I’m not a big fan of cyber begging for a couple of reasons: 1) There is rarely any way to tell if the story being told to get money from you is true or not and 2) It doesn’t address the problem of why the person needs the money in the first place (If you’re in debt and someone donates you money to get out of debt, if you don’t address the reasons you were in debt in the first place, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself with the same debt problem again). It also doesn’t help that Karyn is the poster girl for this entire cyber begging phenomenon when she was able to convince people to pay off the credit card debt she racked up.
While I wouldn’t normally bring this subject up, the main forum got spammed from a cyber beggar today asking for people to donate to help her family. While I don’t see anything wrong in receiving charity when a person is in need, I don’t think that spamming forums is the way to go about it. I’m also not real happy with a website called Digital Charity (where the spammer came from) that is encouraging their members to spam their cyber begging. From their FAQ Section:
How can I get people to donate money to me?
Promote the donation page that we create for you in as many places as possible, such as blogs, search engines, forums, and other websites…
When directions like this are given, the person that came may not even even known what they were doing was not appropriate etiquette and when they do, it certainly doesn’t help those who are legitimately looking for donations for a cause.
The other thing about cyber begging is that, on a personal level, I would be willing to bet that doesn’t work. Like with many things on the Internet, it’s a first to do type situation that garners all the attention and anyone who follows makes little to nothing. That means all the time these people take to create a page (not much) and then go around promoting it (this can take quite a bit of time) is basically wasted – and if someone is in desperate need of money, wasting time is something that they probably shouldn’t be doing.
Maybe I’ve become to cynical with all the get rich quick schemes that pass through the forums on a daily basis so that I’ve come to the point where I don’t trust anything that I can’t independently verify no matter how sad the story seems to be…
Note: After getting the spam, I wrote an email to Digital Charity asking them to make their FAQs reflect that spamming isn’t appreciated by most forums. To their credit, they did change the wording to explain that this was not acceptable.