February 13, 2009

TipJoy – Share Your Appreciation


Leaving some extra change in a tip jar at your local coffee shop is nice way of showing your appreciation for the extra service you received. If you take this same approach to the online world, things get a bit more dicey. There are plenty of online payment options such as PayPal but it’s rather cumbersome to use these services for very small transaction amounts. Worse yet, the fees imposed on the recipient will often eat up a good amount of your donation.

Enter TipJoy, a micropayment service who’s mission is to help facilitate small donations or tips, to worthy people and causes. TipJoy essentially works on a pledge system, meaning when you pledge to give $1 or any other amount to someone, they receive a notice that you’ve promised to pay this amount at some point. TipJoy then tracks each of these pledges and when you elect to deposit at least $5.00 into your account, TipJoy will then pay the recipients. The goal is to aggregate your pledges so that any transaction fees are spread across several recipients rather than lumping it all on one person.

The beauty of TipJoy is in the ability to promote causes or services without requiring payment up front or having any minimum transaction amount. Many of the traditional challenges faced in fundraising simply disappear. Additionally, the service ties closely with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Practical Uses:

  • Raise money for your local charity by adding a TipJoy widget on your website
  • Send some words of encouragement and a $5.00 tip to the owner of your favorite music review site
  • Repay your co-worker for that coffee he bought

Insider Tips:

  • If you use Twitter, consider signing into TipJoy with your Twitter credentials
  • When you first load up your TipJoy account with money consider depositing $10.00 or more to help defray some of the associated fees (your recipients will get more of your money in the end)
  • If you’re looking to promote your site or service to encourage TipJoy pledges, try adding a TipJoy widget on your website or blog
  • You can send tips to others via Twitter, just go to to learn more

What we liked:

  • Ability to embed donation widgets onto your own website or blog
  • TipJoy emphasizes charitable giving and showing appreciation even when nothing is requested
  • Capability of tipping anyone or any service
  • Typically there are lower overall transaction fees associated with TipJoy than using traditional payment services like PayPal

What we didn’t like:

  • The TipJoy website is horribly organized and poorly designed, it took us several extensive reviews of the entire site before fully understanding what should be a very simple service
  • Getting to the FAQs and support area is difficult (very bottom of the page in mouse type)
  • There is never a guarantee that the intended recipient will ever claim your donation


Company Info:

  • Launched: February 2008
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Arlington, MA
  • Founded by: Abigail Kirigin, Ivan Kirigin
  • Web site:


  • Any amount you elect to tip or donate
  • If you are receiving money, TipJoy charges 3% of the transaction plus PayPal fees

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