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New Micropayment System: Do To Others What You Want Them To Do To You


A new micropayment system idea which promises to make content publishers, ad publishers and readers all happy at the same time.

Published: May 26 2006


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New Micropayment System: Do To Others What You Want Them To Do To You

After spending multiple hours trying to read various tips on how to optimise one's ads placement in the content, it has dawned on me -- there is a better way to do the micropayment system. Here are my thoughts on this topic.

In order to produce quality content, others can benefit from, a publisher needs to invest a significant amount of time and thought into their writing. If they aren't getting monetarily (or in other way) compensated they won't have as much time to produce that material for you (be it blogs, articles, books, etc.). Probably about 8 years ago there was a heated talk about introducing micropayments. After all most people don't like subscriptions, since they want to read various articles from various sources and not to be locked in into just a few sites. The promise was that once micropayment will be available, authors will be able to charge a few cents for each unit of content that they produce, so that they get rewarded for their work, while each reader hardly spends any money and contributes back to encourage the publisher to produce more quality material. For example, if each reader were to pay one cent per article, an article read 1000 time would have made the publisher 1000 cents or a whooping $10, which is much higher (4-10 times) than the current average CPM if one uses ads.

Back then micropayments weren't possible, because the cost of a transaction was prohibitively expensive. Nowadays the costs are much lower but still nowhere around justifying a 1 cent transaction. And it's quite complicated to have all your readers install those eWallets, since there is no one way to do it. So the situation in 2006 is not any different from 1996, we still see subscription offers and we still see ads, and sometimes a mixture of the two.

Subscriptions are a hard sell - again, nobody wants to shell out $10 a month to read content at a single site, while there are thousands of quality sites available for free. Well, not exactly for free, there are those pesky ads. And most netizens don't mind ads, since humans are very good at pattern recognition -- we have quickly learned to ignore those banners, be they skyscrapers, flat banners or else. The click-through ratio has fallen down to almost zero and we all thought that this was the end of it. But then publishers started to push those ads in ours faces, via pop-ups and pop-unders, flash applets and in the middle of paragraph banners, begging for attentions. So we have mostly beaten the pop-ups, pop-unders and flash banners using AdBlock and similar technologies, and now we are developing a selective sight to ignore those mid-paragraph banners. Then Google AdSense came out with text ads, which blend so well into the content, that it's now much harder to ignore them. Then Chitika introduced eMiniMalls. And just recently Google AdSense came out with video ads (http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/05/23/google-announces-click-to-play-video-ads/)...

To me it feels that the battle is going to continue. Readers will learn how to ignore ads delivered in all the new ways, and publishers will find some new ways. Probably in the future those will be transmitted via telepathy, scent and other ways we read about in sci-fi. And that's where it has dawned on me. This battle does not need to happen at all. We could redirect that effort to make the world a better place to live in. Here is a simple solution that I've decided to use:

Whenever I read an article that I like, I go and look for the ads. If I see something interesting I click on those and check those out. After all, with contextual advertisement, there must be something relevant to the article you are reading. That's the end of the story.

Now the ads don't have to be pushed in my face. Putting them in the sidebar, out of my way, while I'm reading the article, so that I can easily find them is just perfect. Please notice that I do not advocate irresponsible clicking on random ads - if ad publishers won't get a return on their invested money they would stop advertising, which will hurt content publishers, which in turn will hurt the readers. If I don't see anything interesting, I don't click, I will either reload the page, to see if I can get something interesting or I'll pay my duty when I return to read another article later on.

So this is a win-win-win situation:

  1. The ad publishers are happy since relevant readers now reach their sites after less impressions
  2. The content publishers are happy since now they are well rewarded for their creative work.
  3. The content readers are happy since they can enjoy the plain old simple articles, not loaded with jumping and kicking visual distractions.

Since almost everybody and their mom is a publisher nowadays, use the simple old-age rule Do To Others What You Want Them To Do To You, you like what you read, give back by locating ads that appeal to you and click those. Don't wait until tomorrow, do it now. I started today, after reading the latest feed from my two favorite blogs: Steve Pavlina's Personal Development for Smart People (http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/) and Darren Rowse's problogger (http://www.problogger.net/). I've located the ads that interested and visited those sites. Of those visited sites a few were really relevant (like blish (http://www.blish.com/) where I now plan to put for sale my photos), while a few other sites were just misleading.

I encourage you to do the same and if more people embrace this approach, we will hopefully see ads getting out of our face moving somewhere where we can find them if we want to.

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