- pay before viewing: how do you know that the thing you're paying for is the thing that you're expecting? What if it's a rickroll or goatse?
- so do you give refunds a la steam?
- pay and adverts: double-dipping is very annoying
- pay and adverts: how do you know who you're paying? A page appears with a micropayment request, but how do you know you've not just paid the advertiser to view their ad?
- pay and frame: can you have multiple payees per displayed page? (this has good and bad ideas)
- pay and popups: it's going to be like those notification or app install modals, yet another annoyance for people to bounce off
- pay limits: contactless has a £30 limit here. Would you have the same payment system suitable for $.01 payments and $1000 payments? How easy is it to trick people into paying over the odds (see refunds)?
- pay and censors: who's excluded from the payment system? Why?
Essentially the problem with micropayments is microscams.
I send you 10$ somehow, you send me email with ten hashes. Each hash worth a dollar.
I pay to alex by cut and paste on a webpage (here's the catch, maybe It's a scam!)
Alex has registered as content producer to your service. Alex immediately sends the hash with his on handle crypted into one neat package, to your servers. As soon as it lands, you add the dollar to his account. The particular hash is now rendered useless for the rest of history.
You send "valid transaction" message to Alex. Alex then lets me to comment his excellent blog post.
What am I missing? If it was that easy, it would have been done.
Part 2: business model problems!
- getting money into the system is plagued by usual fraud problems of card TX for pure digital goods
- nobody wants to build a federated system; everyone wants to build a Play/Apple/Steam store where they take 30%
- winner-take-all effects are strong
- Play store et al already exist, why not use that?
- Free substitute goods are just a click away
- Consumers will pirate anything no matter how cheap the original is
- No real consumer demand for micropayments
=> lemma from previous 3 items: market for online goods is efficient enough to drive all marginal prices to zero
- existing problem of the play store letting your kid spend all the money
- friction: it would be great if you didn't have to repeatedly approve things, such as a micropayment for every page of a webcomic archive. But blanket approval lets bad actors drain the jar or inattentive users waste it and then feel conned
- first most obvious model for making this work is porn, which is inevitably blacklisted by the payment processors, has a worse environment for fraud/chargebacks, and is toxic to VCs (see Patreon and even Craigslist)
- Internet has actually killed previously working micropayment systems such as Minitel, paid ringtones (anyone remember the dark era of Crazy Frog?); surviving ones like premium SMS and phone have a scammy, seedy feel.
- accounting requirements: do you have to pay VAT on that micropayment? do you have to declare it? Is it a federal offence to sell something to an Iranian or North Korean for one cent?
Previously on HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=630862 Slashdot (2003): https://news.slashdot.org/story/03/07/22/138257/whatever-hap... HBR: https://hbr.org/2010/02/why-i-hate-micropayments.html
Play store does not have the content I want. And it seems overly difficult to post the content I want to make. And if I want to pay for engagement with the content, that's not an option.
Patreon is lot closer to what suits my needs. But even that is too inflexible on how to use payments and to what you should pay. So far everybody seems to be making their micro-transaction payment models "flexible" by making the amount paid flexible. But that's exactly the one thing I want to be fixed. I'd like to host my entirely own webpage and patreon just to handle the money from exactly the kind of transaction I want.
"Pirate" is not the thing I would concentrate on. People want to see the stuff before they pay for it. But if I could somehow engage with Slavoj Zizek about the superb youtube video he made, I'd actually pay for it. Or if I could promote that video to people in my home city I'd pay for that also. If some of that money went to Zizek I'd be even more willing to pay, because that would support him to continue. People underestimate the need for other people to be social about the content they consume.
People on reddit are using the reddit gold as super upvote. But that only works in Reddit.
I agree about the "funding more content" angle; I hope twitter eventually realises this, but they really have a bad idea about how their own platform works and seem to be allergic to taking money from users for features.
Say if you walk up to me irl and ask for a dollar, I'll be like, sure here's your change and open up my wallet.
Online, asking for one dollar is too much mental overhead. Its not like people don't want to pay, but you need to make it easy for them to pay you.
Personally, I would stick with ad revenue instead of 1 dollar payments.
I won't pay 10 dollars a month (each) to the NYT (LAT, WaPo, et al) for a subscription I might quite happily pay 5 to 20 cents for an article though. I can see a service that functions a lot like EZPass, you load your account with 5-10 bucks, you agree to pay by clicking a payment button on a landing page on a website, the rest is mostly automatic, require more than just a click thru for anything larger than say, 25 cents. You could even set it up so it doesn't prompt you to pay until you're more than half way thru too.
Yes, It'd take some doing to build infrastructure and get content providers online, but it would eliminate a lot of the mechanics of paying for news, information, online media and other like content (as well as many of the privacy and practical concerns of ad based content payment).
The big thing is to make it content agnostic, it can't be part of apple, google, facebook, whatever, it needs to be something that functions just as a payment/escrow service, not part of some other media empire - part of the utility of such a service is universality. I'd also steer clear of person to person payments, large transactions, pretty much just be a one-trick-pony (at least until you have wide penetration), and only go after small payments - all of those other markets are well served by a multitude of providers, and would serve as a distraction from the primary product.
What about a Spotify model for articles where you pay a monthly subscription to access all articles from the NYT, WaPo, LAT, Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, The Economist, Nature, National Geographic, Scientific American, London Review of Books ... ?
EDIT: I guess this is what Blendle is, as mentioned in a sibling comment, except Blendle seems to be pay-per-view and I'm suggesting monthly subscription. Presumably Blendle could also offer monthly subscription.
They are based in the Netherlands, my home country and they have deals with all major newspapers here, so I am not missing out on anything.
I highly recommend you give this a shot.
Note: I am not associated with Blendle in any way. Just a happy user spreading the word.
Today the people behind blendle launched a new product, Medianieuwsbrief.nl To me another pointer that blendle is no longer viable and they are looking for new products.
They are what others describe causing brand erosion, as they collect articles from lots of sources, readers will forget/not know who actually wrote the article, which newspaper the good articles come from etc.
Jeez. I didn't know the situation became that bad. I didn't notice because I mostly read American news. From what I quickly read on for example NRC , they pulled their content because Blendle introduced the concept of a subscription and that would cut profits for NRC.
The new concept Medianieuwsbrief.nl looks like a last resort kinda thing. I doubt it would take off.
That new site hurts my eyes :)
Think an online webmail client, where each time you view an email it adds a new item to your history.
I remember when Peter Sunde's Flattr was around (circa 2010) and websites had flattr buttons (like those html/css buttons).
Edit: I just checked and apparently it still exists: https://flattr.com/
Edit: And it has already started: Eyeo has made major changes to how Flattr works (now they decide who gets your money, and how much of it, not you) and hiked the prices.
However, it feels like is something the big boys don't want to handle as a standards because there's too much money at stake if they get a piece of the pay themselves, i.e. Apple Pay & co.
It's already in Chrome and Edge, coming to Safari:
I used to argue for Bitcoin, but at $6K that's crazy.
However, a EZPass-like token funded with cards, cryptocurrencies, money in the mail, etc. That would be cool.
Well, Bitcoin may not be good for micropayments, but that's not the reason; you don't have to have integer numbers of bitcoin, you can have 0.00016666 bitcoins (~$1 at $6k/BTC).
Not for micro- nor instant-transactions.
IMO I think it makes more sense to put advertising on the main site and fund it that way. If I was a user of this service I'd prefer to have some ads on the site rather than paying $1 for it. I don't feel it makes sense to remove the branded gifs...that's how you will grow your business, and it's not worth removing it because someone is just too cheap to pay.
Anyway, it's your business and not mine, so do what you feel is best.
Key word there is paying. A buck is fine with me, but I don't have a good way to offer it. I'm not giving you my credit card number, email or phone number; I'm not going to spend even 10 seconds filling out a form just for your site; I don't use PayPal; I don't currently authorize you to ever take any more than the buck I want to give you right now; I want a refund if the functionality doesn't work as described.
Has anyone made any real progress in solving this problem?
That's exactly the case for me. I spend physical cash with much less hesitation than for online purchases. I'd probably spend way more freely online if I didn't have to keep track of the purchase just in case something goes wrong, like getting mis-charged, double-billed, a continuing subscription I wasn't expecting, or just to remember why that $1 debit appears on my statement.
As an aside:
It's curious to see that this made it to the HN front page and already has more than 25 comments, yet nobody has commented on the original article's own page which does allow commenting. Well, there is one comment that says, "Great analysis", but that was me just to check if commenting actually works. I suppose that ties in with the same idea -- it's not worth the "cognitive cost" to make a comment no one will read.
Their comment form requires login or signup. I'm already signed up and logged in here. That's reason enough for me to post here and not there. I would never create an account just to leave a comment unless it was someplace where I intended to visit and comment often.
Though PayPal doesn't feel like that, I guess being in the browser is off-putting in terms of spending because of added risk.
Amusingly, Amazon charges me $0.14 every single month for my usage of Amazon S3. I wonder if they've got some sort of sick deal where they don't pay per-tx.
Off-topic but I had this (except I have a non-US card, so the foreign transaction fee was larger than the S3 bill). I contacted Amazon and asked if I could prepay $50 and they added a small balance to my account for free that'll cover my tiny S3 usage for the next few years
Wouldn't be too hard to implement in an iOS app with a IAP for credits. All the other places I can think where this has been done and it is relatively streamlined are other walled gardens like Steam.
Would this work for you?
Basically you get the ID, then either make use of online banking or go to the next ATM machine around the corner and make the transfer.
Online banking and mobile phone app are still an option as well.
Also we don't charge for ATM operations, so they are available on almost every street, at least on major cities.
anyone know what happened?
Disclaimer: I don't use bitcoin. The $5 number is outdated, but from the graphs I could find in a quick search it seemed to be rising consistently.
That's $2.82 according to .
And that's with current levels of demand - if there was a transaction every time someone visited a website, demand would be much, much higher.
Bitcoin micro-transactions via lightning:
Let's not pretend that consumer-facing cryptocurrency-backed anything is little more than something for speculators, libertarians, and nerds.
The reason they haven't is that the law puts the burden of fraud on the payment processors. The dispute resolution overhead is the same for a $.10 transaction as a $100 transaction, but if that average cost is $.30 then you can't have $.10 transactions and the fee on $1 transactions is onerous.
Using some cheaper less effective dispute resolution for micro-transactions doesn't work because if it's possible to consistently scam it but only for a dime then people will just scam it for a dime in a for loop.
This is why the off-chain Bitcoin processors have lower transaction fees -- they don't have this problem. But then the problem is that the customer has to get some Bitcoin and if they have to buy it with a credit card we're back to square one.
The problem is the law is inefficient because the consumer is the lowest cost avoider. They can do things like using a good pass phrase and not reusing passwords and not holding large sums of money in uninsured accounts for unnecessarily long periods of time.
Payment processors can't stop customers with no skin in the game from making poor decisions, so they have to sum up the cost of the resulting fraud and make everyone pay it as transaction fees, and then we can't have micro-payments.
Source: broke and unemployed.
If not, maybe a deep intersection into what one does during the day would be warranted.
The WebPayments API might solve this: https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/payments/
At the moment I'm unemployed and I'm literally living day to day just waiting for some kind of break.
It's easy to say "anyone can afford a dollar" while you sit in your $4,000 apartment sipping a late` that was just brought to you in less than five minutes by any of fifty different food delivery services available to you.
But consider that there are plenty of people who have a basic computer or smartphone and internet access who actually can't afford a dollar.
Sure. But none of them need a meme generated that is logo-free.
If you said you don't have a credit card or other means to pay, I would get that.
If you can't afford to pay the price I ask, well, then you shouldn't get it. Like anything else in the world.
> Be civil. Don't say things you wouldn't say face-to-face. Don't be snarky. Comments should get more civil and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive.
Take a breath and relax. No one is oppressing you. I simply ask that you adhere to this community's guidelines and use a civil tone.
True, I wouldn't pay either $1 or $10 to generate a meme, but I wouldn't 'pay' $0 either.
And if you are a content creator that needs lots of them then the 10$\month will be fine. Let users pay with their wallet. Not everyone would know how to do this in some graphics software so there is a value.
Making a meme on a website is barely worth the time I spend doing it. The $10 seems reasonable if I make a ton of memes and it's a good website though. The $1 is just ridiculous and they should just take that option out purely because it changes the dynamics as to how you view the website. Charging $1 for a meme is so ridiculous that I think people will look at the $1 and run, while viewing it as a monthly $10 service will be more palatable.
Now, getting me to pull out a card or log into PayPal is an uncomfortable, high-mental capacity activity, which I might not want to do during my free time. That's the real problem behind internet micropayments.
They might not be cut to do exactly that, so there's a bit of a learning curve in comparison to this service, but still, especially for something as optional as making memes, I'd rather waste half an hour learning how to do it in a video editor than pay $1 for each video.
Most people don’t know how much something is worth. Try not to lower price, rather, increase value.
Under the sad faces, I’d change the messaging. Its generally understood (even by the layperson) that the true cost of technology is very low. What this really costs, and this is true, is the time-value of your development team (and associated market salary). “It takes real people to build and maintain this” might be more effective messaging.
All that said, this does seem like an interesting way to gather user feedback. Good luck!
Also, offering payment options that don't require me to fill in a form with my credit card details for yet another frigging website. I hate to recommend them in some ways - because they've caused me aggro so many times with transactions larger than a few hundred quid - but PayPal might be a good option here.
Definitely a clever way to solicit feedback, though.
>Kapwing is an online video and GIF meme generator
It adds bars of text to the top and/or bottom of a gif. This product is worth $0. Probably less.
One man's trash...
The above is not me, but many other users.
If you absolutely require JS for the content, I understand, but please display some minimal page that explains things. Even if it was just ugly plain text, I'd be much more willing to enable JS for you :)
Asking private persons will lead into goodwill purchases - which I'm not thinking that this is scaleable...
Pay those who create it.
Allow free access to public information.
The entire advertising market worldwide is $600 billion, which works out to roughly $600 per man, woman, and child among the 1 billion inhabitants of the US, EU, Japan, CA, AU, and NZ. (Or OECD states, if you prefer, or G-7.)
Total media spend (print) is on the order of $200/year. Cable + broadband on the order of $1500 - $3000 per year (content and connectivity).
Seems to me there's some streamlining potential possible.
Instead of turning them away entirely as a full paywall may have, they got some information or at least amusement out of them, and the user still gets their service.
Users benefit either way; the question is whether they have to pay in exchange for it or answer a question in exchange for it. The latter may seem wasteful to you, but clearly it didn't to the owners of that website.
Given enough time, game theory is bound to kick in and gaming the system becomes a norm reducing the conversion rate. That is what you get with rational decision makers combined with enough automation.
I read many articles from The Guardian, who use a banner ad to promote their premium subscriptions. Due to my unstable life, I can't commit to regular payments from one bank account in one country for more than a couple of months at the longest.
The Guardian and many other news sites have entire sections dedicated to Bitcoin. But they don't accept it as a payment method.
I emailed their customer feedback, and was pleasantly surprised at the encouraging reply. Their management will be discussing whether to accept Bitcoin as a payment method.
If the news websites start accepting Bitcoin, they'll be more likely to post less sensational articles about it, and the value proposition to the end user becomes more clear (remove ads). The fact that Bitcoin payments aren't traceable encourages factual articles instead of promoting articles that indulge the political opinions of the people funding the news agency.
My problem with paywalls/sponsoring/micropayments is that I'm completely fine to pay an entity, say $5 a month. What I am not OK with is supporting all the people I'd like to support, which at $5 a month might total a hundred bucks or more.
I have the budget for it, but $5 increments can really get expensive after a while. And if you don't want to support an entity anymore, you'd have to remove their subscription on Paypal or Patreon or on their website or on whatever platform they've decided to use.
My "disruptive" idea is composed of two pieces:
1) A budget. I have $50/month I want to give away. No more than that because X reasons. I want this money to be equally divided. Tomorrow I have a better job, so I can budget $200/month, and everybody wins.
2) A browser extension. I click it when I'm visiting a website part of the network and lo, I've subscribed to the entity and at the end of the month part of my budget goes to them. Whenever I visit their site/content the extension reminds me I'm a subscriber, so I get the warm fuzzy feeling I'm supporting them. When I want to unsubscribe I toggle my subscription with a click.
EDIT: also, the entity DOES NOT know if a visitor on their website is a subscriber or not. I want to keep the Internet free for everybody, and not split it between paying users and leechers.
Seems to me it's _relatively_ easy to build, and it's miles ahead of all the current micropayment platforms, that are clunky as hell.
Flattr Plus seems to have gone towards the same direction, with a big difference: whenever you visit an entity registered with Flattr Plus they'll automatically send some of your money to them to support them. I DO NOT WANT that. I might visit a site, decide it's awful, and don't want to support them. I need to be able to choose.
I'd really like to discuss more on this idea, it might be totally bunk but I still think this is potentially disruptive.
My email is in my profile.
> Set up automatic micro-donations. Brave will automatically divide a monthly donation among the top sites you visit.
See also their blogpost about it  and the FAQ .
If the option is "Click here to pay $0" vs. "Click here to either sign up or do a 5 step one time checkout" then it's not clear, at least not for a service/product I'm unsure about.
(Disclaimer: I don't have PayPal or similar - I'm not sure if there exists a single click payment system that I'd be willing to use)
Again, you being poor sucks. That does not change things for them, however. They still need to make money, and if you don't have the money, then you can go without. You will still live.
Yes, that's why I have food stamps.
It's a startup posting on Hacker News about how they're trying to build a business, which is right in the bullseye of the Hacker News schtick as far as I can tell.
Since when has it been greedy to try and make a living, even doing something random and frivolous? The world needs random and frivolous things.
Regardless, I thought it was an interesting experiment.
Ethically (at least in my opinion) is the same, as long as they're kept anonymous and there's nothing personal or private in the responses they can use them for any reason. Especially because they were given in lieu of payment.
2. In my opinion, posting completely anonymized responses is not a violation of privacy
It's even worse when all they're trying to do is show simple text.
If there's a web app that I want to use, I whitelist it for js.
For general browsing, I keep it off. Ironically, this works fine for the same reason that paywalls will never succeed - there is so much content out there that any individual piece of it has essentially no value.
Zero multiplied by anything is zero, so if all individual pieces of content are worthless, so is content as a whole.
But of course that's not true because content isn't fungible. There's an infinity of content, but, unless you think a cat meme listicle is equivalent to War and Peace, it doesn't matter. The best content will always be worth paying for to people who care about what they put into their brain.
It's funny to me that someone wants to charge people for their online service, but can't even make a simple web-page fail gracefully. That's a pretty strong signal to me of the quality of their online service
Anyone who doesn't want a cryptocurrency miner in his browser?
Anyone security conscious?
This seems like an interesting way to do research on the best ways to convert these users who don't want to pay outright. Maybe selectively show ads to the free users?