Micro-payment mechanisms, such as Bitcoin, have gotten a lot of media attention recently. In practice it is still relatively expensive and cumbersome to receive small sums. Processors typically charge both a percentage of the payment amount and base charge, such as $0.30 per transaction. iTunes, with its huge volume, can make good money on transactions of $.99 or even less – you can’t.
Why might you want small payments? Many content creators, bloggers, givers of advise, sketch artists, want-to-be app developers, not to mention candidates, causes and charities, don’t get enough $10, $25 or even $5 checks. They may get more, or at least something, by asking less if there were a convenient way to gather small payments.
If your browse-by visitors think your minimum contribution is too high and so contribute nothing, what can you do? You could still ask for a Facebook Like. A Like is better than nothing, but it doesn’t tell you much or pay for a beer to cry in. Suppose, however, visitors who do not open their wallets, could at least open their spare change purses and give a few cents or a small amount they set themselves. This would not only provide some marginal revenue, while you’re refining your offering or business model, but also valuable feed back on relative preferences and price points.
An intriguing new service promises to make it easier to “show a little loving.” It’s called appropriately douluvit (www.douluv.it). Users of the service can embed “lüv” icons by any item on their site. When visitors click on the icon, they see a range of options specified by the site owner. For example, the campaign could request contributions of say 2¢, 10¢, 25¢, or whatever the visitor wished, if she found an article helpful.
At this point in the campaign, any responses are non-binding pledges. Once a given visitor has accumulated $10 in pledges, she is required to make an actual payment by credit card. After a site has accrued enough paid donations, douluvit pays them less a 10% commission.
In effect, Douluvit aggregates mini and micro payments such that they can be made efficiently. This free service deserves more than a Facebook Like. It deserves a look.