A service that allows readers to voluntarily tip as many news sites as they want launched publicly last month, and the money is already rolling in. Not.
According to the Chicago Reader, Kachingle, which is a new service that combines crowdfunding and social networking, the product isn’t yet “the wave of the future…The scale of the profits might astonish you. To the World Security Institute’s four-year-old Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, $54.95. To the veteran Center for Investigative Reporting, $20.86. To the Boulder Daily Camera, $22.45. And to the hottest site of them all, Carta.info, $117.16.”
Here’s how it works: Users who want to support their favorite sites sign up and agree to let Kachingle charge $5 a month to their credit card. Then at the end of the month, that $5 is divided equally among the sites you’ve visited and become a “fan” of through Kachingle. Could it add up? Certainly. Has it? No, but remember, the site’s only been up a month.
Steve Outing, formerly a columnist at Editor & Publisher Online and now a consultant/blogger on new media issues, is currently in the lead for most money made from Kachingle, which makes us think that the people who have signed up for Kachingle are fellow media people. But again, only a month. As of March 15, he’d made $85 through the site, and he pocketed $65.08 (10 percent goes to Paypal for transaction fees, and 10 percent goes to Kachingle; the remaining money goes to the site owner). Now, a month later, he’s up to $102.
One modest payment proves nothing, of course, but the amount is more than I expected during the beta period. And I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t even blogged that much, so my blog traffic has been low (and earning money from Kachinglers is dependent on them visiting your site or blog). Looking at my Google AdSense earnings from this blog, for comparison, I note that the monthly figure is usually in the low one-figures.
While I have no expectation that Kachingle is going to send me large amounts of money each month, I do want to experiment and see if I can get it to work well for me. And if my little solo blog can bring in some money, then it might just give hope that the networked crowd-sourcing model has potential.
So now we wait and wonder if this new thing is finally the thing that saves media.