The Concept: “Crowdfunding Sites You Love”

Recently, we discovered Kachingle (“a way for readers to choose and equitably share their $5 monthly contribution with the web sites they appreciate the most”), and were intrigued by the simple elegance of the idea.


How It Works

Users who feel that a handful (at the least) of the content they interact with online has monetary value to them personally opt to contribute $5 to Kachingle monthly. They can then “sprinkle” their $5 around the Web to their favorite content providers by clicking on the respective site’s Kachingle medallion (if adopted). At the close of the month, each user’s $5 is divied up proportionately amongst sites they’ve selected.

“Anything that can be digitized will be napsterized. Kachingle is a business model for the inevitable future of ‘free,” says the company's CEO, Fred Dewey.

While “better than Kindle, or anything else,” and certainly better than the free standard which many content providers currently have with their reader bases–it seems a pretty money business model for Kachingle, too. And we can’t blame them.

  • 80% to content/site providers
  • 10% to Paypal (providers receive payments via Paypal)
  • 10% to Kachingle

Why We Like Kachingle

First, we simply like the notion that people are willing to pay for something of value to them. (Latitude Research has written extensively on Radiohead’s In Rainbows album “experiment,” which implemented a pick-your-own-price model for fans–free included–and went on to rake in the digital profits nevertheless).

We like that if Kachingle, or another comprehensive, voluntary-pay model was widely adopted, it might raise the standards for content quality (or connect them more directly to the people actually engaging with the content); it’d tie content quality, user engagement, and user loyalty more concretely to revenue.

It’d incent (or should incent) content providers who are well-Kachingle’d to clear away some ad clutter (which might then incent more Kachingling), for a better user experience–in this instance, the “free” users would be cross-subsidized by those who willingly opt into premium engagement, rather than premium service add-ons.

Is access to your favorite blogs/sites a collective $5 value to you monthly? How can Kachingle better establish the critical mass of users needed to make participation feel yet more worthwhile? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Content providers can learn more about Kachingle and the Pilot Medallion Program here.

Kim Gaskins


Kim Gaskins

Kim Gaskins is the Director of Content Development and lead writer for Latitude, an international research consultancy exploring how Web technologies can further enhance human experiences. Her

Things I share: apartment, office, Boston public transit, chocolate chip cookies.