The “end” of the most generous faucet and other faucet musings

The most generous faucet I found was not able to keep it up for much longer than a week or so since I discovered it.  The last couple times I tried to cash out, it returned an error message saying there was no balance.  I thought it was something wrong with my computer or Internet connection, but then I realized the faucet wallet balance had gotten too low.

Earlier today I checked it and it said “faucet closed.”  That’s when it clicked with me what the “no balance” error message meant.  The faucet reopened a bit later today saying that due to costs it was now only open to those who needed to make a withdrawal.  Unfortunately, the error messages I had received wiped out my accumulated dispenses so I couldn’t cash out.  Forty thousand satoshis.  Gone.  Vanished into thin air.  That amounted to about four cents so I’m really not losing sleep over it, but it sure sounds dramatic to “lament” the loss of forty thousand satoshis, doesn’t it?

About an hour later I checked the faucet again, and this time I was informed I could claim a dispense in another two weeks.  So it seems to me that the faucet is back on, but it’s now a really slow drip.  I’m going to have to make one of those repeat-every-two-weeks entries into my Google calendar if I’m to have any hope of remembering to check it at the right time now.  Perhaps it will change to smaller, but more frequent drips, kind of like Devin’s Faucet.  I’m thinking that would be a good idea so as to maintain interest.

This whole faucet mini-series made me wonder what is actually going on with faucets.  Why have them?  As a faucet “customer” I enjoy visiting them and collecting the micro payments.  There are enough faucets out there that you truly can rack up the micro earnings by visiting them over and over again.  A lot of upside for the faucet visitors.  But what is it that the faucet owners actually get out of having a faucet where they have to give away so many micro amounts of Bitcoin?

I’m guessing the biggest benefit to the faucet owners is ad exposure.  If you’ve been around the Bitcoin world long enough, you’ve no doubt heard of Coin URL.  It is an ad network where you can get paid when visitors to your website click on the ads, similar to Google AdSense.  There are other similar networks, but Coin URL is the one I see the most.  One thing all the faucets I visit have in common is tons and tons of advertising, and I’m pretty sure they all show ads by Coin URL too.  There is also a generous dose of banner ads from sites with affiliate programs.

When I visit the faucet looking for a handout, the hope is that one or more of the ads will catch my eye and I’ll click on it, maybe even sign up for some program through the faucet’s referral link.  Then the hope is that the revenue brought in from such activities will exceed the amount that goes out in the payouts.

It would be interesting to know if it actually works out that way.  My guess is that it’s at best a break even scenario, and in some cases, as in the case of Bitcoin Blogger, the amount going out was too much to be sustainable.

Most faucets I visit include an address where you can send donations so as to keep the faucet going.  I understand why that request is there, but as someone who views faucets as a miniscule but stable income source, it makes no sense for me to donate to one.  I’m there to get uBTC, not give them away.  But the fact that the donate button is there also indicates that the advertising revenue isn’t quite what it needs to be.

I think the biggest reason people have faucets where they give away uBTC to whoever is willing to provide an address and fill out a Captcha form is that they believe in the cryptocurrency they are giving out.  They genuinely want other people to have it and get excited about it.  Free Bitcoin Lottery is a case in point.  If you scroll down past the game to the brief question and answer section, you will find this answer to the question “How is this website helping Bitcoin?”

We are helping spread the word. Is not the same talking about something new than having some, even if it’s not much, we give the first little taste that you need to later get more immersed in the bitcoin world… 

In other words, the reason Free Bitcoin Lottery and so many other faucet sites are handing out uBTC to anyone who wants them is because they want to help grow the Bitcoin economy.  They want to put small amounts of uBTC into the wallets of as many people as possible.  When you have something in your wallet, it’s easier to get excited about what it is, and want to learn more.

That’s how it worked for me.  I distinctly remember setting up my very first Bitcoin wallet and getting my very first Bitcoin address.  Then I took that address to a few sites that were recommended as places to get free Bitcoin.  Within hours I had deposits coming into my wallet and I was a convert.

If all it takes is a few uBTC to draw another person into the Bitcoin economy, then I would say that is a powerful use of those uBTC, and the faucets are doing all of us a great service.  The more others get interested in Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency, the more that currency grows in value.

Faucets are only the beginning.  Although I still visit faucets, I spend much more time on various crypto-stock exchange sites, and I now own a number of stocks which pay dividends comparable to what I’d earn visiting faucets all day.  And I hope to use these crypto-assets to actually improve my life.  And if that happens, then yes, I think it would make a lot of sense to go back and visit all my favorite faucets, not to collect, but to donate.

I’ve started a page with links to faucets.  Be sure to take a look if your wallet is empty.  No wallet should remain empty for long.

Read The “end” of the most generous faucet and other faucet musings on the Devtome!

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