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Funding models for free culture projects?

DPic [PersonRank 10]

Saturday, May 15, 2010
10 years ago2,437 views

Originally discussed here: ...

Alright, so i'm wondering what Google Checkout/Paypal could do (what features they could add) to better support funding models for Free Culture projects.

First is the basic donate to an existing/completed project. This is already allowed on PayPal i'm pretty sure but does anyone know if it is against Google Checkout's terms of service to collect donations if you're not a non-profit? Example: my blog has a donate button that uses Checkout, but is it okay to sell intangibles like "love and thanks"? It's not on their list of prohibited products: ...

Then there's also repeating (yearly, monthly, etc) donations and it would be nifty if that could be managed through Google Checkout.

Next is the threshold pledge system, where a fundraising goal is set and people make a pledge. Optionally money might not collected unless and until the threshold (goal) is met to ensure it doesn't go nowhere. There are third-party sites that provide this for an unreasonable cost, so might it make sense for something like this to be implemented directly in Checkout/Paypal?

What are some other funding models for Free Culture projects? It may make sense for a third-party to implement all of these features and perhaps even file as a registered nonprofit so that it can be a fiscal sponsor and make donations tax-deductible.

On a related note, vote for YouTube to allow viewers to easily donate to producers they like without forcing them to pay to download or rent a video: ...

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

If you don't yet know about Flattr, a social micropayment platform being implemented by the guys who created ThePirateBay, you should check out the video on their home page:

Flattr is currenly in a very limited beta, but I was lucky enough to get an invite code. I put a Flattr button on a few of my pages, including an article about "Google As Predicted in 1964" ...

You can see the Flattr button after the text of the article. In the first two weeks I earned the grand sum of 6 Euro Cents! This is actually a net loss, because to join the program you need to buy 2 Euros worth of Flattring credits per month. But for now, only a few content creators are members of the program, obviously the economics will change when they go live (supposedly a month or two away) and content consumers sign up too.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Yes, flattr was brought up on the original thread i linked to and i posted it to blogoscoped as well ...

It's a very cool project and i'll be adding it to my blog soon, but two problems:
1. It's non-free
2. It is a closed ecosystem

For normal donations though, can i accept them through Google checkout? I've already gotten a $5 donation but i haven't processed it because i want to make sure it's not against the Terms of Service

ianf [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

DPic, all payment systems are by definition "closed," otherwise they wouldn't be of any use. Without going into specifics, if all it costs one to use Flattr is the obligatory €2/month surcharge, then, at €24/year, it's a bargain [for international payments] compared to Paypal. The latter may sound cheaper on per-transaction basis, but not if one factors in the risk of having the account frozen, balance withheld on suspicion of fraud, and other well-documented horror stories involving that company; e.g. ... [About 7,310,000 results]

What in the Google Checkout's ToS makes you uneasy about deploying it for payment for services rather than (I presume) tangible goods?

DPic [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

<<all payment systems are by definition "closed,">>

Do you mean closed as in non-free (closed source), or closed as in a closed ecosystem?

<<What in the Google Checkout's ToS makes you uneasy about deploying it for payment for services rather than (I presume) tangible goods?>>

I haven't read through it all and was afraid of missing something. Guess there's nothing to be afraid of, thanks

ianf [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Closed as in ecosystem [as far as any ecosystem, including abstract ones] can be walled-off from surrounding ones. But you really didn't expect a payment system's firmware to be open source, did you?

I haven't read Google Checkout ToS either, so don't take my philosophical observations about its possible limitations for authoritative answers. Let's just agree on that the current state of worldwide small-payments systems is a mess by that and any other name.

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