Tip jars, “Donate” buttons, and similar funding options for the struggling free content provider are nothing new. They rarely work, however. Once in a while, something comes along that actually works. Kachingle is one that has potential to be the best way for many to monetize their efforts.
When you sign up to Kachingle, you opt to pitch in $5 a month (from PayPal, a credit card, whatever). That $5 is then spread amongst your favorite sites, which you choose in a Digg-style button discovery format. So if you have three favorite sites: an e-news service, a weekly DIY home improvement site, and a daily blogger (and each of them are Kachingle sites displaying the logo), your $5 can be spread between the three that you’ve selected.
The breakdown isn’t bad either. 10% each goes to Kachingle and to PayPal (between fees for your payment to Kachingle and the fees the site owner pays to receive PayPal as well). The remaining 80% is split between your choices evenly, so each site gets $1.33 each every month. That doesn’t sound like much, but if the site owner could multiply that by 100 people, that’s easily covering his costs.
I only have one problem with Kachingle, other than it’s relative newness and thus lack of popularity (so far). My problem with Kachingle is that its model benefits PayPal the most. Basically, the eBay-owned company gets paid twice for each transaction: once in the input (users paying into Kindle) and once again when Kindle disburses funds to the sites in its network. Perhaps when Kachingle has gained some userbase, they’ll be able to negotiate a deal with PayPal to reduce or eliminate some of those fees.
Otherwise, the site just needs some active participation from more users and it will definitely go places.