Sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter are great for raising money to build a cool looking lamp or direct a movie shot on your iPad. But they're also perfect for getting people to give you money for no reason at all.
After reading about the story of Karen Klein—an upstate New York bus monitor harassed to the point of tears by shithead middle school kids—I was inspired. An Indiegogo campaign originally intended to send Klein on a nice vacation has turned into a $200,000+ retirement fund within days. Now the gent who started the fund—a good deed, no doubt—has turned into a self-promoting charity whore, encouraging people to buy his book and donate to a "reward" campaign to literally pay him back for being a good person. There's even an Indiegogo campaign to reward the dude who started the reward campaign. Internet pseudo-charity, an infinite regress.
So why not me? I'm hungry today, as tends to occur in the afternoon, and food near Gizmodo HQ is overpriced. Sure, I could pay for it with the money I make by writing posts like these, but in the era of the easy crowdsourced handout? Why would I? Only suckers spend their own money in 2012. Why should anyone pay for anything of their own if strangers are willing to fork over cash for nothing? Crowdsource an answer to that, why don't you.
So here's an Indiegogo campaign to buy me lunch—I used a photo of pad thai, but I don't feel beholden to any particular cuisine. Maybe even smoothies are eligible? I'll have to check Indiegogo's terms of service.
The site won't let you set a minimum goal less than $500, so it stands at $500—about 50 lunches, I reckon. Or one big one. Campaigns require zero vetting process whatsoever, though I am being fully transparent. I just want to spend this money on lunch—it won't go toward any PS3 games or violent comic books. What's genuinely amazing is that the money is funneled directly to me—I don't even need to meet the goal! And if your donors use PayPal, I receive the moolah instantly, rather than having to wait for the bummer "campaign deadline." Can you imagine a better way to launder money for drugs or some kind of violence? It's brilliant! Note: I am not laundering money for drugs or some kind of violence.
So what's the secret to successfully leeching money? Just ask people if you can leech money from them. After tweeting the link and sending it around to some pals, I've already netted $104 and counting for the food fund. Most people chipped in a few bucks just because of the stupid novelty of the whole thing. I am, however, contractually obligated to eat lunch with the big spenders who drop over $25—a "perk" I added to help drive donations. It's working!
So what's stopping you? You could be laughing all the way to the deli. With a few minutes of typing and clicking, you've got a visually appealing, thoroughly functional way to make your own slush fund—you could really just write in "give me money because I want money," fill out a basic personal profile, and your money-gullet is open for business. We're hoping this isn't some obscure form of fraud, but until it's ruled to be in a court of law, I'll be eating on the internet's dime. Pull up a chair, won't you?