As crowdfunding sites like GoFundme.com and Indiegogo.com started to take off, New York City editor Brandon Wenerd was more than happy to donate to worthy causes, like the kid with stage-four kidney cancer who wanted to travel the world.
Soon Wenerd, 30, was swamped with more selfish requests: people raising money not for anything high-minded or charitable, but for spring break trips, honeymoons and credit-card debt.
"It has taken on this air of panhandling to me," said Wenerd.
For anyone with a Facebook or email account, it is likely a familiar story. More and more family members, or friends, or friends of friends, or even strangers, are asking for help with the rent, or to fund a trip.
The crowdfunding field has ballooned to over $34 billion in just a few years, according to the consulting firm Massolution, up from $880 million in 2010, so it is perhaps inevitable to see some backlash.
"You know what people did before GoFundMe? They worked," said Damen Bell-Holter, a professional basketball player from Alaska who now plays overseas in Finland. He is among those who finds himself awash in crowdfunding requests, and is sick of them.
"Help me with my rent, help me with my school bills. I understand tragedy occurs, and some people legitimately need help - but others are just lazy," he said.
The floodgates to silliness opened when people figured out that the online interface allows them to reach out and ask for things they might not have the temerity to ask for in person, said Amir Pasic, dean of Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Even Kickstarter, which has successfully funded over 102,000 projects toward the goal of bringing "creative projects to life," helped one man raise over $55,000 so he could make potato salad.
GoFundMe has raised $2 billion in the last year, with some users currently seeking money to buy bottles of Hennessy cognac, Yeezy sneakers, and breast implants.