Michel Bauwens asked me to take a look at an article that describes a micro-payment system to blogs.
Here is how It Works, according to the article on sharable:
Users who feel that a handful (at the least) of the content they interact with online has monetary value to them personally opt to contribute $5 to Kachingle monthly. They can then “sprinkle” their $5 around the Web to their favorite content providers by clicking on the respective site’s Kachingle medallion (if adopted). At the close of the month, each user’s $5 is divied up proportionately amongst sites they’ve selected.
“Anything that can be digitized will be napsterized. Kachingle is a business model for the inevitable future of ‘free,” says the company’s CEO, Fred Dewey.
Others have tried before
Dewey is not the first neither the only one to try and build a business around the idea that some people would like to support others with a mouse click.
A recent effort in this direction is what Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde is trying to do with a start-up effort now in Beta and ready for sign-ups.
Named Flattr, the system is a word play of flatter and flat rate. Sunde explains the system has been introduced so that consumers can flatter content creators with a flat rate fee. Dubbed a “social micropayment” system, users can contribute money into their Flattr accounts and then distribute rating clicks across various sites. These ratings, like Digg, will count up how popular a piece of content is and distribute micropayments accordingly. Consumers will simply top their account up with as little as €2 and each rating they give content creators will assign a portion of their Flattr account balance. If a user places €10 into their Flattr account and then rates 10 different pieces of content each content creator will receive €1 from that user at the end of that month.
I remember an earlier effort, called blogkarma and although I can’t find the app on the net any more, the name seems to have caught on. Lots of people writing about the karma of blogging these days.
Are those efforts going in the right direction?
I believe people are naturally distrustful. Any flat payment to a company who then promises to distribute (most of) that money to bloggers who received clicks, is going to raise a red flag with many. How can we be sure that the money actually gets to where we destined it to go?
So while micropayments are definitely needed, I believe that eventually a simpler and more direct method of expressing appreciation via the net will emerge. Something that puts the donor in complete control over what and how much is to be given. It must be something easy to use and allow a spur-of-the-moment decision to give. It must also provide some kind of social connection between donor and receiver (somewhat like an automatic friendship on facebook), where each one knows who gave what and why. The donor knows their payment has been received, and the receiver knows who it was that appreciated their creation.