Linked by Mufasa on Tue 13th Jul 2010 15:57 UTC
Editorial I read David's post worrying about the end of the free internet and I had to respond, as I strongly disagree that free and advertising-supported content is the future. If anything, it is advertising-supported content that is destined to be a niche strategy, because of new internet technology that enables entirely new models and empowers consumers to have exactly what they want. Advertising will not support much content creation, so I suggest what will.
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Make donation easier
by The1stImmortal on Wed 14th Jul 2010 04:36 UTC
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Micropayments may work for some organized networks of sites, say for all News Corp sites, or an MSN network of sites etc, because they have the clout to enforce it and the scope to make it apply across enough different sites to make it worthwhile implementing. For independent sites though it's not gonna work - no one will want to pay for what they get for free now, unless they absolutely have to.

Advertising has worked until now, and personally I feel that the current debate was precipitated by the advertising market beginning to meet its saturation point on the net. There will ALWAYS be a place for free advertising-funded content, just as there is in the offline world (free-to-air television and radio, for instance).

Currently, donation-based systems have worked for some people, but the mechanisms for performing donations are clunky and require large amounts. Perhaps we need to address the mechanisms used for donations? Think along the lines of the ubiquitous buttons on many sites now to Digg/Facebook/whatever an article. Imagine a "Tip author" button, or something. This would tie into a third-party site and automatically credit the author with a dollar or two (or the equivalent of a dollar or two in tokens). The default "tip" size could be set by the user, so if someone wants to make only a few but significant tips, they could set $10 tips, but someone else could set $0.05 and tip often. One mouse click that doesn't even change pages would indicate that you found the article/site deserving of a small contribution.

Regardless of how this debate goes - a wonderful thing about the Internet is that it represents the ultimate free market - we'll have all of the proposed systems implemented, and more besides, and the best and/or most popular system will rise to dominate. Or none will. ;)

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