Tipit, a startup that lets users tip website owners for their content, has launched integration with Twitter. Users can now ‘Tweet’ their tips to websites and Twitter users, even those without an account. There isn’t any kind of installation required: users simply tweet a message in the format “d tipit TARGET AMOUNT MESSAGE” (ex: “‘d tipit @Techcrunch 50”). Recipients can then collect the tips they’ve accumulated from the Tipit site, provided they know to go there in the first place.
Unfortunately, sending a Tipit message doesn’t actually transfer any funds. Instead, it sends you an email message telling you to pony up your money through PayPal, which is then directed towards the intended recipient. According to the company, over 70% of tippers wind up making good on their tips, but it’s unlikely these numbers will hold up if the service starts seeing heavy use.
The prospect of transferring funds over Twitter seems to be gaining some traction (surprising given the service’s remarkably poor reliably record). Last week Nate Westheimer described Twitter’s potential role as a micropayment system, explaining that Twitter’s many users are already used to the “machine language” that is required for mobile micropayments. He’s probably wrong about the need for such an archaic command system, but he does have a point – Twitter is big, and it is mobile. Tipit.to isn’t going to become a ubiquitous payment system by any means, but it’s a step in that direction.