What if a little site you love doesn’t have a business model? Yell at the developers! Explain that you are tired of good projects folding and are willing to pay cash American dollar to prevent that from happening. It doesn’t take prohibitive per-user revenue to put a project in the black. It just requires a number greater than zero.
So, today I recorded a future episode of the podcast about this very theme (before I saw this post). I’m a happy paying user of Pinboard, one that even pays the extra money for the archiving feature. Not only do I believe this idea to be true but, as I announce in that upcoming show, I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is by sending, anonymously, cash to a service I use and love daily that has no outward discernible business model.
Here is my idea:
What if, 1% of the users of a particular free service of 36 million clients and growing, were to decide to drop $10.00 cash every month into an envelope and mail it to said service? What if that envelope had no return address? Perhaps there was an note inside that begged them to create a model to let us pay them to use the service. To make sure the service continued on once the bubble inevitably bursts and the VC’s take their payout and fly to the Grand Caymans.
My guess is that such a service would have to keep the money. Perhaps they would go through a couple of months of having their offices flooded with 300,000+ ten dollar bills. This might get to be a hassle so, perhaps, maybe, they finally get the hint and have a few million dollars of starting cash to launch a way for us to pay directly for this thing we use and love.
Crazy, right? Yep.
So, here is the address I’m sending my unmarked cash with the note in the envelope with no return address.
Tumblr, Inc., 35 East 21st Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY, 10010
I welcome those that care as much as I do to do the same.
Update: Forgot to mention, and I never ask this… Please reblog the shit out of this one.
Update #2: Why anonymous? Well, personally, I don’t want to give them any chance to send the money back. I want to force them to keep it. I don’t care if mine is the only 10 spot they get and David uses it to buy Pizza for Buzz and Peter. At least then I know that I bought that lunch and not some anonymous VC who will make them push some advertising model on us to get his money back.