As the founding team behind BitPass (the service that powered micropayments and paid subscriptions for digital content from publishers including Microsoft, Disney, Ziff-Davis, and the Houston Chronicle), we have long been interested in the problem of how to sustainably fund good content online. We believe that the growing willingness of people to participate in the social web now makes viable a new way of tackling this problem.
In the offline world, we can express appreciation to one another with a simple “Thank you” or “Thanks”. In the online world, thanking someone, such as the author of a helpful blog post or an important piece of journalism, is typically neither convenient nor helpful — writing “Thanks!” in a comment often requires you to login, which takes time, and adds little if any value to the discussion.
ThankThis makes expressing gratitude for good content not only easier, but also more impactful. Clicking the ThankThis button shows readers a sponsored message, which pays publishers and rewards readers with points for their favorite causes. In essence, clicking ThankThis is both a show of gratitude and an act of micropatronage, one in which readers donate time rather than money to fund the content and causes they care about.
If adopted widely, ThankThis could turn online gratitude into a powerful force for good.