KOOMKEY: A Community of Givers Paying It Forward


by Joseph Lacko

Even the most carefully outlined project can surprise us with unexpected turns and unforeseen adventures. It is the nature of creativity.

When I created Koomkey, the only method of sending unsolicited cash to people through Twitter, I experienced a few of these surprises.

If you’re new to the concept, Koomkey enables you to send what we call, “Kashkeys” to other people, in values between 25 cents to 10 dollars, without creating any sort of new account. Think of it as a virtual tip jar sitting on your worktable.

When Twitter followers appreciate the efforts you make in social media, or admire your offline creative outpouring, a quick “Kashkey” of encouragement can be sent your way.

Throughout development, I told myself: “I know what I see as the usefulness of this tool, but I will always be ready for the different ways social media users ultimately take it.”

When we launched Koomkey July 1, 2013, the Twitter users who’d tweeted, “How do I turn my social media efforts into cash?” didn’t respond. In fact, some of them blocked me.

My wife, Rebecca, began her own venture, offering “latte & muffin” cash to her favorite authors. And there was my surprise; the first niche to latch on to the power of Koomkey’s usefulness was the writing community. Now I have befriended more wordsmiths than I ever imagined I might.

It makes sense. The intention of Koomkey is to empower social media users to instantly support others on a reasonable scale. This fits perfectly into the intimate world of writers networking and building an author platform.


More useful than merely clicking, “Like,” a humble thanks in the form of 25 cents can quickly add up. Anyone who sells a product in units—books, for instance—understands how quickly small numbers can snowball. Kashkeys are real income earned simply by maintaining your current online platform through social media.

If just 10% of your Twitter followers sent you a quarter, or maybe a dollar this month, and every month, how would it benefit you?

I’ve discovered the unexpected joy of joining others in giving heartfelt $10 Kashkeys to an author who found herself in a sudden bind. Together, we helped a stranger in need, and now count her among our friends. I have personally found the writing community the most receptive to random acts of generosity.

It stems from one of the key principles that went into the creation of the service: allowing people to simply be themselves and get financially rewarded for it.

Relationships are the cornerstone of social media. Readers love to interact with writers. In our first month of operation, two book fans, strangers in different countries, connected with their favorite author on Twitter using Koomkey. An exchange of Kashkeys was sent between them, and this small gesture was so appreciated, the fans teamed up to support the author’s Blog Tour of her latest book release. Their enthusiasm and partnership amazed me, and I was happy to donate Kashkey prizes for contests offered throughout the author’s tour.

What has been created in Koomkey is a simple way to cheer on a hard working writer, artist, charity, comic, blogger–whoever inspires us. Koomkey users have sent donations to favorite charities, students struggling to make ends meet, and educational programs in need of funding. Other Koomkey users notice these donations and join in giving—to both the worthy cause, and the original giver. I look forward to the time when a 25-cent Kashkey is as common as a retweet.

Signing up is as easy as logging in at www.koomkey.com with your Twitter handle and password. Claiming your cash is a matter of one click. You can use your funds received to send Kashkeys to others, or direct the money to your bank. It’s your choice.

If you have only a quarter or two to spare, try it. I challenge you to brighten someone’s day using Koomkey.



Joseph on Twitter

Rebecca on Twitter

How It Works

Why send someone cash for no apparent reason? (by Joseph Lacko)

Connecting, Writing, and Paying It Forward with Koomey (by Rebecca Lacko)