Don’t Buy Me a Beer, Water is Healthier

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Buy me a Beer is a WordPress plugin that allows your readers to donate money to you via PayPal. The plugin adds a “Buy Me a Beer” button to the sidebar and at the end of all posts. When your readers click on that button, they are taken to the secure PayPal page from where they can donate money to you.

I have been seeing this in the blogosphere for a while and it looks like it has been increasing in downloads, but are they really receiving a donation? To me this is a very good NLP (Neuro Lingusitic Programing) strategy, because it seperates the donate button with a beer or coffee etc. Instead of asking to donate, the blog author asks the reader to buy them a beer. Simple.

Ryan Shamus share the same feeling:

Instead of that clunky “Paypal Donate” button that you see everywhere, you can activate this sweet plugin to take it’s place. People are much more likely to “buy me a beer” and donate a couple bucks instead of just donating. Clicking a regular old Paypal donation button is no fun, at all.

Is this really worth to put on your blog? I know there has been some successful blog authors that receive kegs of beer from this plugin. For example John Chow receives the following donations via Buy me a Beer Plugin:

Johns Wu – $88.88
Danielle Nagami – $50.00
Melissa Surles – $50.00

That is a huge amount of money for a donation. The reader does not see it as a donation though; they see it as “I am buying you a drink.” There are so many bloggers out there that use this all the time in hopes to get a dollar.

Since I always think as a newie instead of an expert, I tend to think this plugin is useless. Its a form of trickery to the reader and the blog author.

Agreed by Jon at Smart Wealthy Rich:

It’s simply a nicer and cooler way of asking your readers to donate, instead of having a “donate” paypal button, which looks rather ugly anyway, the buy me a beer plugin does the same thing and it’s linked to your paypal e-mail adress…

I do not see this plugin on such popular blogs such as ProBlogger, DoshDosh, and CopyBlogger. In my opinion I think they enjoy their content. They do not want to ruin the environment their blog provides. The readers come to receive information and learn these are serious readers.

I understand you should be having fun once and while, but the purpose of this plugin is a simple donation replace by a beer image. Why can’t you just have the regular donate button and ask for a donation? Instead of asking to buy you a beer, I mean it serves the same purpose.

Though this plugin works for some, does this work for new bloggers? Bloggers that only get under 100 visits a day? As I have been reading there is usualy a 3% conversion with traffic. Meaning 3% of your traffic will join your list, buy a product, click on adsense, etc. I have yet to see hard facts on Google BlogSearch about hard studies on this plugin. I was going to do a case study on this, but then again I thought to myself would I want to put a beer image on my blog?

I like to keep my website/blog clean and provide information to the fellow bloggers, especially newbies, newies, noobs, etc.

Some blogs out there says if your readers are loyal they would buy you a beer or a cup of coffee. If they are loyal and you ask for a donation they should be willing to donate correct? Its a simple mind trick, to make the reader think you are buying the blog author a beer.

If your readers are loyal they would return to your site and soon turn into a sale. Providing information is what today’s market is yearning for, not just randomly donating money to Buy a Beer.

I worked hard to write this post, so I will walk to my fridge to grab a bottle of water, its healthier than beer.


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  • I understand where you are coming from on this post. I changed my blog template and decide to give the buy me a beer plugin a chance. I have had the plugin on my site for 14 days and have got one donation for $10. This is not great however my site traffic is about 439 a day average (since June 23.) a total of 5714 visitor have seen the button with only one donation. I will admit those are not the best numbers but the $10 is nice.

    I’m trying to learn how to make money with blogging and continue to be a stay-at-home father. When I come up with better options to add to my site to make money without cluttering up my site I will probably remove the buy me a beer plugin. For now $10 is better than nothing.

  • What’s the moral difference between making money by affiliates and making money by donations?

    I can’t see one.

    If a blogger makes more from donations than they do from adverts more power to them. We all have to pay the internet (and real life) rent.

  • No moral difference. I had a lawyer threaten to sue me in October because of a huge story I broke. I received about $1,200 in donations in about a 2 week period. I’ve had a donations button on my site every since. I make much more with adds now, however you never know when someone will really enjoy something you wrote and donate.

    I might change to a standard paypal button. For now I am trying the buy me a beer plugin and it seems to be alright.

    You have a great blog here. I’ll be back.

  • Nice blog you have here Ian. I too have an opinion on this “buy me a beer” donation idea and have considered blogging on it as well. I have never been a fan of hand-outs.

    On my site, I have placed an image of my book, linked to my Amazon.com sales page. I simply ask readers not to even consider buying me a beer or a coffee; instead, if they find my content to be of value, I ask them to buy my book. That’s a real win-win for everybody!

  • I wouldnt ever put a buy me a beer plugin on my blog as its mostly about business and thats kinda like drinking on the job but I can see it being okay one personal or non-business related topics.

  • it depends on the intent and each donation is different. do you know why i donated $50 to john chow? because i won his zune, which in effect earned me about 150 back links from other blogs when i gave it away in my own contest. so it’s a marketing expense. if we were in the same city, i would’ve bought him and his friends a round of drinks. and if he were here in LA with us, a round would easily cost me more than $50 🙂 i am not his friend and i didn’t do it out of the kindness of my heart. we are peers in the online marketing game. like kingjacob, i would never place the plugin on my site because i have nothing really to offer in exchange…but it is about business. strictly business.

  • I am feeling you, brother.