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A honeypot with money in it

Happy Solstice! We have a meta-gift for you: Honeygrams!

Meta-gift? Yes, you can now gift your honey money (FKA premium credit), even to people who don’t yet have a Beeminder account (give the gift of Beeminder?). It looks like this:

Screenshot of sending a Honeygram

If you put an email address in the “To” field instead of a Beeminder username, that person will be notified, we’ll help get them set up, and then transfer the honey to them. If they fail to get set up, you keep your honey. Or if they happen to already have a Beeminder account, the honey will transfer to them instantly.

Wait, what’s Honey Money again?

It’s Beeminder’s new currency and a way to pre-pay for derailments. It also generalizes the old premium credit feature. We’ve just now added a Honey Money FAQ to our help docs for reference.


We’ve been experimenting with this as a hidden beta feature for a while and have been slow to announce it more widely because it’s involved kind rewriting all our backend code that deals with payments and premium credit. There’s a lot more to say about it and we intend additional blog posts. For now we’ll focus on why we built this.

In the beginning there was premium premium credit…

We’ve long used premium credit for bounties or thank-yous or apologies, or occasionally as refunds. Also student discounts and similar. You can see the gory details in our help doc or the even gorier details in our internal spec from which we implemented it.

Honey Money is the same thing but can also, optionally, work for derailments. It’s a way to prepay for a derailment by depositing money with Beeminder before you actually derail. When you derail we draw from that balance first before charging your credit card.

(Of course users shouldn’t have to care about this, if they want to just give us a payment method like usual to be charged whenever they derail. If someone does somehow end up with honey money they don’t want applied to derailments, we intend to keep that as an option.)

Anyway, we ended up accumulating a whole list of reasons we wanted people to at least have the option to prepay for derailments:

  1. As a signup filter, we may want to only let you sign up if you’re serious enough and philosophically on board enough to be fine with prepaying $5.
  2. (Also potentially it matters for anti-fraud to have a big enough initial deposit required to deter testing of stolen credit cards.)
  3. Beyond signup, it can be a way to encourage the derailing-it-is-nailing-it mindset: “Of course it’s fine to put in honey money up front — eventually you’ll use it. If you don’t you’re doing it wrong!”
  4. To support payment methods that don’t support arbitrary future charges (cf. the situation in India in particular).
  5. To close the loophole (at least for people who want to close it for themselves) where you deauthorize Beeminder’s access to your payment method before we charge it.
  6. To be able to pay bounties to users or issue refunds by adding to your honey balance. Especially if premium plans go away in the future and already for the case of lifetime premium people or people who never intend to get premium. We’ve been doing a lot with premium credit but want to keep gradually moving away from premium plans so generalizing to derail credit helps with that.
  7. To reduce the amount of refunds we do ($50k/year last we checked).
  8. To keep from throwing PayPal users under the bus (Stripe even supports PayPal now for one-off payments to US businesses).
  9. As probably the easiest way to support paying for derailments via in-app purchase on iOS.
  10. We could save credit card processing fees and other overhead/risk by doing bigger charges less frequently. Honey money (that’s allowed to go negative?) may be the most elegant implementation of this.
  11. The integration with our friends at Manifold where mana and honey can be exchanged!
  12. We’re doing a science experiment in collaboration with the University of Virginia and needed a way for students to use Beeminder without putting in their own credit cards.

Of course it’s the last one that kicked us out of maybe-someday mode.

So there you have it. Honey Money is now the coin of the realm. Go ahead, click on it: