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Vimeo announces 'tip jar' and 'pay-to-view' features for video monetisation

The popular video-sharing site Vimeo is introducing two new ways to help movie makers earn money off their creations, including a "tip jar" and the ability to put views behind a paywall.

First up is the Vimeo tip jar, available now, which lets viewers show their appreciation for a video by tipping its creator with a cash payment. Vimeo Plus and non-commercial Vimeo Pro members can activate the tip jar on a video so that viewers will see a button saying "tip this video," below the player.

Viewers can then tip as much as they want using a credit card. Tips will be transferred to the video creator's PayPal account, minus a 15 per cent service fee that Vimeo pockets.

"A tip is the ultimate expression of appreciation, and the easiest and best way to support the creators you love," Vimeo said in a note on its site. "With a tip, you're not only telling a creator how important their work is to you, you're also giving them the resources to make more of it."

There are a few restrictions to using the tip jar. Namely, users cannot accept tips on commercial or political videos. Vimeo does not allow users to accept donations for a political cause or as a payment for goods and services.

Meanwhile, Vimeo is also planning to roll out a new option to let users put their videos behind a paywall. The new "pay-to-view" feature is coming in early 2013 and will be available to Vimeo Pro subscribers. It will let filmmakers charge viewers for access to their videos.

"We're not saying too much at the moment, but we can promise you're going to like it," Vimeo said. "Look out for big (and we mean big) demos of the service as we get it ready for launch to the whole community."

Vimeo is encouraging those with an "awesome film (of any kind)" to contact the company for a chance to participate in the pay-to-view beta launch.

Vimeo last month teamed up with cloud-based file-storage and synchronisation service Dropbox to ease the process of uploading videos.

As an alternative to YouTube, Vimeo has made a name for itself among independent filmmakers and musicians. The site only allows original content made by users, making its selection slightly less arbitrary, albeit less expansive, than videos found on the Google-owned site.