A Different Spin on the Tip Jar

My friend, Jim Kukral is a great marketing guy, so he started working me on Scratchback late last year when he first launched it.

Scratchback makes the assumption (whether correctly, or incorrectly) that people who like what you do want to give something back to you. Regular people don’t want to make an ad buy, but they do want to say, “Hey thanks for the effort and giving me something useful.” In return, they get a nice place to put whatever message they want. It’s billed as fun. We’ll see. :)

While I agreed with him on principle, I was a little hesitant to put Scratchback on Technosailor for a number of reasons that hopefully can be remedied in short order.

Firstly, there is no API. I don’t want to go all developer on Jim. This is a pet project, I realize, but I’m going to give him the same lecture I gave Lijit, whom I am working with now and I still stand my ground on this point. I want to integrate the tool into my own site. That’s the same lecture I give every third party that wants to get installed or tested on Technosailor – give me the branding tools. Lijit did that by providing a cobranded solution that I push hard on every person I pitch. Check out the search, you’ll see what I mean. Jim, it would be really great if you give me a simple way to just get a bunch of links or provide some CSS guidelines for me to style my own.

Secondly, I’d love it if I didn’t have to add one more thing to my precious sidebar real-estate – especially since I’m trying to sell paid ad placement there. I’d love it if this thing could somehow be integrated as a typical “tip jar” concept at the end of posts. Like this post? Tip me. That sort of thing. Again, site integration is key here.

That said, it’s a great idea. I’ve installed the Scratchback widget in my sidebar and would love some tips. :-) Call this an experiment in social psychology. I’ll probably leave it up for a month and see how it goes.

Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

9 thoughts on “A Different Spin on the Tip Jar

  1. I agree with the need for integration — right now, it sticks out on your site like a sore thumb, and it would be nice if it looked more…technosailor. I think it’s an interesting idea, however, and will be checking back with you to see how well it’s working. Better implementation would probably appeal to a broader audience, no?

  2. Thanks for the review. We’re in beta, which to us is more about proof of concept. We’re using this time to gather feedback about what people like you want, and then we’re planning to build those things into the future.

    Our biggest request is for smaller widget sizes and custom colors, etc… So we’re building a custom widget creator into the next version. I also like your idea about having the listings show up under the entry as an option. So much to do…

    Bottom line is… we’re listening. Thanks for trying it out.

  3. ok, I tipped. We’ll see what’s what. I think it will look cool once you have ten people – but what happens when you get more? do we have to keep paying to stay up top? presumably yes…

  4. So Aaron, so far you’ve made $50 in tips using my widget, in 6 days time. That’s $8.3 dollars a day. (Minus pp fees and sb fees which are small).

    This is how it’s supposed to work. :) I keep meaning to do a custom design for your widget. I’ll try this weekend.

  5. Interesting. Glad it has worked out and you are earning with it though the amount itself might be small. Thanks for the review. Shall go with it on my blog too.

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