Celebrity math

Personal outsourcing

The ransom model of publishing, pt. 2

Last month, I blogged about Greg Stoltze, a board-game designer who developed a “ransom” model of publishing: He would finish designing his strategy game Meatbot Massacre as soon as he received $600 in online donations; once the game was done, he put it online for anyone to download for free. It was an elegant, clever way of routing around the problem of piracy, and it worked. Indeed, it worked so well that he’s set up a new ransom — $750 — for his next game, “… in Spaace!”

This time, Stoltze is hosting his project on Fundable.org — a web site that is a sort of like an Amazon for ransom programs. Anyone can create a project, set a funding goal, and see who’ll contribute. There aren’t a whole lot of projects online yet, but my favorite is “The ‘Send our Friend Nicholas to QuakeCon’ Fund”:

This purpose of this group action is to collect the necessary funds in order to allow our friend, Nicholas, to attend QuakeCon on August 11-14 of 2005. The amount: $125. The intended use of these funds: $70 for Hotel accomodations, and $55 for Gas to cover the 1500 mile trip.

That’s so delightfully brazen — and small-bore, given that the kid is gonna drive 1,500 miles across the country — that I think I might actually donate 10 bucks.

(Thanks to Greg for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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