The guild charter is a game mechanic that's never really been questioned -- to start up a guild, you have to grab a charter from an NPC, and then get nine other people (not characters, people, as alts on the same account can only sign once) to sign it. But in many cases, a guild isn't even planning to have nine other people. And so, they come, the charter signers, asking and sometimes even paying to get nine signatures on their guild charter.
The mechanic is a good one -- it keeps people from starting guilds lightly (or exploiting the guild interface too much) without actually being a big barrier to entrance. Some people are happy to sign charters, others not so much. I like St. Andrews Girl's approach over on WoW LJ -- she's actually started up a community of people willing to sign on and sign charters to get guilds started. Do you happily sign charters or would you rather people leave you alone? Sign My Charter is pretty empty right now, but you never know -- maybe there's a whole world of people out there willing to help guilds get off the ground.