The CNN report said Zimmerman’s family used around $5,000 raised through the Web site to pay part of the 10 percent of the bond used to release him on Monday.
Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, and is expected to be arraigned next month.
The Internet has made it incredibly easy for anyone to raise funds from strangers, a tactic that has been used for legal funds, project funding and other purposes to great effect.
George Hotz, better known as “geohot,” raised money for his legal defense fund online when he was sued by Sony for distributing code that allowed gamers to put non-Sony programs on the PlayStation 3 console. Hotz later settled with Sony and donated all the money he raised to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Apart from legal costs, the Internet has also been used to raise money for creative projects and has allowed some companies — particularly game developers — with the capital to start projects without the big backing from a distributor. The crowd-funding site Kickstarter is perhaps the most notable example of this trend — users can lend their support to any project that catches their interest.
In March, Double Fine Productions set a Kickstarter record by getting over $3.3 million in contributions to fund one of its video game projects. The project had originally aimed to raise $400,000 — a goal it met within eight hours.
The crowd-funding site has also helped raise money for other buzzy projects, such as the Ron Paul video game, a “huge geeky safety net” for the webcomic Order of the Stick and a recent push for an iPad/MacBook Air hybrid.
More news from The Washington Post:
Zimmerman’s website disabled; set up to raise money for his defense in Trayvon Martin shooting
Wonkblog- End the Fed: The video game
Comic Riffs: Cartoonist Keith Knight’s 14 Tips for a More Successful Funding Campaign