The new supposed micro-payment systems from PayPal and Google aren’t really micro-payment at all. Real micro payment needs to be completely automatic and for tiny amounts, like a penny an article (or less.)
For example, I use micro-payments and charge a penny an article for major blog articles here. You sign up. At the end of the month, the micro-payment service bills you for, say, 30 cents and sends me the total amount for all readers. This could be a simple way to build revenue for any blog or website.
Baekdal explores how it could work. The biggest obstacle is that it would need a huge back engine somewhere tracking micro-payments across millions of websites. Hey, that sounds like a cloud application to me. Amazon and Rackspace have massive amounts of cloud computing time and space available. Moreover, there is already an application that does something similar, Google Adsense. The concept behind Adsense could easily be adopted for micro-payments.
Publishers have talked about micro-payments for the past 15 years, but we are actually at a point now where we have the technology, and scale to make it happen. We couldn’t have done this 2 years ago, but we can do it today.
What we need is for publishers to get together. Micro-payment systems don’t work until we reach critical mass.
The newspaper industry managed to get together to create the Associated Press. We need to do the same, to create the Associated Micro-Payment System.
So stop fighting, and start earning money.
Not only would we earn more money, we could create our own content distribution system. The micro-payment system could aggregate totals by category and make them publicly available. What was the most popular left-wing article last month? Hey, articles about algae biofuel are steadily gaining readers. Whoops, readership of Sarah Palin articles is nose-diving :). What are the most popular other sites for those who read Newshoggers? Blogs could be presented by category and readers would choose which ones they want, like BlogAds does now for advertisers looking for blogs to advertise on. All sorts of possibilities present themselves.
This would also reward those with unique content. A site that reblogs news from elsewhere with few original thoughts might find themselves, well, penniless.
Baekdal, OTOH, would do quite well. And if a reader read his articles for a month it would cost him a mere 83 cents.