10 April 2005

Money for blog

One of my rules has been: no ads on blogs. How in the hell are highway billboards "ruining our landscape," yet the horror vacui [Wikipedia] manifested with Ads By Google is acceptable because it's some kind of new, grass roots, edgy economic model? Maybe we've just given up on escaping sponsorship. Yet Wikipedia is both a rich potential source for keyword ads and also wonderfully free of them. Even after Yahoo stepped up in an incredibly non-evil manner and donated money and equipment to the Wikimedia foundation, Wikipedia is to stay ad-free and unaltered.

But, aside from FOSS projects, ads are rampant. It seems very little to give up (regardless of how busy some people's main pages already are) in return for a little cash money. As I said before concerning BoingBoing, it's nice to have a hobby pay off. A friend who places ads in each entry recently suggested that we support our favorite sites by offering our services as click-through monkeys. Don't cost nothin'. Eschaton is passing the word that we should hit the tip jars of those sites we find valuable. The tip jars are, of course, PayPal links.

Which finally gets to the point. If all we want is some money, should we take the more direct route of asking for it? The ad approach allows the appreciative reader to force a third party to donate to a site in the form of a click-through fee. The PayPal approach allows the reader to simply pay for good content, if they want, and if not then they can continue gettin' it for free (said in a sassy voice).

I don't completely understand how/if the PayPal model works on < $1US amounts, so it may be a flawed model for micropayments [Wikipedia] on blogs, and in fact may be the reason why ads have flourished. Ads are a way to successfully implement micropayments. If we look at the worst case from PayPal's fee chart, a donation of $1US would actually be only $0.67US.

I think we have to get to the point where we pay the authors directly. When I've gone to a site for one good article, I probably won't return. There is little impetus for me to donate $5-10 when I have no idea if I'll ever see that site again, and $5-10 is exorbitant for the value of most articles.


Isn't 80% of how we read blog entries somewhat random? We find a very useful or entertaining entry and are completely willing to give 50-cents or a buck in gratitude. Or maybe just 10-cents. I can spare that for learning some of the facts that I've learned from random people, or as thanks for the unexpected opportunity to spit coffee out of my nose (it burns). With this model, there's a much larger potential for the author to make some cash money, and a greater incentive for the readers. They would no longer have to make the abstract effort, no matter how simple, of clicking an ad they have no interest in. And they avoid the potential cookies left by those ads. Even if it's only for karma, giving directly to the source has more incentive to readers.

[ posted by sstrader on 10 April 2005 at 10:44:25 AM in Culture & Society ]