within my config backend?
    c) Am I allowed to link streamers to an external site in order to upgrade?
    d) If I did link to an external site, is there anything wrong with selling activation codes to be used within the config (in order to upgrade to a new tier)?

If there are any scenarios I’ve left out that anyone could recommend or warn against, I’d greatly appreciate all information.

My main concern is just making sure I’m staying in line with Twitch’s requirements and restrictions. Thank you!

First off, any sort of payment would not be a donation and you must be careful not to name it that unless you are a registered charity. There are laws regarding what can and can’t be classed as a ‘donation’ as it’s an important distinction, particularly in tax law.

As for what is/isn’t allowed, there’s a lot of restrictions around sending users off-site for buying products/services, such as 4.6.3 Off-site links may not refer users to sites where the main purpose is to buy products or services, unless the link is to Twitch or Amazon properties (except as allowed in 4.9).

You can’t charge bits for upgrading a service, as a streamer can’t use bits in an extension running on their own channel, and even if you are an affiliate/partner and have Cheers on your channel, it would be against Twitch’s Bits Usage Policy for cheers to be used in exchange for services.

Even if Twitch allow you to link off-site for payment processing, they may have issue with you using PayPal, as apposed to an Amazon system such as Amazon Pay.

One example of an extension that successfully uses a freemium model is Crowd Control, which provides additional features for broadcasters/viewers who subscribe to the developers Twitch channel.

Thank you for the information, that definitely helps to narrow down my options.

The subscription as a method of payment is definitely an interesting option. Unfortunately I don’t stream, so I have no method of getting partnered and accepting subscriptions (which, as a side note, makes it extremely difficult to test features such as channel points, really wish Twitch would implement an affiliate feature simulator).

I’m willing to use Amazon Pay, so I don’t think that’d be an issue.

It’s sounding like my best course of action would be to set up a purchase button on my config page, using Amazon Pay. And subsequently ping my EBS with information regarding the transaction.

If anyone else has any more insight, all potential avenues are greatly appreciated.

In my opinion

Section 4.6 applies to protecting viewers

So should be free to use whatever payment provider you want from your config/EBS view. Since from Config views you are gonna link out to the your main website to handle payment steps anyway. And since the intent is for broadcasters using those links, it should be acceptable to use any payment vendor