I've developed a set of ArcToolbox Python scripts, which I've been using on certain projects for clients. The approach we've been taking is to have our clients pay us to run these tools, and provide data and a report at the end of the project.
This approach is working well so far, but has obvious limitations. I've been thinking that there could be advantages to distributing the tools - we'd be able to reach a wider market, and it could drive more consulting work. I think best way to do this might be to publish the toolbox to ArcServer and charge clients for access (via ArcMap), but I'm hardly familiar with ArcServer, so I wanted to get clarification on some things.
- Is it actually legal to charge users for access to ArcServer geoprocessing services via ArcMap? I don't see how this would be different than charging for access to a web map with geoprocessing functions, but I wouldn't want to violate ESRI's terms of service.
- When a Python script is published on ArcGIS Server, can ArcMap clients view the code, or is it hidden? If we publish this set of tools at all, I don't want users to be able to view or copy the code.
- Is this even a good idea?
Original post on ArcGIS forums: http://forums.arcgis.com/threads/62752-Geoprocessing-Service-General-Questions