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This article was published on February 13, 2008

Competing for tips: Tipjoy & TipIt.To (oh, and Paypal!)

Competing for tips: Tipjoy & TipIt.To (oh, and Paypal!)
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
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Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Founder & board member, TNW

Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

Last week TipJoy, a Y Combinator start-up, launched its tipping service for websites. User can add a “Tip Me” button to their site which allows visitors to donate a small amount of money to sites, blogs and services they like.

In a few hours another tipping service will launch: The TipJar launch forced the team to quickly finish their work. Although offers a similar service to TipJar their site looks a whole lot better.
The original TipJar service. Not live and according to the site “Transaction service re-launch is tentatively scheduled later this year (2007)”. Obviously the domain-name that all the others services wanted to have in the first place.

Y-Combinator start-up launched last week. Techcrunch still one of the most tipped companies with over $66 received in tips since the launch of TipJoy on February 10 (in three days). If a heavy traffic website with a loyal following like Techcrunch can’t make more than $22 a day (with 670k RSS followers no less) I think it will be hard for other websites to get serious money from tips. The front page looks like it is vulnerable for spammers. Some of the links there look spammy. You can tip as low as 5 cents and as high as $10. People who sign up can’t get cash, yet. Right now you can only donate your tips to charity or purchase an Amazon gift card. logoTipIt.To
Start-up launching today with similar tipping service as Site looks better than TipJoy. They accept money from Paypal (with minimum amounts of 3 EUR / 2 GBP / 4 USD) and are adding more options later. You can get your tips transferred to you as soon as you reach €30 EUR (20 GBP or €40). If you live in Europe they transfer via IBAN money transfer or Paypal. Other parts of the world can only use PayPal. They take 13.33% of the tipped amount (this seems to be incorrect. Unfortunately I can’t explain what would be the correct percentage. Read their FAQ: Fee Recovery System and tell me if YOU understand) when you decide to collect your tips. claims that this is just to cover the expenses of getting this moment through financial institutions back to you. The only way they make money is by collecting interest on money they manage.

Setting up is very easy and a variety of options for displaying a tipping button are available. They also just supply a URL which I can link to. My TipIt.To URLS is and this is my button: badge

PayPal logoPayPal Donation Buttons
A service everybody loves to ignore but has been around for a while as maybe the first working Tipjar is Paypal Donate. With a huge user base and trusted brand this might be more interesting than the other options. And you can convert your tips into real money here too. I couldn’t find a minimum amount which you can tip but PayPal takes between 1.9% and 2.9% of each amount transferred through PayPal and a minimum of $0.30.

It is difficult to choose from these options. Paypal is expensive, Tipjoy is ugly and doesn’t pay you real money. takes a large cut but looks good and at least pays you real money. Also Paypal is mainly focused on payments and PayPal Donation Buttons is not their core business.

The real question is whether you NEED to choose or maybe it is smarter to simply ignore these options. If you have a loyal following you probably have some traffic and can make more from ads. If you don’t have a loyal following these tips won’t do you much good. So why bother?

Well, because one can dream. I’m sure most bloggers would be happy with a dollar or two a month. Just enough to pay for hosting and maybe the occasional beer. For precisely that goal I have added a TipIt.To button to this post. Please (please, please!) tip us for our good work so we can get away from our computers and drink a beer.

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