CentUp: A Win Win Win?
Peter Panda

A piece of technology is launching in a few months that uniquely benefits the following groups: a) those who produce web content; b) those who consume it and c) charitable entities. In various ways, all three groups benefit from this little button. It’s called CentUp and I interviewed co-founder Len Kendall for this post.

First of all, watch this video so you understand what I’m talking about. The website and their fundraising campaign explains that regular people on the internet, when they see a piece of web content they like, can click the CentUp button to throw some spare change at that video, blog post, whatever it is. CentUp takes a small administrative piece of the pie, then gives half to the author and half to a charity. Not a bad way to make some passive income, eh nonprofits? And bloggers, not a bad way to monetize your site!

Kendall explains that Kony 2012 was an impetus for the creation of this concept:

“Kony 2012 really topped things off for us because it embodied the often negatively used term, “slacktivism” which describes people taking an action that doesn’t really lead to change. We decided to develop something that could take advantage of tiny actions, but collectively accomplish something good. Hence, CentUp was born. If we can take some of the 5 billion likes/shares each day and turn that behavior into tiny donations, we’re going to be in great shape.”

As with many startups, a challenge will be getting people to adopt a new behavior amidst the many distractions of the web, but Kendall and his team are still thrilled to be sharing what they’ve built with the world. Kendall explains his team and their respective backgrounds:

“We started off as three. A technologist and artist (John Geletka), and talented designer and creative (Tyler Travitz), and media/marketing geek (me). Recently we expanded our team with our new awesome investor/partners Chris McLaughlin and Marcus Duncan who bring lots of non-profit and business development knowledge to our ranks.”

I am personally very excited to watch this develop. Having partners from various backgrounds promises a good foundation, and I think the simplicity of the concept will ultimately triumph over the challenge of adapting user behavior. Representing the Midwest, CentUp is based in Chicago and has a larger vision than just this one button. Kendall explained that they want to become a digital patron of the arts, to help creative people earn more for their work. I find this really interesting, especially because many artists may want to monetize their sites but may not want to sell obnoxious ads or charge for their content. But receiving bits of income here and there WHILE supporting charity? I’m struggling to come up with any downside for a creator of web content to participate.

“We’re really interested in securing our first set of bloggers for CentUp. These are the people that will be installing the button on their site AND reaping the benefits. I want all bloggers to know we’re ready and willing to answer their questions about how CentUp can work for them. And they can feel free to email me at Team@CentUp.org any time,” added Kendall.

Can you see yourself getting into the habit of throwing your spare change to the interwebs to make some change for writers, artists, creators and worthy organizations? I can imagine feeling great about supporting my favorite bloggers and charities with just a few bucks, even though I am not someone who typically pays for web content or donates to online content producers. I can actually even imagine setting a small budget for myself for this specific type of giving. What do you think?

Peter Panda

Pioneering social media panda bear Tagawa “Peter” Panda was born on a Chinese game reserve in 1969. He emigrated to the United States in 1987 speaking no English, with only the fur on his back and $97 stored in a Jansport fanny-pack wrapped around his waist.

In 2003 while searching for food on the campus of Washington University, he discovered a computer lab where he would ultimately teach himself web development, graphic design, and immerse himself into the growing digital media evolution that was erupting at the time.

With his trademark surly demeanor developed during beatings on his boat ride from China to the U.S., as well as having a penchant for eating vast quantities of bamboo, and enjoying Scotch and cigars, Peter is broadly recognized for coining the phrase “social media” in 2004. He joined Elasticity in late 2009 as the agency’s director of social media strategy and wildlife relations. Friend him on Facebook here.

Creative, Culture, Data, Development, Media, News, PR, Social, Strategy | 11.12.2019
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