Linktree announced it is launching a number of new features to help content creators diversify their income streams and deliver more engagement for fans. As of Jan. 31, 2023, the platform will now include an in-house Buy Me a Gift tool—harkening back to donation and membership tool Buy Me a Coffee—and new integrations with Send Owl and Bonfire, tools for digital product and merchandise selling.
The new Buy Me a Gift feature works incredibly similar to Buy Me a Coffee, a crowdfunding platform founded in 2018 that allows creators to accept memberships and donations for designated price tiers paired with icons for “coffee,” “pizza,” or other items. The tool charges a 5% transaction fee and sends payments made via credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay from fans to creators via Stripe. Despite its similar name and functions, Linktree’s Buy Me a Gift is not made in partnership with Buy Me a Coffee.
With Buy Me a Gift on Linktree, fans can send a one-off donation to a creators’ PayPal or Square account, with the value of the donation being represented by corresponding emoji like a hot drink, sandwich, or beer. Fans pay with PayPal, Venmo, credit or debit cards when creators connect their PayPal account; they can also pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay when creators connect their Square account. Although Linktree will be deducting transaction fees for the use of this service further down the line, it is currently free to use with no such fees.
When asked about the similarities between Buy Me a Gift and Buy Me a Coffee, a Linktree spokesperson told Passionfruit inspiration for the new tool came from feedback from the Linktree community about its current Tip Jar feature, which allows fans to donate dollar amounts directly to creators. The spokesperson said this new tool is another way of offering a broad set of tools for a diverse audience.
“We heard from a number of our Linkers that asking specifically for ‘tips’ was hard and uncomfortable for them, especially in certain cultures where there is a lot of formality around the idea of tipping. We heard they wanted an option where asking for direct support was rooted and tied to an object or action: buy me a gift, buy me a sandwich, buy me a drink, etc,” the spokesperson said.
Linktree also unveiled two new integrations with companies offering product-selling capabilities, Bonfire and SendOwl. For influencers looking to sell branded merch like T-shirts, Bonfire can add a storefront to your Linktree and allow you to sell a range of customized content. The feature is also in-built with facilities to handle inventory, printing, and shipping. Bonfire is free to use, and manufacturing, sourcing, and printing costs are calculated in the base cost for each merch item you sell, according to Bonfire’s website.
For digital rather than physical merch—including audiobooks, images, videos, software, memberships, events, and courses—Linktree users will be able to use a feature called SendOwl to showcase up to ten of their products at once with a browsable carousel. SendOwl offers a free version with a 5% management fee on transactions, and paid versions ranging from $15 to $99 per month with lower management fees, according to its website.
Linktree did not respond to Passionfruit’s request for comment inquiring what transaction fees will be placed on purchases made through Bonfire, SendOwl, and Buy Me a Gift long-term in time for the publication of this article.
“It was revealed in our Link-Back 2022 recap that more creators are taking advantage of monetizing their craft, and their audiences are rewarding them,” a Linktree spokesperson told Passionfruit about the news. “Since then, we have continued to listen to our audience and reflect on this data to ensure we’re always aligned with users’ needs. We’re constantly iterating on our product and searching for new ways to support our Linkers.”
Update 11:42am CT, Jan. 31: After this article’s publication, Linktree confirmed there are no additional transaction fees tacked on to purchases made through Bonfire or SendOwl.