Oprah Winfrey also pioneered it via television.
Not totally sure why a random stranger would forward you money for procrastinating but that does not mean they won't.
In Europe anyone accepting transactions online is bound by Distance Selling Regulations which means they can demand their money back within 7 days, no questions.
I would factor that little admin nightmare into your business/legal plan.
Heck, if the site really wants to maximize it's value to users for the stated goal, it should probably donate the majority (or a token amount) to the Church of Scientology.
If it went to the friend, it'd create a perverse incentive for your friend to not actively encourage/support you. Sure, most friends won't consciously respond to this incentive, but I think subconsciously they'll care less.
If it went to a charity, I wouldn't really feel bad about losing it. It'd significantly decrease the threshold of pain and thus decrease the incentive.
Since it goes to the "greedy" owner, I feel all the more pressure to get it done.
I'm kinda dying to know if people actually sign up to send some random website money. As it is, I'm almost wondering if its satire.
I'll keep reading what everyone here thinks and implement that once there's some consensus.
1. Benevolent option: the money goes to the website but it goes back to the user after a year, less a fee (the website will also earn interest for that year so you'd get fee + interest income). Not only do you help people stop procrastinating but you also help them with a saving program.
2. Devious option (and probably more commercially viable). the website takes the money but the website also runs a weekly lottery that pays out some fraction of the revenue collected.
An option to choose where the money goes definitely seems in order.
(1) The product needs a basic F.A.Q. (What, exactly, happens to my card information? You don't put a hold on the funds, right? Do you know your shit with respect to securing your servers?)
(2) Take my email. Send me a confirmation. Remind me the day before. And then email me the conclusion.
Edit: Or today even, you know, in the true nature of the post.
The idea scales, it is not spec work. According to YCom criteria it is a startup. shrug
I think 12 sideprojects in 12 months would be more appropriate, at least to the approach I'm planning to take.
Regarding this project, I follow the creator on Twitter and he announced it yesterday I believe, and today I was thinking about it and ran into the same question "does the money go to the website or to the friend?".
Logistically, I don't think paying the friend would be something easy to do (does Stripe even allow for something like that?). Going 100% to a non-profit would leave no room for profit, so I would personally go with 80/90% to a non-profit of choice and keep the remainder as a fee.
52 paintings in a year was not uncommon for painters that are now revered as old masters.
Good ideas and inspiration are, despite your opinion, largely a product of routine.
The routine of capturing thoughts and directions followed by the routine of planning, implementation and possibly review.
The idea of a tortured artist throwing a smattering of paint at a canvas in frustration because his "spark" is gone is largely a figment of the modern imagination.
Art has been made to order on demand for most of history.
EDIT TO ADD: Downvoting without a response? Thanks for proving my point.
It is a fine method of developing one's art/science/etc... skills to regularly practise, but not a fine method when it comes to startups and founding companies, think I; for such things happen to have consumers, people who may be favouring the product and incorporating it to their daily lives, which will be disrupted when the founder loses their interest in that product and proceeds to the next month's startup.
They may have had a goal of building 12 web sites in 12 months, or 12 blog posts in 12 days, but this person chose to launch 12 startups each month, and launch those to press. Launching companies regularly is dissimilar to painting regularly. (TBH, I did not double check if this serial founder is referring to some ordinary web application as startup)
Well, according to http://www.paulgraham.com/startupideas.html you can literally go and find good ideas right now and every day thereafter.
It is also the basis of the Lean Startup Machine weekend (phenomenally popular).
You can train yourself to have ideas. Good is just an evaluation system.
People may indeed be incorporating a new product into their lives and the Founder will need to manage customer expectations and fallout. A high likelihood of discontinuance does not disqualify his attempts from being a startup.
The truth is, from a validation perspective the OP may have stumbled onto a supremely successful model of idea validation. Build it, tweak it, pump it for 11 months. The next project has 10 months. The next 9. Etc. Compare the metrics after one year and choose the most successful.
However, the statement that good ideas do not come up routinely and is false. They may just not be routine for you
inspiration: A sudden brilliant or timely idea 
If an entrepreneur trains via founding companies, then, should an architect train via filling the city up with half-arsed buildings? Nowhere in the pg article does occur something like “build random ideas into companies routinely”. Also, in that write-up is writ:
> If you're not at the leading edge of some rapidly changing field, you can get to one. For example, anyone reasonably smart can probably get to an edge of programming (e.g. building mobile apps) in a year. Since a successful startup will consume at least 3-5 years of your life, a year's preparation would be a reasonable investment. Especially if you're also looking for a cofounder.
Plus, it works. I'd been meaning to clean my desk for weeks, but after assigning $50 to getting it done today I finally did it.
Obviously the point is to not lose my $50.
It needs to be someone who you would trust with an arbitrary amount of money because as soon as there's an ounce of distrust then the entire idea falls apart.
I'm not going to put up $250 if I think there's even a 0.0000001% chance the accountability partner will improperly log that I didn't do it.
>I'm not going to put up $250 if I think there's even a 0.0000001% chance the accountability partner will improperly log that I didn't do it.
Really? An expected loss of $0.00000025 bothers you?
There's a very big difference between "internet friend I've known for 4 years and I would consider him a decently close friend" and "I'm willing to hold this guy accountable for $1,000".
I think you guys under estimate at how hard it will be to find an accountability partner who is actually worthy. Your family members will have a bias to not let you lose the money. Really close friends (the people you can trust) might too but the questionably close friends aren't quite trustworthy enough to let them decide on your $500, etc..
Sure it does. It's the difference between expecting people to behave morally and expecting them to behave in their own rational self-interest. The latter isn't completely reliable, but it's a much, much safer bet than the former.
What if I set a goal for 2 years from now. Suddenly I'm forced into maintaining a friendship with my accountability partner because if I don't then I run the risk of being blackmailed.
Enough with the "shock" titles. You're not impressing anyone. Grow up.
Regardless of your opinion of the idea/execution it qualifies as a startup.
The same "startup" tags could be applied to Quora (I write content for free, you make people log in to view it to profit) or any other number of enterprises.
EDIT TO ADD: Poster has removed the tags around startup without adding in his edit history to show it.
Why do you think it is not a startup?
This is a personal project with no intended future other than the experience. Calling it a start-up is going overboard.
Why do you think you are qualified to pass judgement or even question whether his intention is to build a solid business? Can you even define a 'solid business'?
Are startups solid in any definition? Surely once a business idea has scaled/matured into something solid is no longer a startup?
Are personal projects and startups now mutually exclusive? That must be news to Martha Stewart, the boys at innocent Smoothies (sold to Coca Cola) and the entire forum of Mumsnet.
Not to mention these guys - http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224357
You might not like his proposal but you don't get to label it a non-startup when it actually fits every technical definition of the criteria.
Oh, and by the looks of this thread his potential customer base might be polarised but the idea is pretty validated. People are putting down money and defending the brand.
Sounds like he has a business to me...
I defend my position as a sentient being that can offer sane judgement. He's doing 12 'start-ups' in 12 months. I should not have to say anything else to justify why this is such an absurd idea. His reasoning is that he can do this because someone else completed 180 projects in 180 days. The analogy alone should tell you that he is not taking this as seriously as he should for each to be considered a start-up (realistically). Practice is excellent but he's doing this for the number not for the raw value of any particular experience.
Start-ups are solid in the definition that they should have a reasonable business plan to expect anything of value (experience, cold hard cash, what have you). There are objective manners in which to approach whether something has merit as opposed to viewing business plans in a nebulous fashion believing that 'everything is possible!'
Personal projects and start-ups are not mutually exclusive, nor did I state this. I said that a project should not automatically become a start-up.
This is HN, not Reddit. When you criticise something you are expected to give a credible reason for that criticism.
You failed in that respect and retrospective attempts are simply not going to cut it.
His business seems to be generating cold hard cash right now. In what world can you say that is not a startup?
I'm really starting to believe this is no different than Reddit.
>> Justifying your belief that I don't comprehend what is in front of my face.