Internet gift economies: Voluntary payment schemes as tangible reciprocity

  • Kylie Veale


The Internet today is a mix of the nfree and the feeo, though it still remains in part a gift economy. Personal and organisational sharing of free information, products and software continues to flourish as a circle of gifts for returned intangible reward. Though a perceived lack of these rewards, due in part to an inability to quantify them, has resulted in givers seeking more for their efforts. What are their revised motivations? What now are their rewards? Confronted with this development, I suggest their rewards are voluntary payments as forms of tangible reciprocity. This paper therefore outlines the Internet as a gift economy. It suggests a conceptual path through gift economy principles to reveal voluntary payments as tangible reciprocity. It also documents an analysis of voluntary payment schemes as evidence of operationalising tangible reciprocity. I also introduce monetary, content and purpose gifting mechanisms as tangible reciprocity.
How to Cite
Veale, K. (2003). Internet gift economies: Voluntary payment schemes as tangible reciprocity. First Monday, 8(12).