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So, I propose a simple system.
First, you sign up for an account at "Give this guy money."
Optionally, you can install the "Give this guy money" toolbar. You deposit money into your account. At any given site, you can click a button and give the webmaster any amount of money from your account (no
minimum payment, but probably a minimum payout to authors if they want payment by check or whatever). Money could be given anonymously or not, but all donations to a site could, if allowed by the webmaster, be publicly visible, and could also be accessed via API.
The system will keep track of all sites currently registered and will attempt to contact webmasters of sites which were given money who are not currently listed. Webmasters could also choose to have any monetary gifts redirected to their paypal account. Sites could also choose not to accept money through this system, in which case the money would return to the user's account. Webmasters could also create custom donation setups which allowed users to pick who to give the money to, in the event a site had more than one potential recipient. Finally, webmasters could also choose to redirect their donations to a charity, though taking the money and donating it yourself is probably better if you want the deductions.
1. This type of system is self-supporting via interest on money left in an account (though obviously it there'd be a CC fee).
2. This type of system is able to handle micropayments internally and thus without fees.
3. Users with "Give this Guy Money" accounts could, when a sudden urge to give a random webmaster money struck, do so without the high cost of using the webmaster's built in donation system.
I've sometimes had the urge to give random people on the internet a little money (i.e. because I like their website or whatever), but I'm generally too lazy to go through the effort of figuring out what I need to do to offer such money, and don't really like Paypal that much for this purpose, since Paypal only works if the webmaster has a donate button which was setup using Paypal.
Basically, this system tries to make things more convenient for donators at the cost of causing minor inconvenience for webmasters.
Opt-in, not opt-out (and I think that's better); slightly micro-payment-y. [jutta, Feb 02 2009]
||An accountant's nightmare to be sure! Not to mention somewhat condescending to the webmaster. If as a webmaster feels he or she wants donations and asks for them, all well and good; but to assume that your monetary gift is of value to a webmaster who's not indicated as such is assuming a lot. In particular, it assumes that the webmaster lives his life around the amassing of money.
||[vvv] maybe the webmaster would put somthing similar to robot.txt on his site to let people know he doesn't want their money. I personally would love this system!
||(-) What vvv said. It's condescending (and financially naive, in thinking that you could finance it by bank interest).
||Transactions are always two-way, you're getting attention or expressing interest - something.
Most of us are not asking for money. We shouldn't have to do something explicit to make sure that we're not panhandling.
Taking money already has administrative overhead for the recipient (taxes, notification, cashing the cheque, etc.); first opting in seems minor by comparison.
||By donating to the sites who ask for donations, you're already helping create a climate in which being creative for money is a way of making a living; that climate is making things easier for everybody, whether they ask for money or not. Go feel good about that, whatever it is you're reading at the time.
||hmmm, seems like we have some money laundering concerns about this idea.