My Experience with Bountysource

Hi, I’m Josh Dolitsky. I am a web developer from Chicago living in Los Angeles. My current weapon of choice is the MEAN stack (Mongo, Express, Angular, and Node) but I have experience with PHP, Perl, Ruby, and Python. I also maintain an open-source library called AppDotNetPHP used by developers in the App.net community.

When I first found out about Bountysource, I was genuinely upset with myself for not coming up with the idea. It’s so simple and brilliant. There are thousands of talented programmers already writing and fixing open-source code on a daily basis, free-of-charge. Why not just incentivize them?

As an open-source developer, I saw this an opportunity to make a bunch of money. I had to try it out.

I started looking at all the bounties that were posted on the site. I could see why some of the more difficult bugs had such high payouts as they were complex and time-consuming. I wanted to find a bounty that would yield a significant amount of cash, but one that was also within the scope of my ability.

That’s when I found the bounty Every single page should have a <title> appropriate for the page’s content for $150. The project was on Bountysource’s frontend and I thought it was safe to assume that I would get the money if I fixed the issue correctly. Their site is built with Angular, which I have been working with extensively. I forked the repo and ran Bower and Grunt like the hipster I am.

After looking around the code for a bit, I discovered the problem: the Bountysource site uses frontend routing. Every time you click on a link on Bountysource, the page does not actually refresh, but instead, changes templates with Angular and loads data from an API. This made for a pretty cool setup, but it meant that the page title would always remain the same. I figured out a way to define a title for each route and submitted a pull request on the project’s GitHub.

The next day, Bountysource’s CEO, Warren Konkel, took a look at my code. He said that he liked my approach, but had a few concerns. I did my best to address his points with another commit. I didn’t hear back for a couple days, and started to wonder if they were going to use my solution or not. All of the sudden, Warren merged my code and I received an email from Bountysource saying that my solution had been accepted. If nobody disputed the solution over the next two weeks, then the bounty was mine. We have since improved the bounty pay-out process making it even quicker to get a payout. Read more here.

Sure enough, two weeks later, I received another email from Bountysource that my claim for the bounty had been fully accepted. They gave me the option to cash out the $150 via PayPal, Google Wallet, or a physical check. I asked for a physical check and gave them my home address. A few days later, I received a physical check in the mail, along with a sweet sticker to add to my ever-growing collection.

bountysource sticker

And just like that, I’m $150 richer. Bountysource is an awesome company closing the gap between open-source and proprietary software. Some of the biggest complaints about open-source is the inability to get something fixed when you need it. Do you have a major problem with your open-source software? Man up and post a bounty!