With a PayPal account and a Web site, PimpThisBum.com is proving that the homeless would be more successful panhandling if they could accept credit cards instead of just cash.

With a reported $50,000 in pledges and donations, a homeless man named Timothy Dale Edwards in Houston is a kind of public experiment in how the Internet can raise more money for the homeless than a team of panhandlers at a busy intersection. All because of having to use a credit card instead of small change. A similar theory was proven in a 2000 study in the Netherlands, which showed that people were more likely to pay more for something while using a credit card than they would with cash.

However you look at it, the idea of giving a homeless man a Web site to raise money, as a Houston father and son did, is a clever way to help. Here's a Fox news story from its Houston affiliate:

The Web site sign that Edwards holds up near a freeway exit is enough to cause some homeless advocates to criticize the move, saying he's being exploited.

But Kevin Dolan, 55, who started the site in mid-February with his son, Sean, 24, say that 100% of the money raised will go to Edwards.

The site seems earnest enough. The Seattle-based Sunray Treatment and Recovery has donated a $13,800, 35-day alcohol detox program for Edwards, who was scheduled two weeks ago to join the program, according to an Associated Press story. If he succeeds, it should lead to the start of more outlandish Web site names for the homeless as a way to raise money to help them.


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