Kachingle is not a destination site. It’s a tool for Kachinglers to create vibrant online personas that reflect who they are through their behavior of supporting sites they value.
What are Kachingle’s Guiding Principles?
Because Kachingle is a crowdfunding system, and Kachinglers are making voluntary contributions, Kachingle is designed to be for users, and about users. Our Guiding Principles:
- no mental transaction costs
- tap into existing social networks
- financial transparency
- fun, entertaining, like a game
User-centric means we always take the side of the users, not the producers, and not even Kachingle itself.
These principles guide every design, policy and business decision. For instance, given that users are voluntarily paying for something that is free, we feel they need to get something in return. We enable our users to build a powerful real-time persona around the producers that they support. The users get recognition for supporting free stuff. This also means we let them choose how they want to build this reputation – they can use their real name, a made-up name, a special name on a site-by-site basis, or be completely anonymous.
And as another example, it means that our widget, what we called the Medallion, is designed to contain a “voice” so that it makes sense for a user to be associated with it. For instance, as a user I want to be able to show others that I value (and support) a sepcific Site, or a specific author on that Site. On the Kachingle blog a user can support the whole blog, or/and just the posts of one author! The Medallion is designed this way because it’s what makes sense from a user-centric Point of View.
“No mental transaction costs” means that for our users, we figure stuff out for them and make it super-easy to use the system.
Now, when I talk about users I don’t mean early adopters. I don’t mean bloggers. Those kinds of people will jump thru hoops and even enjoy doing so. But for “social payments”, for Kachingle, to become successful, and for online producers to make real money, ordinary people have to become users. Ordinary people don’t want to be fooling with filling accounts (that’s why we do subscriptions), or worrying about how much money to contribute (that’s why we only allow $5/month initially), or actively managing their money flow to reduce PayPal or other payment system transaction fees (we manage all of this for them).
Ordinary people just want a very, very simple system that is “fair” based on their values. And that pretty much runs automatically with very little effort on their part. That’s also why with Kachingle the user just has to turn on our Medallion once, to add it to their list, and then we do the rest (by counting daily visits). Constant button pushing and turning stuff off and on is just too much trouble – digg for example after 6 years at $40M in investment only has about 250K active diggers.
Leverage social networks means we are not building a destination site.
We are a background service and will become visible on Twitter, Facebook and other places where users congregate with their colleagues and friends.
So you won’t see us attempting to displace these wildly popular social networking tools but rather augment them with real-time real-life online consumption behavior.
We believe that when users are making voluntary contributions for free stuff they have a right to know how much money that producer is making. But even more important, we’ve built into Kachingle a bullet-proof mechanism such that every single user can prove that every single penny was appropriately distributed. We call this part of the Kachingle invention “outsourced auditing”. What this means is that when each user’s $5 is distributed to the sites they selected (at the end of their month, based on usage), both the user, and the sites, and in fact the entire world, see the same page of where the money came from and where it went. So it can easily be proven that the money that came into Kachingle from that user went to the sites they selected since otherwise those numbers could not be displayed on the same page – they wouldn’t add up properly!
Kachingle is meant to be fun, not work. We don’t want people to be agonizing over how to spend $5/month! Or even when we allow them to put in more money. It can never be that they have to think about how to distribute it. It just has to be fair. Of course it’s always fun to see what you are doing – it’s fun to see what your friends are doing. Over time we plan to add a lot of game type of features to Kachingle, primarily as part of our Twitter and Facebook applications.