Gittip, founded by software developer Chad Whitacre, describes itself as “Sustainable Crowdfunding”. It allows users to make recurring (weekly) donations to other users, anonymously (the total donated/received per user is shown). Many of the top receivers shown on the site’s front page are open source developers or other community members. It seems to have had particular success with Python developers, perhaps as Whitacre shares that background.

However… I would argue Gittip is more akin to “crowd patronage”, “micro patronage” (microdonations/micropayments) or plain old fundraising.

Kickstarter being the canonical example, I would argue the following elements define crowdfunding, from most important to least:

  • Payments/donations from many people
  • Towards a specific amount
  • For a specific aim
  • By a specific time
  • With “rewards”
  • And an all-or-nothing approach (if the goal amount is not reached, no one pays).

Indiegogo differs from Kickstarter in the last point in offering both “fixed funding” and “flexible funding” (where campaigners will receive all funds even if the goal amount is not reached), but it is obviously a lot closer to the Kickstarter style than Gittip, which shares only the first point in common.

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