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YouTube’s New ‘Super Thanks’ Feature Marks Evolution, Potential Of The Digital Tip Jar

The proverbial tip jar is getting a bit of a digital makeover, as startups and big names are looking to maintain their hold on content creators by making it easier for those artists, performers and influencers to be paid.  

YouTube is the latest to join the movement, as it has just unveiled “Super Thanks,” a new feature that allows fans to choose from one of four price points between $2 and $50 to share a little monetary appreciation. When it is used, the Super Thanks feature displays a celebratory animation on-screen and colorful comment with the person’s name below the video in the comments section, to add a celebratory feel to tipping.

The new offering emerges after some time in the testing phase, when the feature was called Viewer Applause. Now under the Super Thanks moniker, the new offering will be available in beta in 68 countries on desktop, Android and iOS.

Tipping is new to YouTube, but the ability to pay the platform’s creators is not. The platform already offers channel membership, Super Stickers and Super Chat, which lets users leave tips during livestreams. However, Super Thanks doesn’t require a livestream; it is available across all eligible uploads. And though the tip amounts are pre-specified in four amounts,  Product Manager Barbara Macdonald has confirmed with media sources that allowing users to input other dollar amounts is something they will be looking into adding in the future. The first version of the program only allowed for tipping at a single price point.

And while YoutTube is the latest and the largest platform to embrace digital tipping of late for content creators, it is far from the only one. Digital tipping, it seems, is reaching a tipping point, as platforms are embracing it en masse to keep hold of their hottest creators. 

The Tipping Point of Tipping

Patreon has long offered a few ways for fans to tip their favorite content creators. Twitter announced its entrance into the space about two months ago, and standalone apps like Koji offer content creators the option to embed links to a tip jar into their social media profiles.

All of these platforms put their own twist on the service. For example, Patreon allows users to “set and forget” their tipping for their favorite creators via automation. Twitter’s new service aims to make it easier for users to “support each other beyond follows, retweets and likes,” the company noted in the blog post announcing the program’s launch in May. 

But Twitter’s tips are a bit less open than the competition’s. Starting in May, anyone on Twitter who wanted to send a tip was able to, but only certain users could receive them, including “creators, journalists, experts and nonprofits.” The company plans to expand the service in the future.

“Tip Jar is an easy way to support the incredible voices that make up the conversation on Twitter,” according to the post. “This is a first step in our work to create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter — with money.”

Koji, on the other hand, has no platform it is trying to endorse; it is a movable tip jar that content creators can place in their social media profiles in the form of a link. Its big selling point is that it charges no service fee to those who use it, and creators collect 100 percent of their tips.  

While tip jars aren’t everywhere quite yet, they do seem to be showing up more and more often, and in all the places where content creators want to be.

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