Kachingle – do voluntary payments to blogs have a chance?

Michel Bauwens asked me to take a look at an article that describes a micro-payment system to blogs.

Kachingle: The Future of Free?

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.

2 Comments Kachingle – do voluntary payments to blogs have a chance?

  1. AvatarCynthia Typaldos


    Thanks for writing about Kachingle.

    Kachingle is live now — launched two months ago. You can easily try it out…it only takes a moment to sign up, or explore without signing up.

    As the founder, I anticipated your concern — “How can we be sure that the money actually gets to where we destined it to go?”. Kachingle is financially transparent…every penny is accounted for and publicly visible. So each user (we call them Kachinglers) can see exactly which sites their money went to, and the sites see the same view so it’s got to add up! It is also public (unless the Kachingler chooses to be anonymous).

    Here’s a blog post I wrote about this: Kachingle is transparent and fair http://blog.kachingle.com/?s=transparency
    But you don’t have to take my word for it…you can see this live working now on http://www.kachingle.com.

    Many prestigious sites, such as the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Center for Public Integrity, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Carta.info, The Daily Camera (Boulder, CO MediaNews website) and so on have confidence that Kachingle’s system is fraud-free, along with being a source of revenue, and a mechanism for building user loyalty and sending social signals to their colleagues and friends.

    If you visit Kachingle you will also see that there is a direct connect made between the Kachinglers and the sites they visit. And this is visible to everyone.

    It would only take 5 minutes of your time to actually visit Kachingle.com and check it out. We are not in private hidden beta. We are fully launched in production with 130 sites already participating along with hundreds of Kachinglers.

    Our site has an extensive FAQ/Help section and our blog is chock-full of additional info at http://blog.kachingle.com.


    Cynthia Typaldos
    Founder, Kachingle
    http://www.kachingle.com/k/1 (my Kachingle profile)

  2. AvatarRobin Good

    Thanks Sepp for sharing this. It shows how much you care for the emergence of a system that allows also the small voice to get some economic support.

    As I said to you last time we discussed this, I don’t think it is going to work. But NOT for reasons of transparency or lack of it, but because of motivational reasons.

    My take is that it will be the small guy that will have to move toward the money, by learning how to communicate more effectively and how to make his know-how sellable to those interested, rather than the emergence of new and more effective micro-payment systems, which have little or no impact on the sustainability of an individual.

    I rather expect soon to see a system of trust- and influence-credit-assignment that will allow anyone to transfer credit and value, in very small amounts, to anyone else online, based on the appreciation for the work or information sharing activity done. The value of links that has become the economy of Google rankings will be moving and integrating social credit in ways that will definitely affect also your potential economic value.

    I may be wrong, and I know nothing, but this is what I see. 🙂

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