Scratchback - Tip Jar Widget
Now that we live in the post Google slap where websites have been penalized for selling text links we need to find an alternative. While there is no doubt that the text link market will not be dying anytime soon, it will be heading underground and prices will be rising. If you are not really interested in going in that direction there is an alternative, Scratchback offers websites a virtual tip jar where people can purchase links on websites that display the widget.
The whole idea behind the widget is that people are not really buying links, but they are actually showing you some appreciation for your hard work. In return for them tipping you, you gracious show their link on your website. The links the widget shows are all nofollow, so Google should not have any problem with the links on a website (at least until Google changes their mind about that).
They offer multiple designs for the widget, and offer to customize the widget for you if you send them them the images. All you need to do is download the artwork, change it and send it back.
Webmasters can set their own price for the links so there is no complicated or mysterious algorithm that determines what the links should cost. You also have the choice of manually approving links or allowing them to approve them. Currently Scratchback is taking a 10% cut of the tip. So if your tips are set at $1.00 you will get $.90. Better than the 50% that some other services take. This might change when the service comes out of beta.
Perhaps the feature I think is the most fun about the widget is how long you decide the lips should stay on the widget. You can choose from 24 hours, one week, one month or the default auto bump. I like the auto bump, because it should just keep rotating the links as people tip you. I would love to see a tip war going on.
I only have a couple of things that I would like to see changed or added. First, I think the widget looks ugly. Maybe it is just me but even if you custom design it you are stuck using the same size graphics. They need to make it possible to customize the widget so it does not look so, well, ugly. Second they need an affiliate program. According to their blog one is on the way.
Overall Scratchback could be a great way of adding another way of monetizing your website or blog. If you use Scratchback leave a comment and let us know what you think of it.