Subject: Re: GiftNet, distributed credit card processing
From: Seth Gordon <>
Date: 1 Oct 2001 16:56:22 -0000

I don't see how GiftNet would provide a service that anyone would
actually want to use.

Anyone who wants to reward the authors of a particular open-source
program can usually find out their email addresses, and use PayPal or
e-gold to send them money.  If the authors want to make this job
easier, they can put a PayPal or Amazon Honor System link on the front
page of the program's Web site, or they can use something like Cafe
Press to make associated T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.  If a third party
wants to encourage its clients to support a certain project, they can
put the appropriate PayPal/e-gold links on their own site (crediting
directly to the accounts of the program's authors).

All of this is already easy to do, with no significant transaction
costs, and the mediating institutions (PayPal et al.) have done as much
as any such institutions can do to encourage strangers to trust them.
So I don't see where the value proposition (I believe that's the
proper biz-speak term) for GiftNet is.

The hidden assumption behind the GiftNet proposal is that many people
don't give money to support open-source programs because *it's too
hard for them to do it*.  I don't think this is a significant reason.
The most significant reason, I think, that many people don't give
money to popular open-source products is that *they can get away with

.signature under construction; please pardon the inconvenience
== Seth Gordon == == == std. disclaimer ==