The Buy Me A Coffee/Pizza Problem

Last May I wrote an article about my signing up on a website called Buy Me A Coffee. I mentioned that it was a way for creators to earn some money by allowing people who consume their content to give them a payment if they liked what they’d consumed. I got a little bit of money from a couple of videos and one from an article I wrote. I changed from coffee to pizza because I don’t drink coffee, but it turned out I couldn’t get the plugin to work showing pizza, which is why that funny looking ball is around the bottom right of all my articles.

That’s about the size of it

I’m not gonna lie; I thought this would be a panacea for getting paid for some of my work. I had a similar thing I ran for years on this blog that was attached to PayPal. I can’t remember when I removed it or why I removed it, but for all the years I had it on this blog I only got one $5 payment; thanks to whoever that was. 🙂

I’ve been posting the link on all my videos since last May, and I doubt anyone new who’s visited this blog has no idea what that big red (orangy-pink?) thing is. That’s one of the problems I’m highlighting in this article; for all the initial promise BMC (the shortened version) gave some of us, it’s turned into a major issue.

I’ll start off by saying that it’s possible some of us are using it wrong. I’m not naming names of some of my friends who’ve tried it and left it, but some had to resort to what I ended up doing while others were able to get the plugin to work properly and still have it on the side of their blog. Either way, I doubt that any of us have made money off our blogs if we’ve had to use the ball thing, and I’m not sure anyone’s earned $5 (I almost said a dime, but the minimum payment is $5) from either source. I also doubt any of us have promoted it more than once since we added it; if I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will tell me.

Let’s talk about some of the issues in using BMC and why I’m considering removing the ball and discontinuing my association with them.

First off, many of us are unsure what we should be posting there. I’ve shared a couple of videos, a few blog posts, and some of my long form stories that I’ve never shared here or anywhere else. I have no idea if anyone other than my friends have seen any of it. There’s no way of promoting it on the site; the only way you can promote it and hope to get some kind of payment is to post it on Twitter, where BMC gets the credit for you doing it, which is more marketing them than promoting ourselves.

The pizza no one bought me lol

The second problem is it’s not easily searchable. When I go to the page, I’m shown 5 or 6 people and what they share with the BMC community. The only way to see more people is to refresh the page and see what comes up next. There’s no promoting your BMC page directly, and there’s no way to search for anyone by topic or name. For the longest time I thought it was only myself and one other person who signed up because we did it at the same time so we could test a couple of things. The other people I’m connected to just “showed up” so to speak; I’m connected to 5/6 people in total (I’ll come back to that) and I’ve known all of them for years.

The third problem is it’s a confusing site to use. The few times I’ve had someone comment on something I posted, it took me multiple times of clicking on links to figure out where the comment was so I could respond to it. You’d think all I would have to do is click on my own article… nope, that didn’t do it. I had the same problem when someone responded to a comment I left and I wanted to check it out. Sometimes I couldn’t find the person’s profile because it didn’t always show up on my list of people I was connected to. That eventually prompted an email to the moderators who finally got it fixed after a couple of days, but it didn’t make finding their responses any easier.

The fourth problem is that if anyone I was connected to or not connected to had stopped by to peruse my content, I never found out about it unless a comment was left. Unlike blogs, for which you can set up an account on something like Google Analytics to see how many people visited a blog post, BMC has nothing like that. Even if the viewer count was minimal, it wouldn’t hurt to know if anything I’ve done has been worth the time I put into it.

The fifth and last problem I’m mentioning is that recently we all received emails telling us that for whatever reason PayPal wasn’t working with them any longer and we all had to add a Stripe account if we wanted to get paid. I had to ask my friend Mitchell Allen what Stripe was (I’m a moron sometimes lol), then waited a couple of weeks to create an account there. Once I had my account, I started thinking “if PayPal isn’t working with them any longer, I wonder what’s up”. I’ve heard a few people complain over the years that they felt PayPal’s fees were too high (I’m good with it), but never heard of them discontinuing a connection with any websites before. I started wondering if there might be a problem of a different sort with BMC… but they weren’t telling if there was.

In the previous article, I shared a video where the lady walked us through the process of setting up our profiles. I thought she did a great job with it, but when I went to BMC I couldn’t find her, and I actually had her name. What I did was go to her blog, as she’s a daily blogger and has lots of people consuming her content, clicking on her link and that takes them to her BMC page where they pay her via a monthly membership fee. She’s one of only 3 people I came across who said they were making a nice bit of change from using the site, but only one of those people had something on the site that you could view, and that was a YouTube video.

At this point I’m leaning towards leaving BMC alone unless I get an email saying someone actually paid me/bought me something. I can’t find a reason to promote anything on a site that I have no idea if anyone’s seeing any of it; I get more activity from Twitter and LinkedIn and YouTube… at least I think I do. However, I also learned that, like Facebook, you can’t actually delete your account. It discontinues your participation, but they keep it up just in case you change your mind… like Facebook does… which is eerie but I’m not surprised.

I wanted to put this information out in case anyone’s thinking about using it for anything except a way to ask people to help sponsor you voluntarily and clicking on your food avatar (there’s more choices than coffee or pizza) or the bouncing ping pong ball. You’ll probably be as frustrated as I’ve been… and am. For now it’s still sitting over there to the right, but I have a feeling that the day I decide to remove it that no one will miss it or even remember it used to be there. We shall see…

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21 thoughts on “The Buy Me A Coffee/Pizza Problem”

  1. I started using Buy Me A Coffee after seeing it here, Mitch and have had similar results to yours, except the widget has worked consistently. That’s a real bummer about Paypal! Why?? It’s so much easier to use than Stripe. I didn’t receive any notification about that, but I already had a Stripe account in place. Ko-Fi, which I also use, is similar to BMC but seems a bit more active, plus their website isn’t as confusing. (And they use Paypal!) In my opinion, to make any decent money at all, you would have to promote the hell out of your page, have hundreds of followers and offer memberships. I’ll keep it going for now, but I am pissed about the Paypal situation. eBay too?!

    1. Doesn’t eBay still connect with Paypal? I hadn’t thought about it; they have my credit card info so I don’t go that route anymore. I’ve never heard of Ko-Fi, but even if it’s less confusing I probably wouldn’t attract any of their members to connect with me and possibly pay me once in a while for anything I post. At least you have dogs to show them! 😀 I thought BMC would bring promises my way; nope, guess not.

      1. Sellers on eBay can no longer get paid through Paypal, but buyers can still use it. I don’t know – you might like Ko-Fi better, but yes, there likely wouldn’t be much more going on. Dogs? I never thought of that! Hahaha! I assumed people would be interested in my travelogues, concert photos and creative writing pieces (well, some of those involve dogs). Silly me. 😀

      2. LOL! Maybe I’ve given you the answer to untold riches! On Insta, I mainly watch two kinds of Reels; those with babies and those with puppies… or both! 🙂

        That’s interesting on eBay, but I’m confused. How can sellers get paid by it if they can’t use it? No… don’t tell me.. my head already hurts. lol

  2. Hey, that pizza looks good! As you know, I deactivated my BMC as part of my Digital Diet initiative. It’s just easier for me to post my stories in one place. In case you didn’t notice, my Commentluv link points to my former BMC home page. 🙂

    I was not crazy about the interface/user experience, either. The plugin almost demands that you use the branded coffee cup, otherwise your readers might not really know what the icon means. So, if you change the text to “pizza” or, worse, “UFO”, like someone we know, the confusion will be total.

    Marketing on other channels seems to be the way to do things, since you need loyal fans in the first place. I wouldn’t expect random visitors to pay me a dime, let alone 5.00. 🙂

    Good luck with your decision-making process!



    1. First, your link is going to Morpho, so it’s all good.

      Second… you went the full cancel route, which is how I learned that you’re never really canceled from BMC. At the present time, I’m leaving it up because I’ve got other things to take care of, and I wasn’t posting anything new anyway so it’s not a major concern right now. If they’ve actually disconnected from PayPal, I won’t get any payments anyway, so why worry about it much. We shall see how I feel a couple of months down the road.

  3. That link was by design. I just meant it “used” to be my BMC home page. WordPress makes it so much easier to link those short stories into one category.

    You made a good point, if PayPal is no longer connected, you just have a cul-de-sac on the web. LOL



  4. Huh, the things we learn scrolling through the web.

    I saw the coffee cup the first time I stumbled upon your site Mitch but never thought to click on it. I honestly thought it was just there for decoration.

    Perhaps this is why it never gained traction?

    As for me, I think I will stick with making money the old-fashioned way, which right now is dragging my ass out of bed to go to work in the morning.


    1. LOL! I’m hoping not to have to go that route with a project I’m working on. Still, I’d convinced myself that BMC might be a small revenue generator, and I watched some videos about it before I signed on. My friend Ileane makes good money from it… but she would (not sure if you know her, but she’s big on social media platforms). Actually, I’ll probably remove the orange ball before the end of the week; I’ve thought it looked stupid from the beginning and now it’s starting to mentally bother me.

  5. Haven’t tried making money off of the blog in any sort of Patreon way in forever which is to say I don’t remember doing it.

    Might have tried, might not have though I am certain I have considered it many times.

    Periodically think about doing it but I don’t want to be beholden to anyone so…

    1. This was something I saw Ileane Smith talking about and it seemed legitimate enough to give it a shot. Too bad it didn’t pan out, but to be truthful I wasn’t overly hopeful.

    2. You sounds like me. “Oh, that looks mildly interesting. Why not try it?”

      Crickets chirp… “Interesting” becomes imminently forgettable.

      “Did I try that once? Looks vaguely familiar… Oh, they all look the same now, I don’t know.”

  6. Hi Mitch, I had not noticed it. But I haven’t noticed a lot of places changing the payment offers with Stripe and others. PayPal was so simple and now we have to have other payment options to receive and pay others. 🙁 Life seems to get more complicated each day. What does BMC stand for Mitch?

    1. BMC stands for Buy Me A Coffee; I thought everyone would figure that out, since I mention it. lol I’ve seen lots of sites moving away from PayPal, but PayPal dropping sites is a different thing I hadn’t heard of previously.

  7. Thanks for the info and warning, but the whole thing is way above my pay grade. My pay grade is low enough LOL! and don’t think it would increase this.

    1. LOL! Well, one never knows what could make a difference between finding an audience that loves you enough to pay for you to continue and an audience that might tolerate you for a while as long as you keep entertaining them. 🙂

  8. I don’t know much about BMC term but after reading your article I think this can be difficult to use if I want to .. because if this is not worthy and very few chances of earning money then why should we use this. Thank you for sharing this information.

    1. BMC is the alphabetical pseudonym for Buy Me A Coffee. And, like a lot of things social media presents to us (along with sites like Medium), few people will actually make real money because the site’s unwieldy. There are successes, but very few to have confidence in the platform long term.

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