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Funding models for free culture projects?

DPic [PersonRank 10]

Saturday, May 15, 2010
9 years ago2,090 views

Originally discussed here:
reddit.com/r/freeculture/comme ...

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:
checkout.google.com/support/se ...

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:
google.com/moderator/#8/e=6a0b ...

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

9 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.com/

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"
web-owls.com/2007/06/25/google ...

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]

9 years ago #

Yes, flattr was brought up on the original thread i linked to and i posted it to blogoscoped as well
blogoscoped.com/forum/170811.h ...

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]

9 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.

google.com/search?q=paypal+hor ... [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]

9 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]

9 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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