Blogging and Writing

Does Your Blog Ever Get Tips/Coffees?

tip jar

I know some people have tip jars on their blog, BuyMeACoffee, or Ko-fi. But does anyone make money on these? I’ve written about this before, but I wanted to talk about it again because of something I stumbled across related to our dear friend Sebastian.

BuyMeACoffee shows you when people have bought someone a coffee. Sebastian, the infamous king of blatant serial liking who will often like your post within five seconds of you publishing it, has managed to snag quite a few coffees—53, to be exact (not that I’m counting, or anything…), along with multiple people supporting him as monthly members. If you are familiar with Sebastian, I suspect your jaw will have dropped by now. How does this happen?

A few people thank him for reading/liking their posts. You poor, naïve people! Who are these people, and what is going through their minds? How is it not obvious to all and sundry that Sebastian is not actually reading anything? I suppose it’s not as obvious to people who don’t use the WP Reader, but still, this is not the behaviour of a person behaving like a person.

Tearing my mind away from Sebastian for a moment (difficult as that may be), a lot of people have tip jar-type situations going on. I have nothing at all against that (or attempts to monetize in general), but it always surprises me a bit when people talk about getting tips. Who is doing the tipping?

My line of thinking with this kind of thing is that you’re unlikely to get many tips/coffees from fellow bloggers, because why are they going to tip you for doing the same thing that they’re doing for free? I wonder, too, if niche makes a difference. In the mental illness/chronic illness world, you’ve got quite a few people on disability benefits who don’t have extra money to be sprinkling around.

As I said, I don’t have any problem with people trying to monetize, but in my head, people paying for content seems more likely to happen than tipping. If people can get money with tip jars, that’s awesome; it just surprises me a bit that they do.

If Sebastian can garner that many coffees, though, there are clearly people out there who are willing to tip. And if I seem slightly (or not so slightly) fixated on him, it’s because he fascinates me. As Hetty said, where would any of us be in life if not for Sebastian? I have a hard time wrapping my head around his success with the fake liking, given how obviously fake and gamey it is.

So, tearing myself away from Sebastian again, here’s my question for you: do you have a tip jar or coffee button on your site, and if so, do you ever get tips or coffees?

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71 thoughts on “Does Your Blog Ever Get Tips/Coffees?”

  1. A serial liker with no substance getting so many cawfeeees surprises me, too. I personally wouldn’t have the balls to use something like this. I just couldn’t.

  2. When I first started blogging it was all meant to be different. I tried to blog about what I thought may be important for autistic community and tried to create a plan how to monetize my blog. I wasn’t accepting any donations as it would not make sense when I just started and had no readers, but I was planning to do that.

    And then something changed: I was going through a period of difficult life changes and started blogging about that and how it made me feel. I found that very liberating and subsequently deleted some of the earlier posts. I almost feel now that at the time I tried to become an institution with no space for a real me.

    I came to really like my freestyle blogging – I suppose it is still about autistic life: even if I don’t blog about issues directly associated with autism, everything that happens to me is about life with autism so it’s relevant.

    I feel that if I start accepting donations I may again start behaving like an institution, it could possibly be subconscious, and I really want to avoid that, therefore I don’t plan to do that at all, unless something in my thinking changes.

    1. That makes sense. I’ve heard some people say that when they tried to monetize, they felt like they needed to restrict what they write about. I think real people are multi-faceted, so why not have a blog reflect that.

      1. Exactly! I mean I would still focus on communication but now it’s only because meeting my diagnostician – i don’t know if you ever read about her – made me much more aware of it; it’s something that comes naturally to me, instead of, like before, me trying to force myself to write about communication.

        And if I have nothing to write about communication, I write about something else and feel absolutely ok with that. And possibly this is actually a way to show readers who I really am.

        And btw, thank you for all the comments you made on my blog, they really make me feel like I blog for real people 🙂

        1. And thank you for interacting with my blog!

          I think there’s a lot of value for readers in a blog that naturally reflects the blogger and their interests rather than being crammed in a narrow box.

  3. I do have my links under my posts. They have registered a few clicks and I did get a tip a few times.
    While I don’t expect people to use the Ko-fi or PayPal links, it really warms my heart when people care enough, like my writing enough, to drop me a tip! It’s not why I’m writing, but it does make me eager to write even better, if that makes sense 🤔.
    So yeah, I have the links. I’m one of those people with a disability income and many bills to cover with it… So every coffee/tip really helps me to cover some food/bills. Things are getting so expensive here and unfortunately, my income isn’t growing as much as the bills are 😔.
    Very grateful for every tip, it really makes my day. 😊

  4. 🙂 No, Ashley. My blog does not get tips.

    If I wanted any sort of financial gain, I would have monetized my blog on the self-hosted version of WordPress.

    I am quite contented with having fun and giving back to my blogging community.

    For the record, there is nothing wrong with bloggers having their blogs tipped and I am very happy for those bloggers who have managed to acquire tips.

    1. Tipping seems like it’s a middle ground for some bloggers who want to earn a bit of income but still maintain a personal blog. There’s certainly a lot to be said for the fun and interaction of the blogging community.

  5. Really, that is still a thing? Well I guess it is if you’re writing about it. In the early days of blogging I saw that a lot, I don’t know how it worked since I never clicked on the coffee cup or tip jar. As for Sebastian – he hasn’t liked one of my posts in a long time – has he gone away or is my blog just that boring LOL

  6. I think this speaks to a larger question about how to monetize writing/art. There are a few ways to make money from writing/art:

    1) Create the art that you as an artist want to produce and hope people buy it – This can be successful, but it is very difficult, and for every popularized “success” story, there are plenty more stories of people who weren’t successful whom you don’t hear about.

    2) Create the product that will sell – eg. becoming a paid staff writer for a publication, (meaning you write the content that the publication wants you to write and will pay for), becoming a creative designer for a brand, etc. This can sometimes referred to as “selling out”, but I think that terminology is a bit unfair.

    3) Get a patron – Sometimes, this is a form of #1, in terms of producing custom work that the patron wants, but it could just be a form of support in which the patron wants to support you because they like what you are doing. Buy me a coffee/Ko-Fi etc. is a means of replicating this on a smaller scale to make it more appropriate for bloggers / individual blog readers.

    By the way, I think the “buy me a coffee” style language is not accidental. I might feel odd about paying for a product that I thought was free or tipping in the context of a blog relationship. But I would treat a friend to a cup of coffee without much hesitation.

    I wouldn’t put up one of these myself because I’m not trying to make money from blog-writing because I already have a full-time job which is not writing which the job-market pays me enough money to live on. But I can’t judge those who do.

    I haven’t yet been moved to buy a blogger a coffee. I think as you mentioned, the fact that I also blog for free is a factor (although I do know how time-consuming it is). My other concern is maintaining anonymity – I do not want the blogger to whom I tip/buy virtual coffee to get my name from the payment platform. Maybe there are anonymous settings, I don’t know.

    1. Given how hard #1 is, I think #2 makes a lot of sense. Nonfiction writing seems more sellable, and easier to get a mix of writing what you want to write but still targeting an area that some people might be interested in.

      I honestly have no idea how creative writers and artists manage to make any money unless they’re exceptionally good at marketing.

  7. My blog isn’t that popular, so I’m not sure there would be much point. But I’m now quite sad that the infamous Sebastian hasn’t paid me a visit. Interestingly, that’s the name I desperately wanted for my son. Absolutely zero people in my corner for that one, including my son as soon as he heard the story.

    1. I’m surprised no one was on board for that name. My parents considered naming me Courtney. When I was younger, I was very glad they didn’t, but now, I’m not sure why I was so anti-Courtney.

  8. I don’t have a tip/coffee jar and would be embarrassed to put one up. If I were struggling for money and all I could do was sit at a computer, I’d start churning out erotica and other genre writing for pay. It irritates me to see tip jars as opposed to ads and/or links to buy books or crafts or whatever. Why the hell should I pay to read blog posts when I pay WP for a blog in the first place? Argh! That said, I have given a few bucks to a few online writers over the years when they were in a crisis. To me, asking for help during a particular bad time is way different from leaving a tip jar on your site. Ugh!

  9. I don’t have a tip jar. I have never had enough readers on any of my blogs for it to be worthwhile, nor do I have the kind of helpful content that seems worth paying for. Plus, the people who comment on my blog seem like friends and I don’t feel comfortable asking for money from them. Although if an anonymous wealthy benefactor reading my blog wants to pay me to write, feel free!

  10. Gosh, when I discovered tarot readers on YouTube I found one who does not do personal readings at all but just rambles about his card spread by zodiac for free.

    He has a chat going that you can see live as he does his reading.

    Ashley, these people are dropping coins on this guy like it’s going out of style! Thanks for the five, he’ll say when someone donates $5. He gets $20s, $100s, saw a person drop $500… Most donate between $5 and $20. Constantly. And I only watched the Libra… There are 12 zodiac signs.

    They value his content and want to donate (tip) him for it.

    I googled him. He seems to clear 6 figures.

    It’s… Astonishing.

    Other tarot readers do a free spread, then charge for an in-depth extended reading. So you get the free message, but if it resonates with you and you want more, you click the link and pay a reasonable fee to get the collective, recorded message for more.

    Plus you can donate…

    These people are booked solid!

    So, that side is a business, as they also offer personal readings for a fee, but they also have a donation link attached to the fee part, and I can only imagine how much they’re clearing.

    It’s fascinating. I’ve been doing online content for 16 years and only discovered this in the past 6 months or so.

  11. Nah I don’t put in the kind of work that would entitle me to a tip 😂. I actually pay for the personal blog plan to remove ads just to make things nice for the few poor souls who stumble across my blog, so I’m the one spending money. Thanks for the shoutout. Sebastian unwittingly has done many a new blogger a good deed by making them mistakenly believe they have a fan, encouraging them to keep blogging.

  12. Good on the people who get paid to write, whether it’s professionally or with “tips”. To re-iterate what JYP has said, for myself it doesn’t feel quite right to ask for money when I already have non-writing work.

    Maybe this is a privileged perspective, but as I see blogging as one way to get away from current work, turning this hobby into a part of the rat race just sounds like introducing the same anxieties. How exhausting, to think about monetising everything.

  13. I admit I have no idea who “Sebastian” is, nor why someone would give him money at all (to buy coffee or spend).

    To answer your question therefore: “do you have a tip jar or coffee button on your site, and if so, do you ever get tips or coffees?” Nope and I wouldn’t contribute to that kind of thing if I did see it somewhere.

    IRL I have issues around panhandlers from being burned several times; and I no longer give them even the time of day. If they start talking to me (not that I encounter too many up here), I usually just walk away from them or if in my car, ignore them. If they’re persistent, I am a bit rude and tell them to go find someone else to bother, because I won’t be giving them money.

    So to do that kind of thing here in virtual space? They can do them, and I’ll do me; and the twain shall remain happily separate.

    1. I don’t think I’ve come across anyone that’s particularly pushy with it in the blogging space, but kind of like with ads, if it gets excessive, I wouldn’t be making return visits.

  14. It’s such a strange concept, because it’s set up like you’re buying someone a coffee, without the actual companionship that’s involved when you pay for someone’s order. I doubt the money would be spent on coffee, either. I usually just ignore the tip buttons and especially ignore serial likers.

  15. I don’t have a tip jar on my blog, nor do I want one. It would seem odd to me to ask someone to tip me for my writing. I agree with what you have said about monetizing blogs. I don’t do this but respect that a personal choice. But, tipping seems it should be reserved for a service not just sharing our thoughts .

  16. No, I don’t have a tip jar on my website. Just thinking about having one makes me feel a bit…icky. Given that I write about injustices, the thought of having a tip thing of some sort on my website, which means de facto profiting off of injustices that exist, just makes me feel icky. If someone ever wants to give me money, I’ll ask them to instead donate money to a cause or issue that my blog helped them feel passionate about.

  17. I briefly considered it after the cancer diagnosis due to the financial stress, but I feel too weird about asking people for money when it would feel like pity money. I’d need to feel like we’d actually earned it – like if we ever actually publish our damn book and people want to pay to read it then fine, but otherwise it feels too uncomfortable.

  18. I don’t have one and haven’t even thought of it. I haven’t noticed it on other blogs, but then I don’t read many as life’s too full. I have though been surprised at publishing a post and getting a like within a few seconds and know the person hasn’t had time to read it. Why do they do it? Next time I get an instant like I will see who did it. Thank you Ashley for engaging with my blog, and taken the time to write a comment occasionally.

  19. I suddenly became worthy of Sebastian’s bot like a few posts ago and just the one time..i think. I feel like I’m part of the Wp community now..🙂. Agree, not sure who’s doing well with the tip jar option.

  20. You should have titled this post ‘Sebastian’ 😉 Seriously though, the idea of being tipped for blogging/writing doesn’t sit well with me, I don’t know, it’s just one of them things I can’t put my finger on.

    P.S. that’s another perk with going self-hosted, Sebastian hasn’t found me again 😀

  21. I had a PayPal pool on mine receiving occasional donations until PayPal decided to discontinue their pools at the end of last month. I quickly established a GoFundMe but no one has started it, and I am half-hearted about it. What I need to do is get one of those credit card logos that leaps out at you. I just don’t know how to do that.

  22. It’s not something l would do, it just confuses me as to why anyone would even want to buy someone a coffee online when you are NOT buying a coffee and they are NOT drinking a coffee. I used to see a few of those things back in 2018, l think l have only seen a couple of blogs with them this year.

  23. I definitely don’t know Sebastian. This post tickled me though. I think this happens in all aspects of life, where we see people have strange successes without any solid reasoning. LOL Happens all the time. I’ve only been blogging now for about 2 maybe 3 months. I just recently put a tip jar through stripe and PayPal. I haven’t made anything yet. I have donated to others in the past,and feel it’s a great way to show appreciation for someone’s work. 😊

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