Remember this. Everyone is out to get your money. That’s how it works in a capitalist society for sure, but even totalitarian governments and economies work the same way. Your money is yours only until someone else takes it away or you give it away.
Let’s take the internet. Puhleeze. The information superhighway has revolutionized how humanity integrates with humanity. Instead of a free flow of information, education, and entertainment, the internet has become something of a cesspool of fake news, terrorist hangouts, and an opportunity for criminals, hackers, and government spooks to hack into your computer, bank account, health information, and anything else.
In the early years of the public internet websites which did not sell products were funded by advertising. Thanks to the proliferation of obnoxious advertising and behind-the-scenes trackers which cull private information from the unwary, users have begun to install ad and tracker blockers. That means advertising isn’t what it used to be. Again. Ad clicks have gone down. Ad views have gone down. Ad revenue has gone down and that spells doom for many websites which provide information for free.
Even that may change thanks to pay-per-view coming to websites. David Meyer explains the basics:
Eyeo, the German firm infuriating publishers with its hugely popular Adblock Plus tool, will try to win over those same publishers with today’s relaunch of Flattr, the micropayments service it acquired earlier this year.
Alright, let me get this straight. The company that runs the internet’s most popular ad blocker bought a company that runs a pay-per-view micropayments service so website publishers can get paid by the very viewers who block their ads.
Sure. Why not? How does it work?
Flattr is designed to give people a way to easily reward creators for their work. For creators, it’s supposed to provide an alternative to the ubiquitous ad-funded business model. Users put in a certain amount of money each month, which is then divided between the creators they choose to tip.
So, you put up, say, $10 a month, then Flattr tracks the websites you visit and the pages you read, then pays those website publishers a cut of what you paid to Flattr. It’s not exactly a lot of money, but it does seem to be moving around rather quickly.
For creators, there’s no longer any need to install anything on their sites to claim Flattr users’ money. All they need to do is verify their ownership of the sites and send Eyeo their bank details.
And, you, the reader of such websites pay a monthly fee which then gets distributed to website publishers.
Who monitors the monitors?
Eyeo, the folks who publish the Ad Block Plus ad blocker extension for most browsers, has been accused of a type of extortion whereby some ads would be allowed to be viewed by Ad Block Plus users. For a fee. Anybody see a problem with that methodology?
Micropayments are not likely to become driving force for website revenue because you’re still being tracked, someone still knows which websites you visit, and they get credit card information, and no one is available to monitor how much of what you pay actually goes to the publishers.
Jesse and I prefer a different approach. No trackers. The few ads we have are relevant to Apple’s customers only. We don’t even have an analytics tracker or a cookie on Boomer. It may be a bit old fashioned but it works. No pay-per-view here.