One of the best things about being an independent software vendor is the freedom it provides in a world full of competing platform vendor agendas. At the same time, one of the worst things about being a small ISV is how difficult it can be to find a distribution channel for your wares.

Though platform vendors have long recognized how important ISVs are to their ultimate success, the incentives they’ve provided have been primarily marketing collateral and toolkits rather than cold, hard cash. wants to change that. The provider of a file-sharing and collaboration platform in the cloud—used by more than 15 million people and 150,000 businesses—announced Box $rev, a program through which the company will help monetize the applications that developers build on top of the cloud platform.

According to Chris Yeh, vice president of platform for, rather than just encouraging developers to build applications, the company is going to compensate developers based on the amount of usage of the platform they generate. Under the terms of the program, a developer is now eligible to receive a percentage of the seat price that charges people to use the platform.

Yeh says the actual percentage will depend on the number of users the developer drives to through its application and the depth to which those users invoke Box OneCloud services.

Yeh says that as looks to become more deeply embedded with the workflow of its customers, the company has identified a trend: People who rely on third-party applications to access the platform are more deeply engaged. Therefore, it’s in’s best interest to encourage that depth of engagement, which is why the company has set up a series of channel program initiatives to build out an ecosystem around the platform.

As part of that effort, also unveiled new software development kits (SDKs) for iOS and Android to encourage the development of mobile computing applications that invoke services. The new SDKs provide secure file pickers that allow users to build connections into Box in a matter of hours. Box has also added built-in single-sign-on capabilities.

Box $rev is beginning with 10 inaugural partners: CloudOn, Notability, Documents by Readdle, PDFExpert, iAnnotate, Genius Scan, CamScanner, Outline+, GoodNotes and SmartOffice. The Box OneCloud ecosystem has more than 500 app integrations, including new partners Dr. Chrono, SmartOffice and Documents by Readdle.

What will be more interesting to see than the number of developers that join the Box program is the number of platform vendors that launch similar programs.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.