Chicago startup aims to turn blogs into moneymakers

January 07, 2013|By Zara Husaini @zarhus | RedEye

Len Kendall and his longtime friends Tyler Travitz and John Geletka had two principles in mind when they created their soon-to-launch startup.

“We wanted something that’s beneficial to the world but that’s also a sustainable business.”

The solution the three West Town residents came up with is CentUp, a service that will allow fans of online content to donate money to its creators with the simple click of a button.

Here’s how it works: Anyone with a web site and a basic knowledge of HTML can have a CentUp button installed on his or her site (it works exactly the way a Facebook "like" button works).  If someone who visits the site is impressed, he or she can simply click on the button and donate money--even if the amount is as low as 2 cents. Half of the money goes to the content creator, while the other half goes to one of six charities chosen by CentUp’s team.

Users on both ends have to have CentUp accounts. If users plan to donate, they can buy a certain amount of credit attached to their account and keep donating with that credit until they’ve used it up. The card will only be charged when users buy the credit, not every time they donate.

“We don’t charge like, 2 cents every time you donate because credit card fees are about 30 cents,” Kendall said.

“The primary users will be bloggers,” Kendall said.

He’s already heard from several bloggers who are interested in installing buttons on their sites. He suspects the service will be popular with bloggers who focus on international news and social issues. Musicians and photographers are expected to be big users of CentUp too.

Kendall said he expects CentUp to launch sometime in February.

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