Change the bounty upper limit to 50k, because 500 seems outdated and cheap. If a newbie gets a good answer in, more power to them.
Think of it like Jeopardy. Remember about the turn of the century when the rules changed and you could win longer than one week. It was a good change. All time Jeopardy champion
Think of it like The $25000 Pyramid. I remember seeing reruns in black and white when it was like $5k. It was a good change.
There are plenty of users with more than 50k. I looked at a bunch of profiles yesterday with a serious amount of bounty. I would spend every night for a couple months or longer on a 50k solution.
Community benefit: Large open source projects could really get some good exposure with a 50k bounty.
500 I'm asking for 3000 on one question right now. I have the answer working and won't share it till I get 3k for it. Don't think me bad. I'm still participating; it's just on one question that the community and blogs can't answer yet.
Maybe if this gets to -100 I'll take it down.
As for my bounty score, I have four stars at asp.net which I made in three months four years ago – exactly halfway to five stars. I'm no stranger to how these boards work and how search engines love linkbacks. One of these days I'll start blogging on my website and link answers back to my website just to get a few more up clicks.