Here's the fundamental problem with this advertising venture: everybody in the ecosystem freeloads on the site that makes the "sale". (Convinces a user to pay $X for access to the content on that site "and by the way get access to all these other sites, too!") This makes a lot of sense for, e.g., Paypal.
Quick aside on how Paypal works: everybody else in the ecosystem freeloads on eBay, because eBay is far and away the #1 source of Paypal accounts and every marginal Paypal account helps every other Paypal merchant. However, a user signing up for a Paypal account in your checkout funnel sucks for conversion. Ideally, you'd want to get new accounts generated by other businesses but never have to pay the "new account" tax yourself. However, since Paypal makes a cut of all transactions and eBay makes a huge direct profit for every additional account they sign up, it makes sense for eBay to grossly subsidize the rest of the ecosystem. (Plus, they can control it such that you can't play in their ecosystem without paying the new account tax.)
OK, now take this to content businesses: remember, everyone freeloads off the site that wins the account -- you don't have to convince an existing account to open their wallet again, you merely need to attract their eyeball. But users don't perceive value from "Get access to X... and, by the way, a bunch of other sites you might not care about and we won't list right now". They're willing to pay for X. If you're X, where X is presumably something massive like the New York Times or deeply meaningful to users like, I don't know, HN would be, and you know people will pay you money for your content, why the heck would you offer to split that money with other people who are not sharing appreciable amounts of money with you? (Because you're massively bigger and better monetized than them, you directly generate far more accounts in the system -- losing money, brand value, and user attention on each -- than you receive from, e.g., my site which has 50k visits a month.)
Ecosystems based on freeloading don't work unless the equilibrium is such that all players benefit from the freeloading. In this system, the players which you need to enable the freeloading are greatly disadvantaged by it. Sucks to be them. Accordingly, they won't sign up, and without them there is no ecosystem to speak of.
Wait, absense of whee. Its my content that was worth the dollar to the user. Why should I give twenty cents to Joe Shmoe?
And without the NYT on board, Joe Shmoe's Blog About Things You're Not Quite Willing To Pay For But Are Glad Exist On The Internet is screwed.
All that said, I have NoScript, AdBlockPlus, and RemoveItPermanently installed on almost all my computers.
Your post advocates a
( ) technical ( ) legislative (X) market-based ( ) vigilante
approach to "fixing" advertising. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't
work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may
have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law
(X) Advertisers will not stand for it
(X) The advertising industry will not go away anytime soon
(X) Unintrusive, legitimate advertising would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
(X) It won't reach critical mass
( ) It will make things better for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(X) Google will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from advertisers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(X) Many existing sites cannot afford to lose existing deals
(X) Users won't pay for it
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business
Specifically, your plan fails to account for
( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of a centrally controlling authority
( ) People who will ignore it
( ) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of advertising
(X) Huge existing software investment in advertising
(X) All the other sites that will still have advertising
(X) Extreme profitability of regular advertising
(X) Trustworthiness of provider
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
(X) Extreme stupidity on the part of webmasters
(X) Dishonesty on the part of webmasters themselves
and the following philosophical objections may also apply:
(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
(X) Paying for stuff sucks
( ) Not paying for stuff sucks
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
(X) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with existing business models
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
(X) I don't want a third-party tracking my site visits
Furthermore, this is what I think about you:
(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
All that said, my biggest concerns would be that it's a huge chicken-and-egg problem, plus the difficulty of getting users to pay for content they're used to getting for free.
Oh, and you come across sounding like a real asshole.
I make a point not to spend time around the pessimistic downer crowd, and it ticks me off when someone shoots down an idea offhandedly. I sincerely hope HN does not move in this direction.
Did you miss my post where I said it was a bad attempt at humor? Shame on you for trying to make me personally feel bad.
Shame on you for thinking that disparaging people is valid revenge for people who merely poke fun at ideas. Talk about making it personal.
There are a number of ways that you could have phrased your response that would have stimulated real discussion instead of "har har lolz anti-spam newbz"
I don't even have to look at this new scheme to know it won't work. It won't work because it relies on a critical mass, and until it gets that critical mass sites won't switch, and until they do users won't sign up, so there's no critical mass .. your classic chicken and egg problem. No-one is going to pay unless everyone else has to pay. There is nothing to force everyone to move at once. See: history of "penny stamp" email anti-spam ideas.
The form style helps ram these notions home; it's a welcome reality check in situations like these.
(updated to stay on topic)
Anyone who thought ad revenues were low as they are should wait to see how really low tip revenues can get.
Disclaimer: I run an ad network :-)
(I had to choose between keeping a "corporate" image while shilling my company left and right, and being honest and true to myself among my hacker peers. I am doing traditional advertising with nothing "startupy" about it; and if we're doing anything new/different I don't intend to "share" it, so you guys are stuck with my closet Real-Self ;-)
This is pretty much as hard as making sure multiple startups launch successfully simultaneously. It would probably help if they had a VC working with them. Either way, I wish them luck.
Clean that up to something a lot more professional (and attractive) and it can be a big boost in getting people to sign up.
There are lots of ways paid users could get enhanced service: no interstitials, no ads, enhanced comment privileges, access to new content before an embargo expires, automatic single-page-views, badges to show on their other sites, etc.