Feb 12, 2008 Lookatme, I'm Web 2.0!
Paul whats-his-face and the Y Combinator team (in my most sincere stalker/admirer voice: “Hiiiiiiii, I’m a huge fan! “) funded the newly launched TipJoy.com. Created by founders Abigail Kirigin and Ivan Kirigin, TipJoy’s concept is basically a tip jar for IOUs.
In the past, I’ve always found the concept of a tip jar for content creators and software developers kind of limited. And as a content creator (who’s also dabbled in software and mod development), everytime I put up a tip jar to collect donations I feel like a bum on the virtual corner of the internet street market. I may need to deal with my own demons, but the collection of such donations never felt guilt free.
As for the limitations of tip jars in the past, there needed to be a middle man to perform the transaction. The person sending and the person receiving the monetary “tip” both needed to have an account to transact the funds. Often through Paypal, and later through Amazon, these micropayments were rarely big enough to justify a transaction fee.
In the past I wrote about Billmonk, an IOU processor as opposed to a payment processor. The beauty of working with IOUs is the requirement for currency to be immediately available is eliminated. It serves as a record, and in many cases, IOUs in both directions of parties involved tend to cancel out past IOUs. (Or they continue to build up until one party needs to redeem his/her IOUs before continuing transactions). This model is very similar to the concept that TipJoy adapts. If you like something enough, you can leave a tip for the person that generated the content. It can be in any amount from 5 cents on up.
You do not need to have a positive balance to leave a tip. You can pay at a later date, or any tips you receive can be used to build up your balance to leave tips for other content creators. If you decide you want to cash you, you can use your positive balance for an Amazon gift card or donate it to charity.
Or you can do what I plan on doing: keep a positive balance to reward creators of great content with generous tips. Yes, this is a company that I really want to see succeed. They have the philosophy model that I can believe in. I’ve added their tip button to my site, and will add it on individual posts in the near future. If you ever come across any content of mine you like, feel free to donate a few cents here or there. My contributions will go to other authors who I feel have provided the net community with something of value. It’s my way of paying back a community I’ve become quite passionate about.