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Running a Bitcoin Faucet

If you are interested in taking part in running a Bitcoin faucet, there is a lot you need to know first. It is not the get rich scheme that a lot of people think it is, and there is a lot of time that has to be spent perfecting things and dealing with ongoing development in order to keep the site up and running. On top of this, you have to be willing to pay out some Bitcoins (even in fractions), regardless of their current value. This article is set up with the goal of helping to explain what all goes in to the faucets, and what you need to know before getting involved. You might be surprised!

My Qualifications

I think it is best to start this off by qualifying how I know as much as I do. If you are not already familiar with it, I run a popular BTC faucet rotator that allows people to easily skip from one faucet to another. I also keep a pruned list there, so as faucets run dry or new ones are added, I ensure that we keep people up and running. This keeps down the waste of time one would normally experience, plus the way the site is set up allows much faster rotations and it keeps up with the timers.

Basically, my qualification is that I deal with faucets on a regular basis. Whether it is people asking questions about theirs, there are faucets with issues, etc. I spend a lot of time helping out and getting better understanding as to what is happening in the faucet world. This has taught me an immense amount, and that is what I want to share with you here!

Common Faucet Myths

The best way to handle a lot of this is through a listing of myths. There are many misconceptions people have before they get involved in faucets, and then when they learn the truth it is a real eye opener. So here we go.

Faucets earn a lot of money. This is very false. The idea here is that through selling advertisement on a faucet, the costs of hosting and the cost of Bitcoins that are given out will make up for it. In the vast majority of cases, this is wrong. Advertising really does not pay that much, especially for faucets, because there is just no care from the visitors. People who go to faucets do not pay attention to the ads that show up, and spend most of their time trying to get past them. Because of this, the number of visits and visitors per day is pretty much meaningless to them.

Faucets drive a ton of traffic. There are some people who have used their faucets to try and drive traffic to their news site. While this is not a bad idea, and it does get people involved in visiting the faucet, it does not convert well. A great way to view this is to act like the faucet is the advertisement. The goal there is to get people to visit the faucet and then check out the latest posts while they are there. Well, this happens when it is planned out well, but in most cases it just ends up in a failure.

Faucets have to pay out a lot. This is another false thing, to a point. If the amount of money you are giving out is not enough, people will not visit. What some sites have done is alter the system a bit. For example, instead of giving out a flat rate payment for each view per hour a day, turning that in to a ticket for a raffle or other game. From here, some people will get almost nothing and others will earn quite a bit. For sites with a ton of traffic, this is a great way to negotiate between the amount that is given out and the funds that are incoming.

Payments have to be sent out manually. There are some people that choose to send out their payments manually so that they can ensure that they are crafted properly and that the payments make it to where they should be. Others will set up automatic systems that will pay out the funds on their own, without the site maintainer having to sit there and baby it. Either of these methods work, and which method a site owner chooses to use is up to them. There is no right or wrong way, as the funds will get through either way.

Making a faucet popular is easy. Faucets are just like any other site; you have to bring about something new and exciting if you want people to visit. When it comes to Bitcoin faucets, there are tons of them out there. Some are maintained and some are not. Some are still paying and some are not. Some are flooded with ads. If you can come up with an awesome faucet idea that goes above and beyond the address and captcha method, you can build up a great following. Past this, you are just throwing your site out in to the herd with all the rest. How far you will make it is all up to you!

Understanding Payment Fees

There are a lot of faucets that have minimum withdrawal amounts. While this is an annoyance to a lot of the faucet users, there is a reason for this: sending payments has costs associated with it. There are essentially three different ways to handle the pay outs:

  • You can do it on demand, sending each payment out on its own
  • You can wait until x number of pay outs have been requested and then send them out in a bundle to save on fees
  • You can send out payments every x period of time and just throw in all of the pending amounts at that time

For Bitcoin, there are services that help with some of this, like Microwallet. For alt coins, there is no service that does this that I am aware of, so different sites will use a different method of payments. For most sites, I have found that they are sending payments out on demand, but do have a minimum. Most of them do not even have any withdrawal fee attached, which is great for the faucet users. You just have to be aware of this cost when creating the faucets and trying to determine how much you are going to be spending to keep them active.

A trick to this is to try out the on demand payments at first, and then keep up with what it is costing. Always send out payments using the lowest fee possible (as there is no rush to get the payments verified). This should help save some money in the long run, which means that the amounts being paid out are greater. And while faucet users do definitely want their money (after all, they are working for it, right?), bigger payments are usually more important than quicker ones.

Can Faucets Earn Money?

The simple answer here is yes, although it is not common. There are a couple sites that earn decent amounts. One of them earns a couple Bitcoins a week in pure profit. But to hit this point, you need a ton of traffic and other monetization methods. Just having a faucet and hoping for the best is probably not going to work so well. The sites that actually earn a bit are doing other things, such as having news sites or other Bitcoin related sites that they are pushing traffic to and from.

Most sites that run faucets actually end up having to pay a lot out of pocket. You can use the faucet to experiment with your site and the idea you have for earning money off it if you want, but you have to know when to call it quits. You can easily lose all of your coins if you keep things going, without gaining any real benefit from it (other than passing coins around to those who request them). If you are hoping to profit and not just break even, you need to consider the faucet as being an investment. Do not risk more than you can afford.

Development of a Faucet

I have seen this handled in different ways. You can create a faucet pretty easily by using PHP (and you can use SQL or flat file save systems), other languages, or even just a general submission form. The path you take is completely up to you. For automating payments, this can be done using the Coinbase or Blockchain APIs. This allows for easy paying out, without having to run the client on your own. This does require you to have funds on an online wallet (which many would argue brings about its own security concerns), but this is not an issue since you do not hold too many coins in a faucet wallet regardless.

There have been some scripts released that make the faucet creation process a bit easier, but they are all out of date now or run on systems that no longer exist (for example, the Inputs.io faucet script was pretty popular but now the site is down). Your best bet, in my opinion, is to roll with PHP and MySQL. This makes the creation of a faucet pretty easy and you can get in just the features you need.

If you want to run a faucet and do not want to create your own scripts, you can also hire out someone else to handle it for you. Most developers will not take too much time to get it done, so the cost should be pretty low. Keep in mind, though, that you need to have enough money left over to handle your payouts. Once a faucet does not pay out anymore, people quit visiting it and it ends up getting a bad name as people will claim it was a scam. Do not let yourself fall in to this!

Things You Should Do With a Faucet!

This is of high importance to me. When I look for new faucets to add to my rotator, there are specific things I am looking for. Here I am going to list these, as well as other things you need to be sure you handle (that are not necessarily public facing but are important regardless):

  • Keep up with how many funds are available to pay out. You should subtract those that have been earned from this amount to ensure that you can cover the withdrawals. If you have issues with people making requests and never withdrawing, you can add in a system that will remove all requests from a certain period of time ago, such as a month. This will allow the funds to be freed again. This is much better than having more money earned than you can afford to pay out, as it is how you lead to scam accusations
  • Add in protection to see if someone is requesting funds more than once per block of time (whether this is half hour, hour or day). For example, if I visit the site in between now and the next few minutes, it would discard the second one. To help thwart exploiters from benefiting from this knowledge, make it seem as if the request was successful. There is no honor among scammers!
  • Make public notices if there are going to be payment changes or other big site changes. This is something a lot of website owners should be doing. All too often people make major changes without letting anyone know until the last minute. If you keep your visitors up to date with what is going on and what the future plans are, it will make for a much more loyal following. And a loyal following is important if you want to keep the faucet running
  • Alter the payout amounts depending on the price of Bitcoin. You will likely need to do this manually, but I think it is pretty important. A site that is paying out a lot of money can not afford to continue running. Lowering the amount the faucet is paying so that it is always equal against USD will be just fine. But you also need to deal with the reverse, raising the payouts when the price of Bitcoins starts crashing

Things Not to Do With a Faucet

If you are running a faucet, there are also some things you need to avoid doing, such as:

  • Do not assume that the faucet is going to make you rich. In fact, do not even assume you are going to break even. If you do, it is a huge plus, but in most cases you are going to be losing more money than you are getting back
  • Do not overflow the faucet with advertisements. I have seen a lot of them that are not even usable because it is just too difficult to decipher where to put your information at and what needs to be done to get the funds. When a site goes through this much trouble to try and get every penny they possibly can, you can tell they are not out there to help out with the Bitcoin economy
  • Do not release poorly tested code for people to use. I have seen time and time again a new faucet pop up that appears to not even be tested. Some will pay out massive amounts of Bitcoin due to coding errors (ie. some will dump the entire hot wallet to whoever visits first). Some will have cool downs that are not activated and allow you to keep hitting the faucet over and over (or even write a bot that will do this for you). Always test the code first and ensure everything is working as you hope!
  • Do not spam the URL to your faucet. This is a sure way to annoy potential visitors, and put out a bad name for yourself. It seems to happen a lot in the crypto world due to the anonymity aspect of it, but seriously; do not degrade the system in the hope of earning a quick dollar

Conclusion

Running a Bitcoin faucet can be great fun and can teach you a lot about how to run one. You learn the development, business and marketing aspects of the site, which are all invaluable skills to have. But what you have to keep in mind when dealing with your own faucets is that while there are advertisers, and there are a lot of people that like to visit faucets, that does not make them profitable. If you want to make money off your faucet, especially a lot of it, you will have to go further than just hosting a faucet. You need to come up with other services that it can be tied in with that will help with the money generation. If you can do this, you can make a very successful site and everything can work out well!

Bitcoin | Faucets


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