How to Better Monetize Controversy

Humanitarian that I am (you’re welcome), I’m always looking for ways to increase efficiency for all parties.

I think controversial speakers and the protesters who oppose them are spending far more resources than necessary on their antagonistic charade.  Imagine instead if a polarizing speaker ran a KickStarter campaign such that, if the right amount of money was raised, they would cancel their speaking tour.

Protesters spend a few bucks on signs and transportation, plus hours organizing and yelling.  But with a donation, for just $5-10, they could signal their disdain for the speaker to their friends and help prevent them from speaking in an instant.  They could even have donation parties to maintain the social aspect of protesting.

It’s great for the speaker too.  Say the speaker earns $10k per speech and gives 20 per year.  They also give up lots of time traveling, etc.  They could create a threshold of $250k, and if met, they’d cancel the whole slate of talks.  Everybody wins!  They’d probably get more publicity digitally than speaking to crowds of a few hundred or thousand anyway.  As long as the haters shell over the annual sum, the speaker could remain comfortably off the road year after year.

To further capitalize on their polarization, a controversial speaker could even run a bidding war, where supporters could donate to get them speaking, and detractors could donate to keep them from speaking.  Whoever raised the most gets their wish.  This would have the added benefit of helping observers see who really had a larger, more passionate following.

Everybody gets to signal.  Everybody saves time and money.  Enemies don’t have to personally encounter one-another, and neutral bystander don’t have to deal with disruptive events and protests.

Markets really do make everything better.