On a personal note, I've decided to start donating to mod authors who, each month, are the most active and popular mod authors on 5Mods based on our internal database statistics. I know that Rappo used to donate to mod authors from time to time, but I'd like to make this a regular occurrence. I have already done the donations for this month and, from now on, I will do this around the start of each month moving forward.
I'm just getting caught up on this now, and was actually going to suggest exactly this. It might be nice to have a more formal revenue sharing program, similar to how YouTube shares with creators, but I know that comes with a whole host of technical and community management challenges, so your current approach is a great alternative.
I think a lot of the resent around money in the GTA V modding community comes from a feeling of being left out or taken advantage of. Yes, some devs are just greedy people looking to make a quick buck (cough cough LSRD), but let us not immediately dismiss everyone who is interested in receiving some form of compensation as fitting that mold. Modders often feel like they aren't getting compensated proportionally to the time they put in vs. other people making money from their mods. YouTubers and modding communities/download sites make at least an order of magnitude more money than modders do. Not to trivialize the real time and effort those groups put into maintaining their channels; developing, hosting, and managing sites like this; etc... but at the end of the day, without modders putting in hundreds of hours of effort to actually make the mods themselves, the rest of it couldn't exist. And in my experience, the vast majority of those profiting off the backs of mods are quite stingy. Several YouTubers I've spoken with have been quite offended by the mere suggestion that they contribute something back to the modders who make their channels possible. (To give credit where due, a few have actually been quite generous, but that's the exception not the norm.) I think your idea to donate to modders on a regular basis helps address some of that inequality. I wish YouTubers would do the same.
For me personally, I do provide early access during the beta development period of my mods in exchange for modest donations. I don't do work for hire, and I don't do private mods – once they're up to my standards and are sufficiently stable for the average noob to install and use without issues, my mods are released to everyone. But the key thing is, I would be making these mods even if nobody wanted to pay, because I make them for my own enjoyment too. At a high level, I only make things I want in the game for myself. I'll add features that other people request, but I'm not going to make a mod that's completely uninteresting to me. I wouldn't expect 5-mods however to let me use it as an advertising platform for that! IMO, once you put something on 5-mods, that should mean you're ready for the masses to use it, for free.
I have thought a great deal about putting commercial use restrictions on my future mods – stipulating that any YouTuber or other person who wants to use it for commercial recording/broadcast must get my permission and arrange some sort of deal first. This of course relies on either the honesty of YouTubers to comply with that license, or YouTube's willingness to take down videos reported for using unlicensed mods. But, it also gets tricky if the mod itself uses unoriginal IP. Obviously this is much easier for script mods than for vehicle mods, especially as script mods tend to be "original creations" to a much greater degree, and are less encumbered by potential trademark/copyright issues.
I think it's very important to keep mods free and accessible for people who just want to play with them for their own fun. But it's quite true that there are a lot of folks out there who are profiting handsomely off the labor of modders and giving nothing in return, and I know how frustrating that can be.