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Author Topic: Bitcoin Needs a "Tip Jar" Widget system like Flattr  (Read 9412 times)
Bruce Wagner
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November 12, 2010, 03:28:43 PM
 #1

Brilliant Ideas:

Bitcoin Needs a "Tip Jar" Widget system like Flattr

See http://blogs.forbes.com/parmyolson/2010/11/04/do-you-flattr/

Bitcoin also needs a really easy way to get into it.   Yes, using an ordinary credit card.

If the idea is presented as "a system for tipping" when content (blog articles and such) is appreciated,  then perhaps it WOULD be ok to hold back those donations for the 90 days that it would take to avoid chargebacks.

This brilliant idea could REALLY help Bitcoin's acceptance go mainstream.

The blogger, video producer, content creators, would naturally be attracted to the idea of adding an attractive little widget to each of their postings ( in the footer, like a Digg link )... because they'll hope To receive more donations.

From the Donor / Tipper's perspective:  The fact that transactions from credit cards --> bitcoin are delayed (held long enough to guarantee no chargebacks), should be of no major consequence.  After all, its a donation ---- not a purchase.

Check out:    Flattr

Ironically, it was created by one of the founders of The Pirate Bay.
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November 12, 2010, 05:34:37 PM
 #2

Yes, I agree this is the 'killer app' for bitcoin.  In fact I emailed Kachingle about it weeks ago and received no response.

Kachingle, Flattr, Rewrd, all of them are doing the same thing (dividing up a predetermined monthly donation).  None of them offer the flexibility of bitcoin.

A html widget that can be pasted anywhere, and modules for Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, and bitcoin modules that work like points/thank you modules for vBulleting, SMF and other forum systems are products that leverage bitcoins micropayment advantage over all other popular accepted methods.

I feel bitcoins big advantage in the marketplace isn't the anonymity as much as its miniscule transaction costs.  Building on that is the possible path to widespread, mainstream use.

Unfortunately I don't have the skills to build any of this stuff.  Sad


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kiba
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November 12, 2010, 05:55:42 PM
 #3

You could offer a bounty for such widgets to motivate hackers to code. It work effectively for the chromium extension.

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November 12, 2010, 07:43:58 PM
 #4

It is trivial to make this button using mtgox checkout:

<form action="https://mtgox.com/merch/checkout" method="post" >
   <input type="hidden" name="business"      value="Your MtGox Username">
   <input type="hidden" name="currency_code"   value="BTC">
   <input type="hidden" name="item_name"      value="Donation to Blah">      
   <input type="hidden" name="amount"      value="5">
   <input type="hidden" name="return"      value="http://yourdomain.com/thanks">
   
   <input type="submit" value="Donate BTC"  />
</form>


This will donate 5 BTC.

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November 12, 2010, 10:15:35 PM
 #5

It is trivial to make this button using mtgox checkout:

<form action="https://mtgox.com/merch/checkout" method="post" >
   <input type="hidden" name="business"      value="Your MtGox Username">
   <input type="hidden" name="currency_code"   value="BTC">
   <input type="hidden" name="item_name"      value="Donation to Blah">      
   <input type="hidden" name="amount"      value="5">
   <input type="hidden" name="return"      value="http://yourdomain.com/thanks">
   
   <input type="submit" value="Donate BTC"  />
</form>


This will donate 5 BTC.


 Cheesy  Well the technology is in place, now we just need the marketing!

I might setup a bounty for a vBulletin mod.  I'll think about the specs this weekend.

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Bruce Wagner
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November 13, 2010, 04:09:22 AM
 #6

I think what's needed is MORE than just a widget.

A big part of the winning idea.... of Flattr.... is the idea of ONE FLAT BUDGETED AMOUNT per month... no matter how many items you "like" (click on) that month.

What's needed is a WEB SITE...   where users can create an account, and give it a monthly budget.    By design, Bitcoin does NOT have a monthly recurring payment system...   So, I guess the site would have to allow me to load it up with funds, and then specify my monthly budget.   Then, as I click on many different blogs/videos/etc that I like...  It would tally up how many I've clicked on that month, and divide the budget amongst all those content creators.

In other words.   I go to BitTip.com (or some such name).    I create an account.   I specify that I want to tip $10 (in Bitcoin) per month.    I then send $50 (in Bitcoin) to the special Bitcoin address to "top up" my account.    But, the site would only distribute $10 per month....leaving the remaining $40 for subsequent months.   If I click on 10 widgets from 10 different videos, blog items, and other content on the web, that month...  then each one will automatically receive $1 (in Bitcoin).   On the otherhand, if I click on 20 sites that month, then each one will receive $0.50 in Bitcoin.   In other words, my $10 is evenly distributed among ALL the sites I click on that month.    As soon as my remaining funds fall below my monthly budget (I had established) for the following month, I am sent an email...  reminding me to deposit more. 

This same system could be used for DONATIONS as well as "Tips".    For example, I might want to click the widget on Charities or Causes.... like Kiva.org or EFF.org    Or on actual content, like a great new artist on YouTube or a podcast or a blogger...   It works for anything that you want to GIVE to.   Even churches or political causes!

Besides the insanely affordable transaction fees that Bitcoin offers (free).... 

Here's the Kicker:     FLATTR TAKES A 10% CUT FROM EVERY SINGLE TRANSACTION IT PROCESSES

Is it just me, or is that highway robbery?   

That just leaves a VERY BAD taste in my mouth.....    That this operation takes 10% of the LOVE that the cumulative collective consciousness of humanity want to GIVE....

What gives them the right to take a full 10% !?!?!?

So, I think that an actual site / system needs to be developed....   where one can create an account....   deposit funds....  set a monthly budget....   have an automated low-balance reminder by email notification system...    connected widgets for all types of sites (Think: Digg-style widgets for every blog item footer and sidebar)...  and an automated method of dividing the budgeted donations among all clicked sites for that month.

I know it's alot of work.   But Mt Gox has about 80% of this in place already.

It would have to be a separate name, with a very slick clean modern web 2.5 interface.    Easy enough for grandma to use.

Also....  It should accept normal credit cards to fund the payments.    Then, all donations that are allocated within the first 90 days from that credit card payment, would automatically be HELD back (delayed) for 90 days....  then, after 90 days, sent automatically.  (to prevent any possibility of chargebacks)

Because it's a donation, who can complain about the delay?   Really...?

I truly believe that:     THIS is THE KILLER APP for bitcoin's mainstream acceptance.

If executed properly, and marketed well...    including prominently advertising, "Why give Flattr 10% of all of your donations. We charge 0%  transaction fees."

Of course, the bank will charge some transaction fee on the initial deposit if it's made by credit card.  But that's not our fee.  That's the bank's fee.  No fees are charged on the actual donations.   And THAT could be enough of a competitive advantage.... to make people chose this method.   

"100% of your donation goes to who you specify.  (Not just 90% of it.)"
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November 13, 2010, 04:18:39 AM
 #7

But there is no monetary incentives for a system like flattr to keep running. Perhaps, .1 %?

Bruce Wagner
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November 13, 2010, 04:27:32 AM
 #8

If the entire thing is automated...  what's the ongoing cost of running it?   Could the site be advertising supported?    If not, I suppose something like 0.1% would be ok.   

Just think:   If this were to really TAKE OFF...  0.1% of EVERY DONATION ON THE INTERNET....  could amount to a LOT of money.
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November 13, 2010, 04:37:17 AM
 #9

The hard part is...execution.

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November 13, 2010, 06:58:30 AM
 #10

You might want to record the idea in:

http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1268.0
ribuck
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November 13, 2010, 12:02:28 PM
 #11

Here's the Kicker:     FLATTR TAKES A 10% CUT FROM EVERY SINGLE TRANSACTION IT PROCESSES

Is it just me, or is that highway robbery? 
I actually think that's quite a good price for the massive infrastructure that's needed for this kind of service. Compare it with, say, an App Store that takes 30%.

A Flattr-like system that uses Bitcoin would be wonderful, and I think the easiest way to get there would be to get the Flattr team on board. That way, each web page would still have only the Flattr button on it, but whether you earned PayPal or BTC would depend on what kind of funds the person who flatters you is paying with.

A Flattr-like system is only going to take off if it gains critical mass, and fragmentation will kill it. There would be no advantage to having a "Bittr" button on my webpage if only a small number of people subscribe to Bittr.

But if Flattr would take Bitcoin subscriptions too, there would be fantastic interest in both Flattr and Bitcoin. It would be a great way for newcomers to get their first few Bitcoins, by creating worthwhile web content.
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November 13, 2010, 03:23:30 PM
 #12

Quote
A big part of the winning idea.... of Flattr.... is the idea of ONE FLAT BUDGETED AMOUNT per month... no matter how many items you "like" (click on) that month.

Actually I thought that was the big DISadvantage of Flattr/Kachingle et. al.

Let's say I'm at a blogger site and happen to really like his most recent blog entry.  I might want to tip him 0.05 BTC.  That doesn't mean I want to tip him 0.05 every month.  Maybe I'll never come back to that website again.  I don't want to make a lifetime commitment, just say 'thanks' once.

A bitcoin-based system could also be used to unlock content.  Maybe I'm trying to find a solution to a problem I'm having with my car.  The answer is in some automotive forum where general discussion is free, but specific solutions are in a locked topic that can only be opened by a one-time 'donation' of 0.10 BTC.

The big advantage of a bitcoin-based system would be the ability to do ad hoc donations with minimal transaction cost.  That is a significant competitve advantage for bitcoin.  As far as I can tell, nobody is doing that currently.


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November 13, 2010, 03:25:20 PM
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A big part of the winning idea.... of Flattr.... is the idea of ONE FLAT BUDGETED AMOUNT per month... no matter how many items you "like" (click on) that month.

Actually I thought that was the big DISadvantage of Flattr/Kachingle et. al.

Let's say I'm at a blogger site and happen to really like his most recent blog entry.  I might want to tip him 0.05 BTC.  That doesn't mean I want to tip him 0.05 every month.  Maybe I'll never come back to that website again.  I don't want to make a lifetime commitment, just say 'thanks' once.


I think he means that it doesn't matter how many time you tip someone. You will always only donate a percentage amount in your flattr account for THIS MONTH. You don't tip him forever.

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November 13, 2010, 03:43:06 PM
 #14

Let's say I'm at a blogger site and happen to really like his most recent blog entry.  I might want to tip him 0.05 BTC.  That doesn't mean I want to tip him 0.05 every month.
Fortunately, Flattr (and kachingle) don't work that way. At the end of each month, they look at the pages you "thanked" in the past month, and divide up your monthly payment amongst those pages (after taking their percentage).

On Flattr, I donate €2 per month. If I "thank" one page in a month, that page gets €2 (less 10%). If I "thank" a hundred pages in a month, each of them gets €0.02 (less 10%).

The big advantage of a bitcoin-based system would be the ability to do ad hoc donations with minimal transaction cost.
The "transaction cost" includes the human burden of remembering and typing a password. That seems to be enough to stop micropayments being used by most people.

The Flattr solution (pay a lump sum, which gets "used up" steadily over some months at your chosen rate, and "click freely" to allocate your donations) works really well. It's the only model I can think of that can work safely and effectively on a single click.
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November 13, 2010, 03:53:11 PM
 #15

I get the convenience of 1 click, but do most people value things they find even roughly equal? I guess you could a flattr type thing for low levels of thanks and support and make a donation of explicit size for things you really want to support. It also seems to give an incentive for content creators to put a flattr button on every page or every piece of content instead of just one place on the site, right? Like if you can flattr every blog post they might get 7 shares from you in month instead of one. Or some big site might make more money if it disintegrated into multiple sites connected to each other so that it could get multiple flattrs.

I don't know exactly how it works though.

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November 13, 2010, 04:13:12 PM
 #16

Like if you can flattr every blog post they might get 7 shares from you in month instead of one.
Yes, you put a Flattr button on each blog post, right next to the content. If people like the content, they click the "Flattr" button. It takes about the same effort as saying "Thanks".

If a person is concerned that all the Flattr payments in a given month are of an identical amount, they can use PayPal to make donations of whatever size they choose. But ask any site owner who has a "Donate" button on their site - very few people will donate. What Flattr changes is to make it so easy to donate that there's very little disincentive.
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November 13, 2010, 04:38:47 PM
 #17

Let's say I'm at a blogger site and happen to really like his most recent blog entry.  I might want to tip him 0.05 BTC.  That doesn't mean I want to tip him 0.05 every month.
Fortunately, Flattr (and kachingle) don't work that way. At the end of each month, they look at the pages you "thanked" in the past month, and divide up your monthly payment amongst those pages (after taking their percentage).
You are correct, I have this wrong.  At least for Kachingle, the payout calculation includes the number of times I visit that site in a month.  However it does work in perpetuity.  So if I don't visit the site next month, but visit the month thereafter, they will receive a payment unless I turn off the Kachingle.

Quote
On Flattr, I donate €2 per month. If I "thank" one page in a month, that page gets €2 (less 10%). If I "thank" a hundred pages in a month, each of them gets €0.02 (less 10%).
Yes, you have to setup a monthly withdrawl from your PayPal, whether or not you use it.  This would be a bit of an obstacle for some people I think.

The big advantage of a bitcoin-based system would be the ability to do ad hoc donations with minimal transaction cost.
The "transaction cost" includes the human burden of remembering and typing a password. That seems to be enough to stop micropayments being used by most people.[/quote]
I think we're talking about developing a system that would have a central website storing some of your bitcoins, which you would then dispense to content providers.  Presumably this wouldn't require any greater login credentials than Flattr and Kachingle.

Quote
The Flattr solution (pay a lump sum, which gets "used up" steadily over some months at your chosen rate, and "click freely" to allocate your donations) works really well. It's the only model I can think of that can work safely and effectively on a single click.
It only works well if you want to allocate your donations based on a metric setup by Flattr or Kachingle.  If you feel one content provider deserves more than another, I'm not sure if they can accomodate that.

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November 13, 2010, 05:06:16 PM
 #18

... you have to setup a monthly withdrawl from your PayPal, whether or not you use it ...
Fortunately that's not the case with Flattr, and I wouldn't use Flattr if it worked that way.

You initiate a payment from PayPal to Flattr, for an amount of your choosing (say €20). Then you tell Flattr how to use that money (e.g. €2 each month). When your payment runs out, your Flattring stops unless you choose to initiate a new payment to Flattr. At no time is there any kind of automated or Flattr-initiated withdrawal from your PayPal.

Incidentally I'm Flattring €2 per month, and earning about €3 per month from Flattrs. I would love to Flattr with BTC instead if the Flattr guys would offer that option.
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November 13, 2010, 05:31:10 PM
 #19

First, a sidebar:   If it doesn't already work this way....   Flattr SHOULD allow you to double-click, or triple-click, or click a special button to "enter a higher amount"...  So that the donor could OVERRIDE the equally-divided-amount formula, and give this item-creator a set amount.    In other words, if I really really like something, I should be able to LIKE it twice, with 2 clicks.   Or like it thrice, with 3 clicks.   Or if I want to give EFF $25, I should be able to click a tiny "enter an amount" button to enter my OWN amount.

Now, HERE'S THE IMPORTANT IDEA:     Every one of us needs to contact the executives at Flattr and politely INSIST that they also accept, and distribute, Bitcoin... in addition to PayPal.   They already have the software and systems in place to handle US$, and Euros, and other currencies.   It should be almost trivial for them to add one more currency - Bitcoin - and one more payment in / payment out channel (similar to one more PayPal), called - Bitcoin.

If the execs at Flattr hear from ENOUGH USERS that, "Users are demanding that Flattr also handle Bitcoin."     It WILL happen.

10% of every transaction sounds great.   But 10% of every transaction, when the transaction fees are $00.00 is EVEN BETTER.

In other words, we have to convince them to add Bitcoin to Flattr, on these two selling points:

(1)    Users are demanding it.   Be the squeeky wheel.   Contact their support people 4 times a week to ask, "Does Flattr work with Bitcoin yet? No? When will it?"  THREE times a week.   Email them, but asking their live support is even better (assuming they have any live support).

(2)    They will make SO MUCH MORE PROFIT off of Bitcoin transactions.   By cutting out the fees of the credit card issuing banks, and the PayPals, etc.   Their transaction fees will be virtually ZERO.    Yet they could still charge their own 10% just the same.   ....100% of that being PROFIT.

If this were to work, and work well.    We wouldn't have to worry about developing any competing system.    Competing systems would come out of the woodwork...  offering the same thing but only taking 9%.....    The next one would only take 5%.....  etc., etc....

I think we need to all make a COMMITMENT to contact Flattr management 4 times a week....   and report back here.   Log your contact with them here, and let us know what they're saying.    They would really only need a few hundred contacts from "customers" before someone there would take a serious look into the possibility.  

We need to light a Fire at Flattr.    Smiley       ......a bitcoin fire.
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November 13, 2010, 07:39:33 PM
 #20

(2)    They will make SO MUCH MORE PROFIT off of Bitcoin transactions.   By cutting out the fees of the credit card issuing banks, and the PayPals, etc.
Currently the Flattr user bears the cost of the PayPal transaction. But all of your other points I agree with.

As usual, noagendamarket is quick off the mark. Here's his forum post at Flattr where he suggests allowing Flattr accounts to be funded with bitcoin. Please everyone register and reply:
http://forum.flattr.net/showthread.php?tid=550
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