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Friday, October 29, 2010

The internet street performer

One wintery afternoon, after sorting through our books due to excess pressure on the bookshelves, we decided that the “How to live your life” section had to go. It was an impressive collection, of mostly dust catchers, except for “How to be Idle” by Tom Hodgkinson - The only book in this section which had actually been read from start to end and by multiple readers.

“Stop consuming, start producing” is Tom’s core message: Get away from the telly and your boring job and rather spend your time creating and doing things. Become part of the (real life) community again. Learn to play an instrument, grow vegetables or write a book. Try and make a living from your own resources, rather than being a slave of some corporation.

We tried to do/learn these things on various levels over the years, but as our craftwork skills are rather chaotic, and we do not have green figures, the ukulele playing bouts are rare and sporadic… we got to thinking, what are we good at? How can we get something up and running away from shirts and ties, morning meetings, empty coffee pots and do something which really moves us?

Brian then had the idea: Being more the electronic musician, he had always found it "unfair", that “physical instruments players” could just go into town, entertain a random crowd of people and make some money from it. So why shouldn’t somebody who puts his/her music on the internet be able to the same? With scores (intended pun) of sites out there hosting DIY music, the only thing missing is the ability the receive tips.

The internet street performer
Original artwork from:Street Singer (Flickr) / CC BY 3.0)

We want to give the internet street performer a platform for their guitar cases, hats and tip jars.

Many out there might be saying: “But hey, I can easily send money using PayPal, Moneybookers, or ClickAndPay !” That is true, but these payment services often don’t support sending small amounts of money or the cost of the transaction will be higher than the amount the recipient actually receives. These services are all about sending “substantial” amounts of money: We’re talking five Euros/Dollars and above. We believe that many buskers out there would appreciate receiving small amounts of money. Right now the buskers audience can’t dig in it’s pocket, get out some spare change and fling it into the hat.

And that is what YouTipIt is about: YouTipIt will essentially be your prepaid tipping pocket money.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Public Beta Release – Preventing Fraud

We have put a lot of time and effort into YouTipIt over the last few months and we are aware that we still need to put a lot more work into it. Especially the bit which will protect us and your money against all the kinds of fraud which are out there on the internet. Fraud on the internet is a huge problem, and is probably the main reason why so many attempts at micro-payments/donations have failed. Many payment solution providers solve this problem, by simply adding a huge fee on each transaction, thereby being able to put money aside to swallow problems. At the end of the day though, it is you, the user of these payment system, who is helping the fraudsters make a living.

The main changes which you can expect in the next weeks, will involve mechanisms to protect against fraud. We are currently in the process of getting these legally verified and will post these changes here in the blog when they are implemented.
We’ve decided to go public a lot earlier than initially planned, mainly because we realized that we need to get out of our ivory tower and start getting in contact with all you buskers and tipsters out there. We are awaiting your feedback on all aspects of our system. Especially, if you see loopholes where we aren’t covered, then please contact us.
The beta is fully functional and you can use real money. Currently we are only offering PayPal as a payment service, but we are investigating on getting a few alternatives on board.

Short outages may take place and as we adjust and improve the system. So please bare with us, we will take good care of your money!

Your YouTipIt Team

Moday morning: the new office

It is Monday we have moved into the new office