Since the total donations currently exceed what I can earn on ads on a monthly basis, I have started to take my ads off the blog, that is, not accepting new ones. My ads are contractual on a 30 day basis. I did not expect this to happen so fast(!)

Jacob Fisker

Support RewardJS’ Innovative Fix a Bug, Get a Prize Campaign

We’re excited that RewardJS is using TipTheWeb to allow people to support their efforts in creating their “Fix a bug. Get a prize.” campaign— a new spin on getting developers involved with open source JavaScript projects by encouraging them to find and fix bugs for awesome prizes!

This morning RewardJS tweeted:

This week’s RewardJS sponsor is RewardJS. With a new TipTheWeb button on rewardjs.com you can throw in a few cents or a few dollars.

Update: Changes to Award Redemption Options

Every month we give monetary awards to the web publishers who’ve received Tips through TipTheWeb.org. We have made some important changes to our award redemption options which are described in this post.

We made two major changes:

  • Added the option to redeem an award by transferring the award amount to your account and use it to fund Tips that you make.
  • Lowered the minimum for redeeming an award via PayPal to $10.

Award Redemption Options

$1
$10
$100
$1,000
$2,500
Tip Funding Balance
Amazon Instant Gift Card
PayPal Transfer

TipTheWeb Tip Funding Balance

Awards from 5¢ — $100 can be redeemed instantly by transferring the Award amount to your TipTheWeb Tip Funding Balance and use it to fund the Tips you make.

Amazon Instant Gift Card

Awards from $1 — $1,000 can be redeemed instantly as an Amazon Gift Card and be used right away or the next time you make a purchase on Amazon.com.

PayPal Transfer

Awards from $10 — $2,500 can be redeemed by transferring the money to a PayPal account.

Note: for awards over $2,500 a check can be written and mailed to you.

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A Reason to Use rel=”author” Links

We just released new integration options for multi-author websites— this post discusses some technical details about these new features.

The Challenge

Our goal was to find a way to support websites whose content is created by more than one person, and have Tips to that content be attributed to the correct author for a particular page. A perfect example is a multi-author blog where several authors each write posts; we wanted a way for the Tips to each post to be received by the author and show up in that author’s TipTheWeb account.

We also needed a reasonably secure and accurate way for authors to claim their pages on a website so they could start receiving Tips for their content. Authors should only have to go through this claiming process once per website they contribute to.

Minimizing the amount of integration site-owners have to do is extremely important to us, and if possible, we wanted no aspect of the integration would be proprietary to TipTheWeb.

The Solution — URLs FTW

A URL can serve both as a way to identify the author, and as the place the author could claim through TipTheWeb. For instance, I could be identified as the author of this blog post by the URL: http://twitter.com/ericf and (since TipTheWeb has an integration with Twitter) I can claim and verify that I am “ericf” on Twitter in my TipTheWeb account.

Author Links

We have a URL that identifies the author of the page, and we need to put it in the markup of the page; since this is meta data, it should go in the <head>. It turns out there’s already a standard type of link element (though seldom-used) for representing the relationship between a web page and its author: <link rel="author" href="…" />.

Using the example above, the author link in the page would look like this:

<link rel="author" href="http://twitter.com/ericf" title="ericf" />

While a person is tipping a page we check (server-side) for the presence of an author link; if we find one, then that Tip will go to the author identified by the link.

An Aside on rel=”author”

The rel="author" attribute is stating the author relationship between the current document and a document that represents that page’s author, this creates a perfect mechanism for content attribution.

From the WHATWG HTML Spec on Link Types:

For link elements, the author keyword indicates that the referenced document provides further information about the author for the page as a whole.

What This Means for Websites

Website owners can create a semantic relationship between pages and authors based on web standards and get automatic Tip delegation just by adding author links to their pages.

Our multi-author website documentation and integration FAQs provide extra details such as overriding rel="author" link with rel="publisher" links, and how authors claim their pages of multi-author site.

We’re excited to see sites starting to add author links and we’re eager to get your feedback on our multi-author website support, let us know your thoughts and when you add author links to your site: feedback@tiptheweb.org

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Multi-Author Websites Now Supported!

Until now, TipTheWeb has supported two types of sites: 1) independent websites (no integration required), where Tips go to the site publisher, and 2) popular publishing platforms like YouTube, Flickr, etc with custom integrations to support tipping individual accounts.

Today, we are excited to announce support for a third type of site, ones which have content produced by multiple authors or contributors. A website like this can now be set up so Tips go to the individual authors of pages.

For Tippers:

In the past, tipping a website — even if it had multiple authors — meant that the publisher of the site would receive the Tip, and it would be up to them to share any TipTheWeb award money with any other contributors to the site.

Now, when you tip a site which includes TipTheWeb author information in its pages, you’ll be able to tell that the Tip will be routed directly to the author by looking at how the Tip is displayed— it will be marked with an Author icon, and hovering over that icon will show you the author’s name or ID:

Multi-Author Icon on a Tip

For Publishers:

Setting up a website to work with TipTheWeb as a multi-author site only involves adding a single additional piece of information to your pages — a URL representing the author of that page — and doesn’t require any custom JavaScript or any programatic interaction with TipTheWeb. In fact, the format of this data isn’t even proprietary or unique to TipTheWeb. Instead, we built this feature around a seldom-used standard, a rel="author"-type link element that you add to the head element of your HTML pages, like this:

<head>
    <title>A Page By Dave On Example.com</title>
    <link rel="author" href="http://twitter.com/davefogel" title="Dave" />
</head>

In the above example, we identify the author of the page by his twitter profile, but you can use any URL which refers to a site that the author could claim through TipTheWeb, like their personal website. (We are also working on a small additional feature that will let you use an author’s OpenID instead.) You can find more detailed information in our multi-author docs.

What Kind of Websites Should Use TipTheWeb’s Multi-Author Support?

While the decision to delegate incoming Tips to a site’s contributors is up to the website’s publisher, we think that most sites that work as a platform for their members to contribute or share content would be good candidates. In addition to multi-author blogs (which is what we get asked about the most), we think that, for example, recipe sites, media-sharing sites, how-to sites, art sites, product review sites, as well as news and magazine-style sites would all work best if integrated with TipTheWeb’s multi-author support.

Let us know what you think!

Support for multi-author websites is brand-new, so we’d like to hear what you think about it. Will you use it in your site? Let us know by sending email to feedback@tiptheweb.org

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Orbital Content — The Missing Pieces

In a recent post on A List Apart, Cameron Koczon wrote about what he’s calling Orbital Content— a term he uses to describe how people are using new tools and services (e.g., Instapaper) to collect, consume, and interact with web content they care about.

“The result is a user-controlled collection of content that is free (as in speech), distilled, open, personal, and—most importantly—useful. You do the work to assemble a collection of content from disparate sources, and apps do the work to make those collections useful. These orbital collections will push users to be more self-reliant and applications to be more innovative.”

If you haven’t yet read Orbital Content, you should do so now because the rest of this post assumes you have, plus the article is great (I tipped it)!

TipTheWeb addresses the issues of content attribution, ownership, and monetization which Cameron describes as “looming” over orbital content.

Cameron points out the importance of preserving content ownership and attribution, especially for content being copied.

URLs for Web Content Attribution

Attributing ownership to disparate web content seems like a very large problem to tackle. People are publishing to all sorts of places on the Web, including: YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, GitHub, etc., and to their own hosted websites.

There is one thing all web content does have: a URL

URLs should be used for attribution. Processing the URLs of all the places people publish is messy business, but understanding how to use URLs in combination with APIs and metadata you can accurately and programmatically assign attribution to content. This is why URLs are central to how TipTheWeb relates attribution and ownership of content to the compensation of authors and publishers.

Here’s how a Tip on TipTheWeb connects together a URL, attribution, ownership and compensation for a piece of web content:

Attribution, Ownership, and Compensation of web content with TipTheWeb

Compensating Web Publishers

"Today’s web environment makes it nothing less than a struggle to support content creators. We have unlimited tools for sharing and virtually none for payment."

Cameron’s desire to support the creators of web content is exactly what we are enabling. We’ve felt this pain too, and it’s why we built TipTheWeb.

Compensating the publishers of web content requires the content to first be attributed to the creator, and the content creator lay claim to their content verifying they are, in fact, who should be compensated. For TipTheWeb these are two separate processes that happen at different points in time and use URLs to tie both parts together.

Content attribution happens instantly while someone is making a Tip to some content. Tips are an amount associated with a URL that’s attributed to a site or profile that can be claimed through TipTheWeb.

The reverse side of content attribution, content claiming, works by having web publishers claim the places they publish online in order to receive compensation for their content, which are the Tips that other users are voluntarily giving to support their work. The system to facilitate this claiming and verification process is built on open web technologies, in most cases OAuth, and is usually just two clicks to complete and only has to be done once.

We hope TipTheWeb will be part of the new toolset people use to improve and expand the ways they interact with web content, while also enabling a new monetization model for web publishers.

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Tip The Web – the future for internet authors?

Penelope Else wrote a great article about TipTheWeb which captures our vision in Penelope’s own words.

Update: Improved GitHub Account & Organization Claiming

We’ve vastly improved the process for claiming a GitHub account and added support for claiming GitHub organization accounts1. The process for claiming all the tips people make for your GitHub projects and Gists is now just two clicks!

Claiming a GitHub account on TipTheWeb now joins Twitter, Flickr2, Vimeo, and YouTube which all use the open standard, OAuth, for a simple and secure account verification process that doesn’t require sharing your passwords with anyone. We’re happy that GitHub has specifically embraced the new OAuth 2.0 standard— which is much easier for developers to work with and made it possible for us to quickly roll-out these new features.

Watch How it Works

Get Tips for Your GitHub Projects & Gists

Claim your GitHub account; and the tips people make to your projects, gists, and other content you create on GitHub will be directed to your TipTheWeb account.

  1. GitHub’s API requires read/write access to get a list of an organization’s owners. We’re also working with GitHub on resolving two issues to make our process for claiming GitHub organization accounts even smoother. 
  2. Flickr claiming doesn’t technically use OAuth; but Flickr’s proprietary authorization system for apps influenced the OAuth specification.

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Building a Better Web, Together

We’ve just launched our first public release of TipTheWeb.org!

Dave and I have been working towards this release for a while, and we’re super excited to finally show TipTheWeb to the world and to see more people start to use it to support the stuff they like online.

Our goal is to enable community-supported web publishing. We think that giving the community of Internet users a way to financially support the web publishers that create the best content will result in a new positive feedback loop for the Internet, one that encourages an increase in quantity and quality of the genuinely useful content that has made the Internet such an amazing public resource.

If you want to know more about why we built TipTheWeb (and why it’s a non-profit), you can read our short manifesto: Why TipTheWeb.

Working With the Web

Dave and I knew from the beginning that TipTheWeb should work without requiring any technical integration for web publishers. TipTheWeb is built around the language of the Web, URLs, and a Tip uses only a URL to identify web content. TipTheWeb processes those URLs to determine who published the content. This means that you can tip stuff that you like even before the publisher signs-up with TipTheWeb.

We’ve also announced two major tipping features:

Tip Anywhere

The Tip Anywhere Bookmarklet streamlines the tipping process; you can tip, fund, and share what you’re supporting without leaving the page you’re on.

Publishing online doesn’t necessarily mean you have your own website. We’ve integrated TipTheWeb with the popular publishing platforms that people are using. Tipping works great on: YouTube, Vimeo, GitHub, Flickr, Slideshare, Twitter!

Tip Buttons

Publishers can place Tip Buttons on their website, which lets people tip the publisher’s content without leaving the page— the buttons work much like the Tip Anywhere bookmarklet does. Dave posted to our blog a great overview of our Tip Buttons.

Check Out What We’ve Been Tipping

Here’s what Dave and I have been tipping, check out our public Tip Streams:

An Invitation to Join Us in Building a Better Web

We’d love for you to join us in using TipTheWeb to tip what you like online and support the web publishers who spent their time making it available for free to everyone. Get started with TipTheWeb.

If you also publish/post content online, learn how you can be tip-supported by your audience— check out our overview for publishers.

Eric Ferraiuolo & Dave Fogel

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    Announcing TipTheWeb Tip Buttons!

    We’re super excited to finally announce a major new feature for TipTheWeb which we’ve been working on for a long time, and which is the #1 most requested feature from people giving us feedback: Tip Buttons!

    Publishers can place Tip Buttons on their website, which lets people tip the publisher’s content without leaving the page. The buttons work much like the Tip Anywhere bookmarklet does, letting users create a Tip, and optionally fund and share it.

    Here’s a large Tip Button that tips the current page: Tip This

    Here’s a small Tip Button that tips a specific link: Tip

    If you click on a Tip Button (try it out!) you will see the Tip Widget pop up, prompting you to choose an amount:

    Tip Anywhere WidgetTip Anywhere Funding Options

    Simple Integration

    You can read all the details in our docs, but one of coolest things about the Tip Button API is that at the most basic level, a Tip Button is just a URL to http://tiptheweb.org/tip/. You can customize the behavior of the button by adding query parameters to the URL, such as adding a “link” param to specify what the Tip should link to (which by default is the page the Button is on).

    There’s a small snippet of javascript to add to the page as well, and this enhances the Tip Button links to pop up the Tip Anywhere widget, letting the viewer create a Tip without leaving your site. But without the javascript, it’ll still work, falling back to a Tip form on the TipTheWeb.org site.

    Advantages of Tip Buttons

    One of the most important features of TipTheWeb is that you don’t have to go through any technical integration to get tipped by people- everything works using the language of the web, publicly accessible URLs, and TipTheWeb users can use the Tip Anywhere bookmarklet to tip your content.

    However, there are some big advantages to adding Tip Buttons to your website, both for you, your audience, and TipTheWeb:

    • Tip Buttons remind and encourage visitors to consider supporting your work as a publisher, at just the moment that they have enjoyed reading or seeing your content.
    • Not everyone who visits your site will be a TipTheWeb user (at least not yet :-) ) Tip Buttons work well for new users, and we make sure that we save the Tip they make in their account when they sign up.
    • Tip Buttons allow you to customize the Tip to link to a different page than where the button is. This is really useful in situations like blog landing pages, which show multiple posts on one page, but where you’d rather have Tips that identify the specific post (using a permalink) that the user likes, rather than just the blog host. This is also useful if you are embedding content like YouTube videos in a website, and you want the Tip to link to the YouTube video URL.
    • The Tip Buttons also give the user an opportunity to share their Tip on Facebook and Twitter. Doing so will promote your content to a wider audience.
    • Finally, Tip Buttons help to promote TipTheWeb itself, which benefits everyone by coming closer to realizing TipTheWeb’s vision of Community-Supported Web Publishing, where we all participate in making the internet better.

    Getting Started

    Take a look at our Tip Button documentation, or, if you’d rather skip the details and go right to getting Tip Buttons on your site, try out our Button Builder tool, which can generate copy-and-paste-able code to add buttons to your site. You can read more about our buttons at our integration FAQ page.

    Our Tip Buttons are brand new, so we’d love to get feedback from publishers to let us know how well they’re working. Contact us at feedback@tiptheweb.org

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