Amazon has started a program for people with free web sites to earn back a little of their costs. By “free” we mean the kind of sites that carry no ads, and hence earn no revenue to offset the costs. A small “click box” can be placed on the site and people who wish to can make contributions of a dollar or more.


These kinds of payments are commonly called “micro-payments” but they haven’t been used much before because of the cost of collecting them. The idea of contributing for web sites you like is no different than the fund raising carried on by National Public Radio and Public Television, in which they solicit funds from the audience to pay for the shows. The argument behind such requests is that they carry no advertising, so they need contributions.

The situation for free web sites is more serious. Public radio and TV get funds from the government through the National Council for the Arts and large grants from corporations and charitable foundations, but free web sites get nothing. Labors of love are nice, but there are costs. Find out more by going to, click on “help” and then click on “honor system.” Amazon collects the contribution for that site and they do not share any of the information with third parties, so you will not receive spam or advertisements in your email. Amazon keeps 2.9 percent plus 30 cents to cover the costs of collecting the micro-payments.

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