tibit enables anyone with a website, at any scale to collect micropayments and/or microdonations ('tibs') from their users. This includes news publishers, charities, clubs, bloggers, or musicians; we believe the list of applications for tibit is truly endless. tibit users ('tibbers') can send tibs as gratuities for content they appreciate, or as access payments.
tibbers pre-set a personal tib-value within a range, and purchase tibs in bundles of 10 or more. Every transaction is for exactly one tib. tibbers set a value high enough to be a useful donation; but since they are also used as payments, tibbers set a value low enough to be spent without a second thought. The burdens of cost-evaluation and fairness-judging are avoided at the moment-of-deciding whether to make a specific payment; it becomes a near-instant binary choice.
The value of each individual tib is not revealed to the 'tibbee', forcing them to treat every tibber equally.
'The Micropayments Problem' is intransigent. We believe that the Internet has failed for two decades to produce a funding method that scales to the highly granular way that content and many services are now delivered.
➤ tibit provides a viable solution for both publishers and consumers.
Contemporaneous attempts to obtain payment for online published goods and services often have a very visible and negative effect on the relationship between publisher and consumer. Examples of this include advertising swamp, clickbait headlines, and attempts to recruit subscribers by completely blocking access to the very content the user most appreciates, whilst they are only part way through it.
➤ tibit re-establishes a method of casual paid consumption providing a natural bridge to subscription models.
We have found that micropayments have worked where there is a captive market, such as in-game, and there are some examples of 'micropatronage'; but we have yet to see a viable solution to the general problem.
➤ tibit goes some way to addressing Walter Issacson's plea that: "journalists ... again be beholden mainly to their readers, rather than catering increasingly to advertisers or other agendas".
The potential impact of a viable, widespread, casual, and multi-purpose microdonation and micropayment solution is apparent everywhere where content and services are either unavailable without a subscription, or reduced to being no more than a mechanism to bring eyeballs to advertisements.
Some compare micropayments to busking income, and for many this will be true. However unlike street busking, creative goods like music or photography can collect pocket change online continuously. Non-professional bloggers can raise funds to cover their operating costs, or even do so in support of a favoured charity.
We believe the range of use cases, and consequent disruptive impact, are wide and far reaching.
Substantial accomplishments to date
We have spent money re-branding 'tibdit' to 'tibit'. The website has a different look-and-feel that is more professional, contemporary, and attractive, and better explains what we do (this was a common theme before the new website).
We have begun in earnest using social media to gain traction, specifically targeted to people within our initial sectors.
With a small sales team we have begun signing up 'halo'-tibbees, including several major charities, our first free software (Notepad++) provider, and these will continue over the next few months.
By mid-January; in what may be a first in the UK, we expect a major UK bank to have approved bank accounts for tibit specifically authorised for the bitcoin purchase transactions we require to pay out tibs to tibbees.
We have filed a non-provisional method-of-business patent application in the US covering the core inventive aspects of our solution.
tibit collects 2p per tib paid. The space is inherently a volume business, and we anticipate requiring substantial volume to break even.
We believe that tibit's solution naturally includes a powerful incentive-driving viral loop or virtuous circle. However, like a two-stroke engine, a significant amount of initial effort is required to get it running. Except for loyal fans of tibbable sites, we anticipate that only once potential tibbers encounter tib buttons on more than a single site will most consider getting a tibit account, and purchasing a bundle of tibs.
The immediate focus is therefore on marketing and getting early-adopter tibbees on board, including promotions and giveaways, event attendance, and reaching out directly to smaller potential tibbee organisations such as local and specialist print-publishers.
Enhancements recently developed, and ready for deployment include:
Social media integration for tibbers. While tibit will automatically send tweets like "someone just tibbed something.com/article", the impact of an actual person announcing that they have parted with a payment (however small) for something online we believe is much greater than a 'thumbs-up' or an "I liked this" status update.
tib-value going to third parties. This feature supports both charitable giving by tibbees (for example: 'If you like my article, please tib; all tibs collected are donated directly to the Internet Argument Resolution Society'.) and also a reverse-affiliate scheme, where a 3rd party collects tibs on behalf of a community of tibbees they support, and deducts a percentage before forwarding the received amount. This may include converting the receipts back to local currency and depositing directly into tibbees bank accounts.
Use of proceeds
Key items of expenditure include:
Social media / PR : continue our social media effort (since November 2015), and PR
Sales : continue pushing for halo tibbee sign-ups (since October 2015), we are seeing good traction, and will announce in the press during January or February 2016
Continue 'basic' costs like office rental, paying developers, etc.
Full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u1SU870s0I
Characteristics of target market
Many publishers are forced to choose between giving their work away for free, smothering it in advertising, or forcing customers to subscribe.
➤ Newspaper publisher advertising declined by 3 billion dollars between 2011 and 2013 — An Annual Report on American Journalism by Pew Research
➤ "With newspapers entering bankruptcy even as their audience grows, the threat is not just to the companies that own them, but also to the news itself" — David Carr NYT (2011)
➤ "The holy grail of the internet entrepreneur is the micropayments space" —Andrew Hilton, Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (2011)
➤ “EUR15bn micropayment market by 2015 and 15% pa growth” —Value Partners digital media & management consultancy (2011)
➤ “Consider this as a future: paying small amounts to read, watch and listen to content online. It's a system called micropayments, and some believe it is the future for supporting journalism, and other creative content, on the internet.” —Dave Lee BBC News (2012)
We are going to market with 3 major components. Social media is a very important part of our plan to be 'out there'. We are still intending to integrate to users' social media, allowing them to publish their tibbing activity directly to facebook and twitter.
PR is the second aspect, and the idea that tibit will gain traction from tibbees placing tib buttons on their sites.
Finally, the sales team is working very hard at signing up what we call 'halo tibbees'. The intention is that these large organisations use their own marketing to attract their user-base to become tibbers.
We believe there are no current viable competitors in the field of casual, ad-hoc (i.e. non-subscription) micropayments and microdonations. The cognitive hurdles encountered with tiny payments have been well analysed and discussed, but seemingly to us not by most startups seeking to enter the space.
tibit has filed a US Patent Application covering our original, inventive method, which reduces cognitive costs to give tibbers a near-instantaneous, binary choice: tib, or don't.
Furthermore, unlike other contemporary microscale tipping and payment services using cryptocurrencies, our tibbers are not required to even be aware that tibit uses bitcoin: They purchase tibs in their own currency, using their existing cards.
There are competitors who overlap to varying degrees. Some indirect competitors focus on subscription models that may ultimately incorporate casual tibbing within their own products.
In our experience competitor examples include:
● fixed monthly spend, distributed equally between recipients
● focussed on microdonations for social good
➤ tibit: We believe tibit is all-purpose, commercially focussed; and users do not plunder their earlier tips to pay for later ones.
● each article is individually priced
● we have found that their success is concentrated within the Netherlands/Dutch market
● incorporates the content delivery platform
➤ tibit: We believe tibit is not just for articles; global; users define their own micropayment amount; we do not take over or interfere with the publisher-consumer interface or relationship.
● focussed mainly on microdonations/tipping, and requires tippers to have bitcoin
● tippers are required to decide how much to tip for every transaction
● over US$3.5M funding despite what we consider relatively minimal traction and a model similar to earlier failures
➤ tibit: We believe tibit is original, simpler, patentable business model; tibbers use familiar currency; two-click process.