In the summer of 2002, Karyn Bosnak registered the Internet domain name savekaryn.com, and launched the site to request voluntary donations from the public. Bosnak thought that she could pay off her debts receiving just a few donations of several thousand dollars from a few wealthy people, or thousands of donations of one dollar from average-income people. She reasoned that any amount given would be relatively insignificant to the donor, but if she found enough donors, the total amount would be quite significant to her. An early version of the site announced "WANTED: $20,000. CREDIT CARDS ARE BAD. Hello! My name is Karyn, I’m really nice and I’m asking for your help! You see, I have this huge credit card debt and I need $20,000 to pay it off. So if you have an extra buck or two, please send it my way... Together we can banish credit card debt from my life." People answered her request and she managed to pay her debt in a short time with the help of the online community.
Bosnak was not the first individual to openly solicit voluntary donations via the Internet; documented examples go back at least as far as 1998. However, she was one of the first to have a clearly defined goal (rather than "I want money", she stated that she needed a specific amount to eliminate her credit card debt). She regularly updated the site with amounts received and progress made toward her goal.
Growing the site
Bosnak added a number of features to the site, including both ways she was saving money, as well as suggestions of other ways people could save money.
Throughout the summer and latter half of 2002, as word of the site spread, it received ever-growing press coverage, including mentions on CNN, a spot on The Today Show, and articles in various domestic and international newspapers and magazines. The site also attracted numerous Internet detractors and critics, most notably a parody site entitled "Don't Save Karyn."
Many people agree with her...