NY Times Sends Cease & Desist Letter To Kachingle For Trying To Show Them Alternatives To Paywalls

from the hmm... dept

Back in August, we wrote about two companies Flattr and Kachingle that were trying to create a very easy to use form of micropayments, that do away with the mental transaction costs, as a method of getting people to voluntarily support content they enjoy monetarily. Since then we’ve been experimenting with Flattr (you can see the widget to the left) and it’s been quite interesting, especially since Flattr finally opened its doors to anyone, rather than being invite only, as it was when we first started. We’ll have a more complete report about our Flattr experiment sometime soon…

That said, Flattr’s competitor, Kachingle (which is similar, but with a few key differences) recently put together an amusing publicity stunt. Knowing that the NY Times paywall is fast approaching, it put together a “Stop the Paywall!” campaign for Kachingle uses, letting them designate which NY Times’ columnists they want a piece of their monthly contributions to go to.

It’s a pure publicity stunt, and when I saw it announced I wasn’t going to write about it. Except… the NY Times and its lawyers have now changed that. While Kachingle leaves out some of the important details, apparently, three people from the NY Times, including the VP of Digital, a lawyer and someone working on the NYT’s paywall, called Kachingle, demanding they take down the promotion, saying that it was “annoying” and that it would not stop the paywall. After Kachingle refused, they said they were sending a cease-and-desist letter (which, as of this posting, apparently has not arrived at the Kachingle offices).

In other words, the NY Times just made sure that Kachingle gets a ton more attention for its publicity stunt, and looks like they’re simply not open to any alternative business models. I am curious as to the legal reasoning behind the cease-and-desist. I will say that, from the information posted, it is not clearly stated where the money designated for the NY Times’ bloggers is actually going, which I would guess may be the legal concern. I guess I could see a trademark claim, in that the NY Times could say that this implies that the NY Times has a business relationship with Kachingle when it does not — but I think that anyone reading the actual site would immediately recognize that there’s clearly no endorsement or relationship with the NY Times. In fact, that’s why Kachingle set up the page…

Anyway, if Kachingle ever gets and posts the C&D, we’ll be sure to update the post… But, really, what benefit is there to the NY Times in doing this? Threatening Kachingle with legal action seems downright petty and closed minded. Why not let the company run its promotional campaign, see if you learn anything from it, and move on?

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Companies: kachingle, ny times

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Comments on “NY Times Sends Cease & Desist Letter To Kachingle For Trying To Show Them Alternatives To Paywalls”

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Bill Lazar (profile) says:

Money from KachingleX goes to NYT blogs' writers


“I will say that, from the information posted, it is not clearly stated where the money designated for the NY Times’ bloggers is actually going, which I would guess may be the legal concern.”

Just to be clear–this is stated on our pages and in the emails we sent to all the bloggers involved–the money from these Medallions will go to the NYTimes’ bloggers the same way as with all our Medallions.

In this case we created the Kachingle accounts, using the unique email address associated with each blog as the PayPal destination.

We love the NYTimes and their writers and this is not just a “publicity stunt” but our way to show them an alternative to the paywall they have planned. Cynthia Typaldos, our founder, wrote a blog post today titled Confessions of an Anti-Paywall Revolutionista. How being Hari Seldon can save us from Info Dark Ages in which she explains in depth her motivation and inspiration for our service.

You can reach Cynthia directly at cynthia@kachingle.com or @typaldos on Twitter if you’d like some clarification or more information about Kachingle and KachingleX.

Last, we’d love to have TechDirt join us! Plenty of sites are using Kachingle and Flattr together since, as you point out, they have different takes on the best way to implement a social payment service.

Thanks for writing about us,
Bill Lazar
Technical Marketing Lead

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Title “NY Times Sends Cease & Desist Letter….”

Story “…as of this posting, apparently has not arrived…

The NY Times had said they sent the cease & desist letter. You do realize that there is a period of time between the “sending” and the “receiving,” no?

Is this an attempt to manufacture a viral marketing campaign, or just that standard of your journalism is low ?

I’m not a journalist. I write about what’s interesting and this is interesting. You don’t have to like it.

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