• I am officially a Kachingler

    KachingleI first learned about Kachingle last year from Steve Outing. I thought Kachingle was a cool idea, waited for it to launch, and then promptly forgot about it. Then I read this post by the Center for Public Integrity today saying it joined Kachingle.

    Kachingle’s still around?

    Turns out, Kachingle has launched in beta, and at long last I got to sign up with a convenient service to pay my favorite blogs and news organizations. But so far, it looks like I’m one of only a relatively few Kachinglers out there.

    What exactly is Kachingle? You sign up with a Paypal account, commit to $5 a month, and when you visit a Web site that has a Kachingle badge, you can choose to support the site. Kachingle remembers your favorite sites, and your monthly $5 will be distributed among them, based on your surfing habits. Here’s a nice overview. I have yet to get a badge for my blog, but I signed up as a Kachingler to pay the blogs I like. (Update: Just got my Kachingle Medallion and already have some followers — thanks.)

    I appreciate Kachingle for its ease of use. Once you click on that Kachingle badge, paying your favorite blog a little pocket change is automatic and easy. That’s a big deal at a time when news organizations doing expensive watchdog journalism are looking for new revenue streams on the Internet.

    But to really work, a lot of Web sites and Web surfers have to know about Kachingle and sign up. And so far the top Kachingle site is … Steve Outing’s blog, with 53 people supporting it on Kachingle — including me. Outing has earned $65.08 during a four-month period from Kachingle, but it’s still early and he’s hopeful it’s the beginning of an upward trend. “I still have a sense that this model can take off,” Outing wrote. “We’ll see. I do know that individual tips jars on sites and blogs won’t be worth much; ask the Miami Herald.”

    I haven’t seen an explanation from Kachingle about how RSS feeds work into its business model. Do you have to visit the actual Web site to give a blog a financial boost? If so, bloggers will miss out on some profits.

    I’ll give Kachingle a chance and see how it works. I like the idea of making it easy for people to pay for online content they appreciate. But do enough readers care enough to actually sign up?