As we have discussed today, traditional news outlets charging for access to their websites is great news for bloggers wanting to build an audience. One thing’s for certain – most blogs wouldn’t get away with charging, but what if you want to support your favourite blog with a small donation? New startup Sprinklepenny may well have the solution.
Operating under the idea that “Great content should be free but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support it”, Sprinklepenny enables you to support your favourite sites with small payments. You decide how much to spend per month – typically $5 – and they then distribute this to your favourite sites.
The service is currently in private beta and is looking for online publishers to come on board as part of the testing process. They aim to have 100 blogs and content publishers taking part before they open up to the public.
Sprinklepenny was founded in Manchester, UK, by Davide Bacci and Malcolm Jarvis. Bacci explains: “There are some sites I visit every day on the web and I thought why isn’t there a way for me to make a tiny payment to the site to show my appreciation, loyalty and to ensure they keep writing good articles?”
The system is designed to be simple and transparent for users. Users add money to their account every month and publishers add a Sprinklepenny badge to their site. As users travel around the web a cookie on their computer tracks the Sprinklepenny member sites that they visit.
At the end of the month the money in the user’s account is divided up and paid to all the member sites that they have visited. The more times a user has visited a site, the greater share that site gets of the user’s money. For times when users visit Sprinklepenny member sites that they don’t want to support, the user admin panel allows for individual sites to be removed from the list of sites to be paid.
By offering ‘money for nothing’, Sprinklepenny is likely to have no problem getting publishers on board. Getting paying users to take part may be a tougher prospect. Any startup that relies on the goodwill of internet users has a challenge ahead but Bacci is confident.
“New concepts like this can take time to be understood by people but I believe sophisticated and socially responsible netizens and web users will ‘get’ the idea immediately and see the benefits that can be brought once enough people are on board”.