By Steve Outing
One of my strongest interests this year has been news and content business models, and how to pay for content that’s given away free online. As a blogger (and my professional interest as a writer, researcher, and consultant on news business models), I’m especially interested in the wave of new solutions for websites and blogs to attract money from volunteer contributors.
This weekend, Kachingle, one of the first of this new wave of voluntary-pay solutions I heard and started writing about in early 2009, debuted its service in beta. (Disclaimer.) I’m excited to finally see this concept in action, and find out if my gut instincts are correct: that some websites and blogs can make a tidy revenue stream of voluntary user donations (a.k.a., crowdfunding).
Image from Kachingle.com
It’d be great if you would “Kachingle” me, which means that you like my blog and writing enough to monetarily support it (along with your other favorite sites and blogs that will start using Kachingle). Note the Kachingle “medallion” in the upper right of all my blog pages and sign up.
Here’s the quick version of Kachingle for the first-time user:
- Via the medallion, you’d sign up for a Kachingle account
- This will entail committing to a $5/month Paypal withdrawal from your account
- That $5 will be shared each month among all sites that you like most (and are Kachingle publishers carrying the medallion)
- Whenever you encounter a Kachingle-enabled site, if it’s one you like and visit often, mouseover the Kachingle medallion so it expands, then click “Kachingle website.com”
- Your money will be distributed only among sites you’ve “Kachingled” and based on number of site visits by you
So, now as a Kachingle paying member, your money (minus Kachingle’s admin fee) will be shared by the sites you’ve “Kachingled.” No money will go to Kachingle-enabled sites that you haven’t opted to support.
I’m in touch with several other companies also looking for monetary solutions for free online content, including several operating under the crowdfunding principle, and you’ll see me test them out on this blog. Currently I have alpha versions of SurfShare and Payyattention on this blog, but both of those are still in demo mode; no money is being accepted by them yet.
I’ve tried out a couple others but took them down due to coding conflicts. As those developers get things straightened out, I’ll experiment with their services, too.
This is going to be interesting to watch, across the web. Will voluntary user/reader support represent much money for websites and blogs that try it?
I don’t think that crowdfunding is going to save the news industry, though it could become a nice extra revenue stream for web news publishers. I think that for some bloggers, crowdfunding using streamlined donation solutions like Kachingle could be significant.
So Kachingle is off and running. Let’s see the rest of you launch soon, and see what happens!