Now loyal readers of SlapStart know that I never judge. It’s not nice. Who am I to judge, really? But – if I may now judge – have you ever read those news stories about people who raise money online for really dubious causes? I’m not talking about raising money for, say, a charity, or to put a new Dewey Decimal system in a public library (very worthy.) I’m talking about, y’know, “help me buy a new pony,” or “I need a new transmission for my Audi.”
And the thing is, this stuff works. People make a site, raise money, and new ponies are bought, and that’s fine (I mean, I never wanted a pony. Really. Couldn’t have cared less. I swear.) But it makes you wonder: wouldn’t it be neat if there was a site for, say, artistic fund-raising purposes? A place where creative people – who, more than ponies and transmissions, really make the world totally awesome – and patrons can connect? A digital Italy where would-be Michelangelos can meet their Web-surfing Medicis? Well, that place exists. It’s called Goldhat.org. They connect patrons and “creatives,” and they are today’s feature here on Slapstart (cue intro music.)
Goldhat, in their own words, is an “online community where artists, writers and creative people connect with patrons who want to support their work. Users can post links to their very best content and receive donations from patrons who love what they do.” Ultimately, Goldhat strives to do what is analogous to curing the common cold: help artists, writers and creative people to make a real living from the content that they work so hard to create. That’s so cool.
So I went to their home page and was immediately drawn to their informative video. The video was supplemented by their 4-step process (seriously, people love numbers and structured roadmaps like this. It’s how we’re conditioned to retain information, and every site should have something like it.) The process is thus:
1. Register on the site.
2. Submit your website domain to Goldhat.org.
3. Verify website ownership
4. Submit links and start receiving donations.
Simple. Most interestingly, below the screen shot were two columns: Latest Donations and Latest Content. Now this is stuff I can get behind. The Latest Donations included micro-donations for very valid things like “The Buddhist Brain – The effect of meditation on the brain,” as well as photography projects. The Latest Content column, meanwhile, simply summarized the projects that one can donate to. I was intrigued by the aforementioned meditation content, and clicked on it (the screen shot is below.)
Above you’ll see (if you look really, really closely, or just click on the link) the project title who submitted it, the content’s website, and latest donations. Patrons, upon donating, can also add comments, which can be very useful to the artist. The page also shows the “‘Top Patrons” for said project, which kinda hints at the “name and shame” concept: other people, upon seeing they’re being out-bidded by other, more benevolent souls, may feel compelled to open up their wallets again. No one wants to be tagged as “non-benevolent.” Ooh, and one last thing: from the above page, there are are tags, or keywords. But in this case they’re affectionately dubbed Top Hatlinks.
So, all in all, a very easy, intuitive layout, and all for good, artistic causes. That said, I don’t want you to think I’m cold-harded, particularly when it comes to ponies. Ponies have brought untold joy to many children (but not this one. Not that I care. I don’t. Over it.) I mean, who’s to say ponies are any more worthy than a book on meditation? It’s not for me to decide; it’s for you, dear reader, and the free market that you’re part of, to decide. Which is why it’ll be neat to check back in on goldhat, to see where the money is flowing. I, for example, would consider a patron donation to a book project entitled, oh, I dunno, “Moving On: Forgiving and Letting Go of the Long-Simmering Bitterness You Feel Towards Your Parents for Not Getting a Pony for Your 10th Birthday.”
Of course, I wouldn’t actually read the book, or anything. It’s, um…for a friend. Yeah…a friend.
Goldhat died. We didn’t do it or see the one that did. Its fine contribution to the web, society, and posterity has been lost. Except for this remaining article and a few others scattered throughout the web.