Roberto recently spoke to SourceForge Community Manager Ross Turk. Ross gave a rundown on what SF has learned with SF Marketplace:

“First, we learned that people are interested in the idea. People are responding to it in pretty large numbers; growing numbers, in fact, and I think that’s good.

Second, we learned that there are a few types of transactions that people seem to want to do that our system doesn’t support. For example, people who want to sell services by the hour are working around the lack of that ability by creating listings for a single hour of service and dealing with the discrepancy in purchase price with the buyer directly. Adding the capability to have per-incident, per-hour, and per-project pricing would be useful to a lot of people.”

When I first heard of SF Marketplace, I couldn’t think of what services I would want to purchase from the developer(s) of a product I found at SF. Obviously I’d get support for things like JBoss or Spring via the appropriate vendor, but the majority of ‘stuff’ on SF isn’t of the Spring kind. For example, would I really ever want to pay for technical support for Gallery 2? (I’m technical enough and can Google for answers with the best of them).

But I wasn’t thinking broadly enough. I may not need support for Gallery 2, but maybe I want to integrate phpBB & Gallery 2 and throw in CAPTCHA on my site. Google can help, but maybe I’m in a rush. Or maybe I need a custom site/app developed using various projects on SF. Well, it looks like SF.net user faisi (and many others) can help.

I had imagined developer X, a contributor to project XYZ would offer services for project XYZ via SF Marketplace. That is one option. It also appears that developers A, B & C, who may or may not be contributors to project XYZ, are offering services around project XYZ. This could position SF Marketplace as a competitor to Guru.com or Scriptlance.com down the road. Interesting…

I hadn’t considered SF Marketplace growing in this fashion. But hey, if users are happy, well done SF!