Open Salon: Blog for Tips

Filed as Features on August 11, 2008 3:15 pm

Open Salon is out in beta, and it appears to be a pretty decent idea at first. Basically, it is an opportunity for you to get a hosted blog, much like WordPress.com or Blogger (should you still want to use that one), but with two nice little extra features:

  • More coverage, both on the Open Salon front page, which updates with a new “issue” daily, being selected stories from the bloggers, and in the future, from Salon.com itself.
  • You can earn tips, being money paid by generous readers of your excellent posts.

The latter is interesting, but also a bit scary.

Tips range from $0.01 to $1,000, although most of it should be in the $1 range I’d reckon. The tipping, or payment if you will, is handled by Revolution MoneyExchange, and you get $10 to tip away with if you sign up for the beta. Of course, if someone wants to claim the money you’ve tipped them with, s/he’ll has to sign up as well. A clever way to get users, and possibly give PayPal a little nudge, perhaps.

So if you get started, you get $10 to tip with, and it seems easy enough to tip away. But then what, when the $10 is up, will you still tip for good content?

My guess is no, at least not more often than you click a Donate button on a blog, just because it wrote something good. In fact, I’d like to voice the same concerns, if you’d call them that, as JR Raphael over at The Inquisitr:

Blog networks may be notorious for paying tiny percentages, but at least they’re paying something to the people who give them content. This system might seem more reasonable if it were to provide some kind of base compensation, even if a small one, onto which the tips would be added. As it stands, though, the model sets a dangerous new precedent for how mainstream(ish) media could approach the Web 2.0 world.

That doesn’t mean that I think that Open Salon is doomed, no, on the contrary, I think it has some potential. There is always people looking to break through, and Open Salon, with its proposed content picks and pushes, might end up being a good way. And after all, perhaps the readership is adult and caring enough to tip as well? Or, as Caroline McCarthy wraps up her CNet post:

But the idea of this might make me inclined to write something of decent quality for Open Salon and see if I get some pizza money in return. Especially if I knew that Bill Gates were reading, or something.

Curious minded reads up on Tippem, the tipping system, and checks out the FAQ before venturing into Open Salon head first, with great content that could’ve ended up on your blog. After all, that can earn you some ad dollars too.

Will you give Open Salon a go? What do you think of the concept? Tell us in the comments!

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  1. By David Krug posted on August 12, 2008 at 12:08 pm
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    I signed up will have to see if i can push traffic and pagerank around like a wunderkid.

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  2. By Thord Daniel Hedengren posted on August 12, 2008 at 1:12 pm
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    Keep us posted on that, David!

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  3. By Bryce posted on August 16, 2008 at 8:22 pm
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    I’m joining simply because I don’t write often enough to have a whole blog just for myself – and also that you’re more likely to get a readership through a site like this if you are a more sporadic writer.

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  4. By Rolling posted on February 21, 2009 at 4:32 am
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    Am only a year old blogger, however, I do like the look and feel – serious, newsy but cozy platform like a salon but in the long run if I had to pay to host my content, would leave. The way I see it, without the content bloggers provide, its just an empty room. Whether I get paid or not is immaterial as long as I get good readership and good read.

    That is for them to decide. If they get enough revenue from ad, news agencies, media, they could pay very good writers, that would enrich the environment and act as motivation for some people to work hard and not mess with space.

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  5. By Alicia Rudnicki posted on December 31, 2010 at 6:30 pm
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    Thanks for this post. I did just join Open Salon with the thought in mind that it might help me to connect with Salon. I don’t have a lot of time to read and comment on blogs, so I don’t know if Open Salon and I are doomed for failure. I was put off at first by the idea of Tippem. It seemed like I would be a writer beggar sitting on the sidewalk , rattling a can. Now my viewpoint is evolving. I see the Tippem as being similar to a hat that a busker would use for collecting tips while performing for free on aforementioned sidewalk.

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