I have not been logged in for a while as I was having computer problems and missed most of the paid modagodon. The last windows patch updates screwed up my computer and I still haven't found a solution. The patch was KB304599 and put me in a blue screen of death (BSOD) at every start up. I have hid that update so I can actually use my computer. I have been following the Steam Workshop (SW) paid mods with interest and haven't been able to comment or add to the discussion until now, but I have read the full thread. Here is the solution I propose.
The best business plan (IMO) that would I think benefit everyone is the one Google uses for YouTube. Basically it would require the viewing of a 15 second Ad (or insert amount of time here) to download a mod from the Nexus or any other entity that decides to use this plan (from here on out the Nexus is considered the entity, but they do not have to be). Content creators on YouTube can earn money, but they do so by collecting a portion of the Ad revenue Google receives. The more views a content creator gets, the more Ads served, the more money they both earn. Thus, there would have to be a revenue sharing agreement between the Nexus and the mod author (MA). This could be something that the Nexus implements themselves or a new player implements themselves. I do not have to technical or legal knowledge of might be involved and I understand the the Nexus owner may not wish to be responsible for finding Ad sponsors, collecting money, and making payments to MAs. However, this would be possibly their most financially rewarding option and both the MAs and the Nexus win. For every mod download, except for premium Nexus members, you are forced to watch an advertisement, whose revenue is split between the Nexus and the MO. Those MAs who create more views (presumably because their mods are the most popular), receive the most funds. The more downloads, the more Ads a MA generated, the more money. It is essentially, YouTube's business plan and some people are able to make a living (think Gopher).
Alternate Plan: The above plan would benefit the Nexus as they would earn the most money if successful. The alternate plan would be for the Nexus to get in bed with Google/YouTube. In this scenario Google would handle all the financial transactions and serve the Ads. Here Google takes most of the cut while also being responsible for getting advertisers, serving Ads, and any financial involvement. Both Nexus and MAs get a cut, but MAs cut depends on how many people download their mods. For this to work the Nexus would have to be willing to work with Google. In this plan, the Nexus cut would be smaller, but still financially rewarding without having to deal with paying MAs. The danger for the Nexus would be that Google could simply do this on its own and the Nexus would be out of business.
Mods Should be Free: Certain MAs may object to Ads or someone else should be making money off their mods. Thus, there would have to be an agreement between the MA and the mod server provider whether or not they wish to receive money from Ads or not. What do you think? Would it work?