Those who have fallen on hard times and who choose to supplement their income are finding new ways to make money by cyber begging. Virtual panhandling is slowly becoming a viable option for those who need money for any reason. Examples of cyber begging have been documented as far back as 1998. However, it became popular during the summer of 2002 when a twenty-something woman from Brooklyn, New York, by the name of Karyn Bosnak, started her own web site.
Karyn wanted to raise $20,000 to pay off her credit card debts.Within 20 weeks her website had received over two million hits and with donations her debt was paid off. Bosnak started SaveKaryn.com as an attempt to acquire donations to help pay her credit card debt, which was in part due to her love for Designer Clothes & Starbucks coffee. For Bosnak, the results led to traditional media attention, appearances on popular television programs and a book. Her website was more than likely the first cyber begging site to gain wide exposure, and it became the example for many to follow.
Cyber begging has proven to be an easy and convenient form of raising money to overcome any kind of financial crisis. Job loss, home foreclosure, plastic surgery, and even divorce; there are documented cases of cyber begging providing financial relief in all kinds of situations.
There are two basic approaches to asking for money online, you can set up your own website with your own domain name, or you can create a page on a site that is dedicated to providing space for people to do this.
There are many cyber begging sites already set up that exist for the exclusive purpose of helping people maintain their own cyber begging page. Those interested can register and be assigned their own page where they can tell their story, make their appeal, and wait for donations. These hosting sites generally charge a small monthly subscription fee and/or earns by allowing other advertising on the site. There are many free sites that offer these same services, but more often then not they are filled with spam and dishonest attempts. A paid site offers a more legitimate chance for users to obtain donations, as those who pay are more serious.
By creating your own site with a personalized domain name does have some distinct advantages. It is easier to publicize and easier for the public to remember a unique domain name. However, creating and maintaining your own personal site also requires money for domain name and hosting costs and more technical skills than the average internet user may be comfortable with. Another requirement is the time invested into preparing and maintaining your website in order to attract and interest donors.
There are internet services like PayPal and Amazon.com Honor system which offer free or inexpensive credit card and payment acceptance services, making it easy for cyber beggars to collect donations directly from their websites and the donor can remain anonymous.
Some countries and other jurisdictions have passed laws prohibiting or restricting cyber begging. However, though enforcement has been minimal and there have been no major reports of anyone being prosecuted for practicing cyber begging. In virtually all countries/states, those receiving are required to pay taxes in accordance with all national, state, and local laws.
Cyber begging can help individuals and families raise additional funds for a variety of reasons. For the many who do choose to ask for money online using a service that hosts your page and information or by creating your own site can be a benefit for those who need assistance financially.