Disclaimer up front: Jim Kukral, the founder of Scratchback, is a good friend of mine. Nonetheless, I’ve always been interested in creative and unusual ways for bloggers to make a buck while still keeping their focus on creating compelling content, so when Jim told me about his new startup, I was quite interested in learning more. The result of my questions to him are the interview, published here.
Q: Scratchback is a “tip jar”. Tell me what the purpose of a tip jar is for a Web site?
ScratchBack is an online “tipping” system. It allows you, the publisher, to accept tips and “give back” links or images in return (all links are nofollow). You name your price on your tips, and you earn money from every interaction through our easy-to-use automated system. It’s free to sign-up, and you can have a TopSpot widget on your website or blog in minutes.
Q: There have been many tip jar systems, from the “donate” link through Paypal that have been around for years to the “buy Dave a chai” link on my own web site. Why something new, and why now?
Actually, the Buy Dave a Chai is one of the inspirations for Scratchback, thanks. We just took it a step further. You’re still tipping someone, but now you get something in return for your tip. Why now? Well, as you know Google came down hard on webmasters selling text links. Scratchback fills a need in many ways:
- It’s a unique and fun way for to accept tips,
- It allows link selling to happen that’s safe and secure and Google friendly.
All links are nofollow so Google doesn’t consider them against their terms. Also, we’re unique because we’ll let the user customize their widget for their own site colors and graphics if they want to.
Q: Do you have Scratchback implemented on your own site, Jim? How’s it going?
Yes, I have the widget in use on many of my blogs, and of course on the Scratchback site itself. It works great! Visitors enjoy using it and participating with brands.
Q: Who should use ScratchBack?
It’s built for everyone, from small blogger, to HUGE publisher, regardless of traffic. Smaller sites or blogs will find that their TopSpots can generate some extra income that they might not be getting from other sources. Big publishers can use their TopSpots to allow everyone to participate on their sites beyond just reading or leaving a comment. If you like to have fun, and you think your readers like the information you have to offer, than this is something for you.
Q: How do you make money as a service? A percentage of the transactions?
Scratchback takes a commission from each tip to pay for bandwidth, hosting and administrative fees. The current commission structure is set for 90% for the publisher and 10% to ScratchBack, after paypal fees of course!
Q: You have a long and rich background with online sales and marketing. Do you see, down the road, a way to tie Scratchback into the affiliate world?
Yes, as a matter of fact, we’re having discussions with affiliate networks and merchants right now about integrating some type of affiliate offer either built into the widget design, or some other way.
Learn more about this service and even consider adding it to your blog, all at Scratchback.com.