YouTube is strongly rumored to be launching a subscription-based music service soon, but the Google-owned video site has quietly introduced a new (and far lower-key) payment service that lets viewers send donations to YouTube channel owners.
First noticed by the astute folks at Android Police, the fan funding feature in initially available in four countries: the US, Australia, Japan, and Mexico. If you live in any of these places, then you may notice the below pop up appear inside Youtube.com or the service’s mobile apps if the channel owner has turned it on.
A ‘tips jar’ is not going to replace revenue from advertising, but YouTubers who enjoy a close relationship with their fans may be able to augment their ad revenue without upsetting their viewers. For what it’s worth, Google’s cut is 5 percent and a small fee ($0.21 in the US) — for example, a $10 dollar donation will see $9.29 passed on to the artist directly.
We’ve asked Google for more details of the fan funding program. We’ll update this post if we hear more.
Update: A YouTube spokesperson told TNW that “there are a handful of creators testing it out at the moment, and the plan is to bring this to more creators and countries in the future.”
There are more details on fan funding at this YouTube webpage.
Thumbnail image via Rego Kosiri / Flickr, screenshot via Android Police
Over the last few years we’ve seen a number of startups appear that would like to bring the market power of the Internet to bear on a traditionally tough market: car repairs. We’re all too aware of the obvious issues to be solved: the lack of consistency and transparency, and the difficulty of vetting both the work of the garage and its customer service before you entrust your vehicle to them.
RepairPal has been around since 2007 and has raised $21.3M to date. Last year OpenBay launched its auto repair marketplace to connect car owners with local mechanics. YourMechanic wants to be the Uber of mechanics, sending you one on call. And BodyShopBids won funding for a site that allows consumers to solicit custom auto repair estimates by uploading a photo.
Now Autobutler, an online platform for car maintenance and servicing, has raised €5.8m in a round led by Index Ventures. Index lead the round with participation from existing investors including Dawn Capital and Nordic venture capital firm Creandum. The funds will be used to expand across Europe, starting with Germany and the UK.
The site claims 140,000 customers have used it to find a garage to repair or service their car, chosen from 3,300 garage chains or independent workshops.
A user selects their make and model of car on the site, the work that needs to be done, a location, and the job goes out to 24 hour tender. Within 24 hours, the car-owner receives up to three offers from vetted local garages, and can read customer reviews before making their choice.
Autobutler’s Global CEO and Partner Christian Legêne believes its killer feature is its CRM tool for individual mechanics and larger chains where they can get deeper insight on how to improve their business and at the same time making it easy for them to find customers online.
With so many US startups concentrating on their home market, it looks like Autobutler has a pretty good window of opportunity here.