Slumbering Lungfish on micropayments

Sep 24, 2003 19:20 · 253 words · 2 minute read

Lore Sjöberg throws a volley into the argument about micropayments, though his article is not strictly about micropayments. It’s more about the notion that if people want to make money from their content, they should just plain start charging for it. While Lore talks about using PayPal to charge a buck today for content, he doesn’t really talk about the fact that many people may be more inclined to pay a smaller amount for a discrete piece of content.

Not everyone produces as much content as an issue of The Economist in a given month, so charging the same amount for an online publication doesn’t necessarily make sense. People might not want to pay $12 for an annual subscription to Scott McCloud’s work, or even pay $1 for a month. They might want to pay a quarter for a specific Scott McCloud comic, however.

I think the same thing goes for music. Online music services were unsuccessful until iTunes Music Service (ITMS) came along. Partly because the earlier services sucked, and partly because ITMS lets people buy (with permanent ownership) songs for a more reasonable price… rather than subscribing to play-on-demand sorts of services.

This article does a good job of driving the point home that charging people for your work will fix many problems of the web, even if it does shrink your “audience”. I think it glosses over the issues that still remain with charging people, and I’m happy that folks like Scott McCloud are trying out new ways of ChargingPeople.