Micropayments

Mashable has some thoughts on micropayments, in this case via indieKarma. indieKarma pays you a penny for every hour a visitor spends on your site. Implementation seems weak, as it requires both the viewer and site to have accounts setup and logged in to indieKarma (e.g. won't work from public workstations)

Mashable states:

Does anyone really think that micropayments are a good idea? Paying one cent for every site I visit feels like a reading tax

I think micropayments are actually a great idea. Except for the web, we already pay a "reading tax" on everything: newspapers, magazines, books. We also pay a watching tax (except for network tv), a listening tax (either via ads, or buy your cd) and so on.

Broken Newton - sweet victory!And micropayments shouldn't apply to just websites. Open-source software is used by individuals and companies who find value in the tool and in some cases make money. Yet in most cases the original developer(s) never see a single $0.01. I can speak for this myself. There have been over 7000 downloads (that I know of via the tracking stats I have) of one of my programs DashSaver. This includes being included in MacWorld UK, and a Japanese Mac magazine, and being very favorably reviewed several times on sites and podcasts. Guess how much money it's made me? (if you guessed anything other than $0.00, you were wrong - though if you guessed that it did win me a broken Newton Message Pad you'd be correct).

This doesn't really bother me. I like making software and tools that people find useful. However, I'm a little less inclined, and able, to make great tools/sites/stuff when it comes out of my free-time and I don't even have the option of making it my 'day job'.

The only ways someone can monetize, and therefore begin to properly support themselves and produce great content and software is via advertising. Advertising drives up the cost of goods, makes a site fugly, and also can have a driving impact on the content itself (see also Lobbying of governments by corporations).

Anyways, Micropayments seem like a pretty decent idea - just have yet to be implemented well. The only current means of doing payments easily and universally is via PayPal, which takes a good chunk of the change for itself. And indieKarma requires 1 hour of viewing for 1 cent? Personally, I rarely spend more than 10 minutes on a site, and that's for a good site. :)

So do what I do, if you like a site/resource, then make sure and give their advertisements a couple of clicks. Leave the windows open for awhile, and even click around and see what the advertiser has to offer. It's no money out of your pocket, takes a short amount of time, and you'll pay the site more than programs like indieKarma are offering.

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.