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= "Social Cents for the Open Web".

URL = http://www.kachingle.com/


"Kachingle enables effortless user-centric monetization of online content and services. Many online content and service creators, from individuals to startups to giant media corporations, are unable to sustain their businesses based on advertising revenue alone. Kachingle implements a new business model for these sites that can coexist with, complement, or in some cases, replace advertising.

Before the internet, publishers set the price of books, artists and photographers set the price of their work, newspapers set the price of their subscriptions, services such as software tools set the price of their products. Some content has traditionally been free but paid for through advertising such as broadcast TV. But nearly all content and service pricing has been one or a combination of fixed price, subscription price, or free but subsidized through advertising.

After the internet, these business models have persisted but with some difficulty as the physical manifestation of content has in most cases disappeared. Electronic versions are trivial and essentially cost free to create, publish, and distribute. Additionally, the quantity of content and services has grown exponentially. Because there is so much content and so many services available, subscription fees are difficult to implement as consumers are overwhelmed by the choices, the aggregate cost, and the inability to connect price with value delivered. Fixed price and subscription price business models have suffered more than advertising, partly because they require barriers to access, which removes them from the powerful internet-based viral mechanisms such as links, widgets, and social sharing. But even advertising has its limitations online as it can be intrusive, irrelevant, or insufficient to support costs. Business Model

85% of all money provided by Kachinglers is passed thru to the Site Owners. 15% is retained to cover administration and financial transaction expenses. This 15% includes all PayPal and credit card fees." (http://www.kachingle.com/site/overview)


See: http://www.kachingle.com/help/howto

  1. "As a Kachingler who has downloaded the KachingleX browser extension, you'll see a purple bar containing the Kachingle Medallion across the top of thousands of sites you may choose to support. You may see other kinds of Kachingle Medallions embedded in the pages of hundreds more sites as well.
  2. To become a contributor to any site you choose, just mouse over the Medallion so it expands, and click the "Kachingle" button. The Medallion turns green, the Kachingler count goes up (that’s you!), and you're now kachingling the site!
  3. Each day you come back, the Medallion will recognize you and count your visit. (No additional clicks required.)
  4. Toward the end of your 30 day trial period (we'll remind you!), begin your monthly $5 Pay-Ins (via PayPal or credit card), and each month your $5 will be distributed among all the sites you've chosen to kachingle, based on how often you visited each.
  5. If you don't see a Medallion on a site you want to kachingle, use Kachingle Anything to add the site to the Kachingle network in under a minute."



"The concept of Kachingle was first envisioned by Cynthia Typaldos (the founder of Kachingle) in May 2003. The timing then was not right for Kachingle, because everyone still believed that advertising would pay for online content and services. While ad-supported business models are wonderful conceptually, they have not proven to be enough revenue by themselves to sustain most creative online work.

At Kachingle we believe the timing is now right for our voluntary crowdfunding system, as seven years later, the real costs and value of content and services are becoming clearer. And we consumers have also become creators, thru our blogs, photos, videos, and so on, -- we now know that we gotta pay to play. So many consumers (but not all, and we don't need them all) are willing to make small voluntary contributions, if it is fair, easy, painless, and there is something in it for us. And that's what the Kachingle service does." (http://www.kachingle.com/site/overview)


John Hendel:

"Why not try Kachingle's model? I agree. Kachingle absolutely is worth trying, and some newspapers such as my own college town's The Columbia Missourian have added a kachingling option to their websites. Good. I wrote for the Missourian years ago and would love any revenue to come its way (and in full disclosure: a friend of mine has, after I conceived this article, begun consulting for Kachingle part-time). The newspaper's managing editor writes that he has "small goals" for Kachingle: maybe adding the option will give his newspaper enough cash for an extra camera, for more public records requests. Hopefully enough people will donate to make those truly smart goals possible. Readers should always be able to donate money hassle-free. The idea is innocent, harmless.

Despite a heart with the best of intentions, Kachingle continues to struggle for acceptance two years after its release. As much as I want more money to flow toward journalism, several subtle problems cripple Kachingle and may create insurmountable obstacles to its success. The biggest challenges for Kachingle's tip-jar journalism:

The Premise. Where's the Incentive? The number-one problem, from my perspective, involves human behavior. Sure, the Kachingle monthly donation is small: $5, with 15% shaved off the top for Kachingle and Paypal. What will motivate people to sign up in the first place? While Kachingle does allow users to observe one another's donations, that alone will not supply much pressure to donate initially ... not unless truly everyone joins. No one likes to sign up for anything, least of all when it involves losing money. Especially in a bad economy.

Showing Off Philanthropy? Not Exactly Altruistic. One incentive, Kachingle says, is the fact that its users can flaunt their donations. Other people would be able to see, for example, that I donate to NPR and perhaps laud my choice. But isn't that public flaunting counterintuitive to genuine charity?

The Pressure to Tip Doesn't Exist Online. In a 2003 study on the development of social norms, one economist found that people "derive benefits from tipping, such as impressing others and improving their self-image as being generous and kind" (PDF). These benefits are all less tangible online. At a restaurant, we tip our servers out of gracious custom and because they might give us dirty looks if we don't. We don't want to feel cheap (the status argument) in front of servers or associates. We also tip because we see a connection between the money and service rendered--a connection much easier to make in person. And frankly, if a person is motivated enough to donate to their favorite news source, they probably don't need Kachingle to help them write the check.

Aesthetics Straight Out of the '90s. Kachingle still looks like a start-up. The site, with everything from clunky buttons to a barrage of obnoxious colors (greens and blues and purples, oh my), looks like something from, shudder of shudders, GeoCities--the opposite of slick. To create a new social norm, Kachingle needs better branding for better credibility.

The Attitude. Despite the admirable goal of putting money in journalists' hands, Kachingle has, from the web design to the business decisions, come off as surprisingly obnoxious at times. Even after the New York Times declined to work with the company in February of 2009, Kachingle continued to pursue the newspaper, attacking its paywall plan and "knowingly copied and uses each and every one of the Times' blog titles and icons," according to court papers." (http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/02/kachingle-and-the-limits-of-tip-jar-journalism/71703/)