Tipping online helps support quality content and services.
Most people say that they'd be willing to leave a tip for quality content and services online, just like they do offline.
TL;DR: Just as tips help subsidize the salaries of service workers in the physical world, tips can help individuals and businesses earn more money online.
The Need for More Support
People are working harder than ever and still often not getting paid enough.
In the last 40 years, wages have gone up less than 10% while worker productivity has more than doubled1. Income inequality has been called "the defining challenge of our time". Second jobs and side hustles are becoming the norm.
Many people are turning online for help2.
Some are creating websites, blogs, podcasts, newsletters, videos, and more. They're posting on social media and other platforms. These "content creators" are creating all sorts of content and they need help monetizing their work. And it's not just individuals who are feeling the pinch. Traditional businesses like newspapers are feeling it, as well3.
Online Monetization Options
Two of the most popular online monetization options are advertising and subscriptions*.
Ads dominate the web. They are the most popular way to monetize online.
Website viewers are becoming increasingly more aware of the costs they are paying while being subjected to online ads. Not only can ads can be annoying and detract from the content being viewed; they invade website visitors' privacy and even infect users' computers with malware!
To fight back, website visitors are increasingly using ad-blockers in the web browsers. This cuts off a primary revenue stream for a lot of websites. In fact, ad-blockers are predicted to cost the industry $35 billion in 2020.4
Subscriptions provide access to premium content or services for a recurring payment.
They are becoming more popular than ever5 and thus more competitive then ever. This competition is compounded when free alternatives exist (e.g. news). A clear and strong message that communicates value is imperative to convince people to sign up.
Notwithstanding, many people don't like to be locked in to such a commitment at all. Some will limit the number of subscriptions they have at any one time and others will never sign up for a single subscription.
The fact is, there is no silver bullet solution to this problem. No single monetization option is enough. Some combination is required in order to make sufficient income.
* - other monetization options include sponored content and affiliate sales, but these are not universally applicable
The Case for Tipping Online
Tipping is Additive
Just as tips help subsidize the salaries of service workers in the physical world, tips can help content creators and businesses earn more money online. It's only additive - offering an additional way for people to accept support online.
Tipping Reaches More Supporters
Many people simply do not want to sign up for another subscription. An increasing number of people are using ad-blockers4 to improve their web browsing experience. Some of these people still may wish to help support the content they value, but they have no option. These groups are not being sufficiently monetized. There exists a virtually untapped market of website visitors.
Tipping gives people another opportunity to help support what they value online!
Tipping Empowers Supporters
Tipping is ad-hoc. No recurring payment commitment is required for giving. Supporters get to choose how much and how often to give. They can even decide to give a different amount one month versus the next, which isn't possible with a subscription.
Tipping gives people the power to choose how much and how often to give.
Tipping Converts Fans to Supporters
There are far more people who leave "likes" and comments on content than those who become a customer. Some of these fans and followers may be willing to leave a tip to show their appreciation for content, creators, and businesses that they really value. Why not offer this opportunity? After all, likes and page views don't help pay the bills.
Tipping can help turn page views and likes into real money!
Tipping Encourages Generousity
By and large, people are generous. Americans gave $410 billion to charities in 2017.6
1 - https://www.epi.org/publication/understanding-the-historic-divergence-between-productivity-and-a-typical-workers-pay-why-it-matters-and-why-its-real/
2 - https://hostingtribunal.com/blog/blogging-statistics/
3 - https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/01/circulation-and-revenue-fall-for-newspaper-industry/
4 - https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/ad-blocking-stats
5 - https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/04/why-newspaper-subscriptions-are-on-the-rise/
6 - https://nonprofitssource.com/online-giving-statistics/