I was wondering if anyone has heard of the Tip the Web Foundation? It is a Non-Profit that encourages people to leave small donations for sites and content that they believe is valuable.
It seems like a crowd sourcing of voting for good content through small payments. This could encourage the better authors to create more content if people like it. It also reminds me of the good old days of the internet before a bunch of pay-walls.
Take a look and see if you guys think there is a benefit to small content producers.