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Scott McCloud Tries Webcomic Micropayment

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the please-nickel-and-dime-me dept.

Entertainment 283

jaime g. wong writes "Scott McCloud's latest comic, 'The Right Number', is finally available online... for just 25 cents! McCloud has discussed the concept of micropayment for online comics before; let's all hope this idea, using BitPass technology, will succeed." There's more info via a a Comic Book Resources article, and Tycho over at Penny Arcade also has opinions on the micropayment route: "..if you have enough readers who care about your work to go through all that rigmarole, you could succeed with any business model... I see it as a model for compensation, lined up with the other models for compensation, like at the police station."

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I know, I failed it. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354797)

FP?

Re:I know, I failed it. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354851)

Im so happy.. it took me like 5 minutes to read the articles, and then to post this.
"Smileys for everyone!" :p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p :p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p :p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p :p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p :p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p :p:p:p:p:p:p

Re:I know, I failed it. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354981)

YES !

I LOVE INDEED TO SEE ALL THOSE CRIMINALS PAY FOR THEIR CRIMES !!! ... AND THE DIVINE INSPIRED CURSE PRONOUNCED WILL EXTENT TO THOSE HARDENED
CRIMINALS RIGHT UP TO THE THIRD GENERATION !!!!

AND EVERYDAY I PRAY MY ALMIGHTY CELTIC GOD FOR THAT ! ... AND ETERNAL JUSTICE WILL PASS INDEED !!!

Your bleating is not directed at all, shameless and cowardly woman in the direction of the NEWMONT NEWCREST AND BHP BLOOD AND FINANCIAL CRIMINALS !
The body of murdered Corporated Prospector Berth Rutherford pushed to despair and alcoolism & death can well mould in the ground without a thought from you !

The body of murdered Attorney General Evans pushed to despair and alcoolism & death can well mould in the ground without a thought from you !
The bodies of hundred murdered Narla / BORAL & Day Dawn ruined US, NZ, GB etc shareholders pushed to despair and alcoolism & death can well mould in the ground without a thought from the kind of you !
To rob Billions of dollars over a Century _ since the Huge Telfer Mine will last that at least _ from most decent gents !
To consider all those poor ruined people who jumped to their death or who in GB, NZ, Scotland shot themselves in their head, despaired, ruined and dead, in that order indeed ! To consider the nice families well to do people completely broken as a
result of Newmont Newcrest & BHP Crimes ... the nice mother crying softly while the constables take the bleedy body of her husband to the mortuary, and then the funerals ...
at Oxford , Brussels, Kalgoorlie, Dunedin, Dallas, Denver, NY ...
everywhere the same heart breaking scenes at the Graveyards with the Priests , the Ministers, The Rabbins, The Mollahs !

What has happened to Dady ? Why has he left us ? Is is going to come back ?
Why have you done that Dady, we loved you so much !!!
Everywhere the same heart breaking scenes repeated a thousand times of the
little children crying all the tears of their body, and clinging to their
dear mum ready to break down !
And the family and the friends in the background standing in a dark and
mute shadow of accusation towards the Financial Criminals of Newmont
Newcrest and BHP !!!
And the family and the friends in the background standing in a dark and
mute shadow of accusation towards the AUSTRALIAN POLITICIANS SUCH AS CORRUPT
HOWARD COSTELLO GALLOP AND SUNDRIES WHO PROTECT SUCH HARDENED MOST HEINOUS
CRIMINALS

How long is the trail of blood left behind by Newmont Newcrest & BHP is it
going to blaze through the world ???
That is question NOW !

Your kind, indeed crouch low when faced with the conscious realisation of
organised Corporate Crime and you, advocate of Cowardly Forgiving, what do
you do TO REQUIRE THAT NEWMONT NEWCREST BHP MINING CRIMINALS BEING BROUGHT
TO JUSTICE !

IN THIS I AM EXACTLY FOLLOWING THE LINE OF MY PERSONAL FRIEND PRESIDENT
GEORGE W BUSH OF AMERICA !!!

WE WILL FIND THE CRIMINALS AND BRING THEM TO JUSTICE President George.W
Bush

A ROYAL INQUIRY HAS BEEN REQUIRED BY WESTERN AUSTRALIA ATTORNEY GENERAL
EVANS....
AND FURTHER PROMISED BY THE ALP INTO THE CRIMINALS MURDERS AND FINANCIAL
LEGERDEMAIN !!!
( since refused by the Libs Freemacs-riddled party and beneficiaries indeed
of the millions of the Mining Criminals )

THE NEWMONT NEWCREST BHP CRIMINALS HAVE BEEN FOUND !!!
THEN THEY MUST BE BROUGH TO JUSTICE !!!

LET'S PRAY NOW !

Great Celtic God, The Unique, The Unnamed, The Blessed One and Creator of
all !
Teach us to love our friends as best as we can with honour,
and hate our enemies and pursue them with our revenge until they pay or ask
for mercy !
Please curse them just as we do, and support our just anger !

Give us strenght to uphold at all time the Blessed Celtic Sword of Justice,
and never falter in the Respect of our Duty & Obedience to the Sacred
Cosmic Laws !!!!

LET IT BE

HAIL TO THE CELTS !!!!

!!!HONOUR TO OUR CELTIC GOD
--
Jean-Paul Turcaud
Hydro & Mining Prospector
Pioneer of Australian Mining
Discoverer of Telfer; Kintyre & Nifty Mines in The Great Sandy Desert.
Discoverer of the South Atlantic Submarine Gold Placers
_ 40 Millions Tons estimate _
Founder of The TRUE GEOLOGY

timothy, simoniker... but no michael: hallelujah! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354973)


This thing will get modded down faster a Lun1x sux ascii-goatse frist post, you watch.

But it's true... without michael, the whole site seems somehow... I don't know, better.

simoniker modded you down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355057)

He's relatively new and is aggressively using his "capabilities" as editor to keep things on the up-and-up, don'tchya know. Can't have chaos in the backyard of the new guy!

But you're right. No michael means teh happy.

And how about ... (2)

Vanieter (613996) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354801)

people who don't/can't have a credit card/PayPal account/whatever ?

Re:And how about ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354888)

And what about people who don't have any /money/?!? I mean /honestly/, micropayments are so /stupid/. ;-P

Seriously, if you choose (or are forced to) avoid PayPal, there's so many things you miss out on it's not such a big deal to add another to the list. I'd expect 99.9% of people who /have/ money to spend can get money to a paypal account one way or another.

Ironic, ain't it? (2, Insightful)

poptones (653660) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354916)

WTF doesn't he just setup a paypal/amazon payment link?

Sure would be nice if you could buy an ecash card in the checkout lane at wal-mart. If the phone company can do it I just don't understand why a banking company can't.

Fucking hell - even Hustler does it. Time for Visa to step out of the 70's.

Re:Ironic, ain't it? (2, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355079)

Visa's done that. Not quite in the shopping lane of walmart, but my little brother used to have a visa credit card that was actually a prepaid card. It was his responsibility to make sure he kept track of how much cash was left on it, and to spend it carefully so he didn't embarass himself in front of his friends by having it rejected. I thought it was pretty cool, but I haven't heard much about it since then. (of course, if I have kids I'll probably hear ALL about the things I can pay for to give them...)

Re:Ironic, ain't it? (5, Informative)

showler (619356) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355175)

WTF doesn't he just setup a paypal/amazon payment link?

Because those services have a minimum service fee charge that is greater than/equal to the micropayment itself. All the money would go to Amazon or Paypal.

Don't Let Your Credit Card Number out on internet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355327)

Bad idea. You'll need a virtual credit card number from Citi Cards, that's only good one time, and they also generate a expiration date,
(this month) and the number on the back of the card for you. You can do all this for a 25 cent purchase, but that's a lot of trouble. My Banker, (Trustmark) said "Do not let your credit card number out on the Internet."

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354802)

For just 25 cents, you too can read this post!

Micropayments (4, Funny)

Atrahasis (556602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354803)

Is that a millionth of a normal payment?

Re:Micropayments (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354826)

in theory it should be, but this guy is being greedy.

Re:Micropayments (3, Insightful)

GMontag (42283) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354844)

My thought too.

It wasn't all that long ago when an entire newspaper was $0.25. Now just one comic strip is that much?

Re:Micropayments (4, Informative)

mandalayx (674042) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354892)

if you read the link, you'll see that it's not merely a 3-panel sunday comic.

"The complete chapter runs for 57 frames. There will be 3 chapters altogether."

Re:Micropayments (1)

swbozo (604409) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354950)

It wasn't all that long ago when an entire newspaper was $0.25. Now just one comic strip is that much? /

You're comparing apples and oranges. A newspaper is 25 cents because of all of the advertising. To make a proper comparison, you'd have to know what price the newspaper would be sold at without adverstising. In other words, 25 cents for a comic without adverstising sounds about right. If he sold advertising on his website, maybe he could sell the comic for 2-3 cents, who knows...

LOL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354871)

j00 r funny. A/S/L????

Re:Micropayments (3, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354890)

That's correct. The total fee for the strip is 25 cents, payable in one million easy micropayments of .00000025 USD each.

LOLOLOL OMG ROTLF HAHAHA LOLOL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355106)

n/t

Could be worse (3, Funny)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354978)

Is that a millionth of a normal payment?

Could be worse. I could be pintpayments.

"Let's see, 12 inches in a foot, pint's a pound the world around, 2 weeks in a fortnight...so to view 36 comics over 6 weeks I'd need to pay him...ah crap, does anyone remember how many pints in in a gallon?"

Felch Pappa (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354810)



You Love It.

That'll.... (4, Funny)

PaulK (85154) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354812)

leave me out. I've inserted quarter after quarter, but now all my drive does is grind.

Re:That'll.... (1)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355011)

No, no. You were supposed to stick it in the slot labelled 'USB port'. It takes a bit of force to make it fit, though....

Re:That'll.... (1)

56ker (566853) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355071)

How big are American quarters? I've never seen one...

Well... (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355109)

The right size to fit in a USB port, of course!

Re:That'll.... (1)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355148)

Bigger than the American nickel, smaller than the a U.S. Kennedy half-dollar. :-P

I dunno. maybe about 1.5 inches or so in diameter. I don't have one to measure. :(

Re:That'll.... (1)

michael.creasy (101034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355206)

About the same size as a 10pence coin and a dime (10 cents) is about the same size as a 5pence coin.

I don't mean to be a party pooper but... (2, Interesting)

Kwelstr (114389) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354814)

Stephen King already tried that and it doesn't work. Micropayments are too complicated. It reminds me of shareware... "please register" and stuff.

Re:I don't mean to be a party pooper but... (5, Insightful)

Liselle (684663) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354877)

The reason why it failed for him was because he put the weight of the model on the individual people's honesty. Over the Internet. The anonymous Internet.

If he had simply just charged a flat rate for everyone, not this "download for free but please pay" crap, it would have worked much better. If he wanted, he could have always provided a free chapter or two. A blind man could have seen the fate of that of little fiasco coming a mile away.

Re:I don't mean to be a party pooper but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355284)

Not to mention he pulled a bait and switch by constantly changing what he said the length of the novel was going to end up being. (8 chapters, no 10, no 13, and the price per chapter is higher now!)

Re:I don't mean to be a party pooper but... (5, Interesting)

MisterFancypants (615129) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354879)

Not quite.

What Stephen King tried, and what failed, was a donation system -- the book was available for free download to anyone who wanted it, and then you were expected to pay some amount of dollars if you supported the author's choice to make the book chapters available freely.

With these micropayments you pay first, then access the content. Just like a porn site, but cheaper and with less fake boobs.

Re:I don't mean to be a party pooper but... (0, Offtopic)

Atrahasis (556602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354920)

The reason it failed was because he was shortly thereafter found dead in his home.

It didn't work for Stephen King because: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354932)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning, on his 55th birthday. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:I don't mean to be a party pooper but... (1)

MagPulse (316) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355031)

If you prefer to buy software without trying it first, there's nothing stopping you from doing that with shareware.

Re:I don't mean to be a party pooper but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355173)

Shareware worked fine until communist Richard Stallman came along. Now we all program for nothing.

I hate to say it... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354823)

But, "me too". What about people who can't (teenagers, for example) pay online? Is there something that will allow them to still read their much sought-after content (mailing in a money order to pre-pay, or something along those lines)?

Re:I hate to say it... (3, Interesting)

jpmkm (160526) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354986)

Yes, $1 to buy a money order and $.37 to mail it, just for a $.25 comic. I think a better idea would be to use disposable, anonymous credit cards that everyone talked about a couple years ago. Buy a card at kmart, put however much you want on it, and then use that number to pay for stuff online. Kinda like a gift card for the internet.

For mature readers only (1, Offtopic)

art-boy (639905) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355119)

I agree that micropayments might not be the best solution for selling creative content online but youth not being able to buy into this system is really not an issue with this paticular content as it is "for mature readers only."

Re:I hate to say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355150)

A visa check card is available to anyone with a bank account. That includes minors. If your parents can't trust you with a checking account, you have worse problems than not being able to buy an online comic...

Re:I hate to say it... (3, Informative)

jimmcq (88033) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355166)

I'm not too familiar with Bitpass [bitpass.com] , but it seems to me that they should have Bitpass pre-paid cards that you can buy for cash in stores (ala Calling Cards)... then you just 'activate' the card by typing in the serial number and adding the money into your online account.

Re:I hate to say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355190)

The bigger problem is how much money is taken out of that quarter to pay for the transfer of that quarter? I mean, for example, if you were to charge a dime for something through Paypal, guess what happens to that dime? Paypal takes ALL OF IT.

Re:I hate to say it... (4, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355286)

Maybe they could like, you know, talk to their parents and sort of, ask them if they'll help. You know, parents?

Well (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354830)

Won't he get sued by Amazon?

Does 25 cents guarantee no ads? (2, Insightful)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354837)

Or will this model go the way of printed comic books?

More ads + higher prices.

Another viable Micropayment system (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354850)

http://www.pico-pay.com/ [pico-pay.com]

Users don't actually pay anything, but need to watch some advertiser web-sites. Might be worthwhile for Comic publishers and independent music publishers too.

Re:Another viable Micropayment system (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354935)

Wahoo! Picopayments! Several orders of magnitude cheaper than micropayments!

Micropayments: Wave of the future? (4, Insightful)

Liselle (684663) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354852)

I hope that micropayments catch on. Right now, you need to jump through hoops to get it going, but if the cost to the webmaster is low enough, and it becomes common enough that people use it frequently, this could be a viable business model.

It will be absolutely wonderful for people who want to see a small amount of quality content, without having to buy the whole sack of kittens. Also, I think folks will find it invaluable as a "try before you buy" sort of thing. I don't like subscriptions, I don't want to buy your t-shirts, but micropayments have really caught my attention.

Most glaring problem with this (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354855)

99% of web comics suck. The 1% that don't don't need to worry about payment.

Re:Most glaring problem with this (3, Funny)

scrotch (605605) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355041)

Yeah, but now you gotta pay 25 cents to find out if it sucks...

Scott and Penny Arcade (5, Informative)

sbszine (633428) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354858)

There's an old PA comic where they mock Scott's love of micropayments here [penny-arcade.com] .

In today's PA [penny-arcade.com] Tycho clarifies this somewhat by making an interesting point about micropayments: they can only keep you afloat if you get lots of them. And if you're a comic producer getting that much attention, you can probably survive by selling ad space, merchandising, subscriptions etc. So the numbers needed to make micropayments viable are probably similar to the numbers needed to make web comics viable (in a business sense) full stop.

Re:Scott and Penny Arcade (1)

anonymous loser (58627) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354894)

You slashdotted PA. I'll bet this is one time they wished they had a micropayment system.

mock 'em back (3, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354957)

There's an old PA comic where they mock Scott's love of micropayments here [penny-arcade.com].

(from PA's webserver) Warning: Host '192.168.50.65' is blocked because of many connection errors. Unblock with 'mysqladmin flush-hosts' in /data/users/penny-arcade/www/php_admin_header.php3 on line 11

Perhaps Scott can mock them back for having their backend database server automatically block their frontend webserver, which is pretty piss-poor of whoever their admin is...not to mention, crappy error handling(programmer's fault) and insecure PHP configuration options(sysadmin again- detailed PHP errors shouldn't go to the user, only the logs, and yes, PHP has an option for this. For example, I now know that php_admin_header.php3 is probably an include- and includes sometimes do fun/exciting/revealing things when executed standalone.)

Re:mock 'em back (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355134)

jesus what an arrogant little shit you are

Re:mock 'em back (1)

Qeantk (660103) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355169)

Funny, it's a pretty standard way for hosting companies to do it. It may not be wise, but certainly not unusual. I be it is the default behavior.

Re:Scott and Penny Arcade (4, Funny)

Unknown Relic (544714) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354983)

Gotta love the news post [penny-arcade.com] for that old comic:

(Our server never quite recovered from beatings sustained at the hands of News.com or Slashdot, the links from whom (while very much appreciated!) acted upon our frail machine like so many jackhammers. I'm told by our server techs that we'd seen over two-hundred thousand unique ip's in under two hours - but even given the caliber of the weapons aimed against us, I feared that the site had attracted the loathsome skr1pt k1dd13, who, fixing his perverse attentions upon our devices, proceeded to fuck them into oblivion.

Re:Scott and Penny Arcade (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355144)

This is why REAL businesses can't afford to use open-sores CRAP. Too many connections? LOL

Warning: MySQL Connection Failed: Host '192.168.50.65' is blocked because of many connection errors. Unblock with 'mysqladmin flush-hosts' in /data/users/penny-arcade/www/php_admin_header.php3 on line 11

Re:Scott and Penny Arcade (1)

Qeantk (660103) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355182)

*snerk* Did you really just try to claim that IIS/MSSQL would handle being slashdotted any better?

Re:Scott and Penny Arcade (4, Insightful)

showler (619356) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355216)

Thing is, micropayments scale precisely with the bandwidth costs of every added viewer. The more viewers you get, the more it costs you for bandwidth, the more micropayments you get.

Advertising seems to go in levels, you don't get the extra advertising money until you meet a certain threshold of viewers. If you are just below that threshold you get 95% of the hosting costs, but not the added advertising benefits. Being stuck there can break a website financially.

Plus, micropayments leaves you less dependent on the whims of the advertiser.

I always found it funny that the several webcomics I've read that complain about micropayments/free hosting/whatever, and say that the sites should be able to support themselves if they just "try a little harder", are the same sites that established their readership during the days of relatively high-paying banner advertising.

Why pay? (0, Flamebait)

hamtux6 (572649) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354860)

Why would anyone want to pay for an online comic? Sure, I understand how the authors are people too, who need to put food on the table, but...

There's no dearth of good online comics for every taste... silly ones, serious ones, adult, anime (all sorts there), etc.

Not to mention that I imagine many online comic readers are teens without a credit card, or people who have no inclination to go out and purchase comics.

If he really wants to make money, he should get his comic published in print. Nice idea, for-pay online comics, but it won't work. Sorry.

Micropayments (1)

Synithium (515777) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354862)

With a credit card the provider (visa/mc/amex/etc) charges X% or $.x for a transaction. This can become exorbitant for some retailers and some impose the "minimum amount for credit card purchases". How would micropayments get around this flaw? I could see possibly creating a new type of credit where I could put $20 (from credit card) into this account and the provider (on the web this time and not a behemoth) doesn't charge outrageous percentages/fees for such small payments?

Is that how this works or is this something else entirely?

Scott blew it on this one... (1)

YllabianBitPipe (647462) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354867)

Note how it says once you pay you can save it to your drive. Bad copy protection, game over. I'm a comics fan and even I am reluctant to pay 25 cents for this, because I know I'll be getting this for free sent to me via email somehow.

Re:Scott blew it on this one... (1)

MisterFancypants (615129) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354909)

How does your being a thief equate to him blowing it?

Perhaps he realizes that no amount of copy protection in the world will stop someone with access to the PrntScreen key and a copy of MS Paint from making perfect digital copies of his comic, eh?

Re:Scott blew it on this one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354923)

I'm a comics fan and even I am reluctant to pay 25 cents for this, because I know I'll be getting this for free sent to me via email somehow.


No matter how much you charge there'll be some jerk willing to steal it instead. So many people complain that they have to resort to Kazaa or Directconnect or whatever to get their music because the record companies charge too much, and if only they'd lower their prices they'd more than recoup the losses in extra sales...

One of the other first-run sellers on the BitPass thing is a musician. I mention this only to note the coincidence... ;-)

So let me get this straight... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354934)

If they put no copy protection on it, you'll just steal it.

If they put copy protection on it, you'll bitch about fair use, wait till someone brighter than you hacks it, and then steal it.

Does that sum things up?

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355156)

Funny how this argument falls on deaf ears when we are talking about Microsoft? It surely would not get modded up, I can tell you that.

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355268)

No copy protection = steal it.
Copy protection = don't read it, find something to read that is free.

Re:Scott blew it on this one... (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355251)

Horseshit.

Drive through.

The Top 5 Reasons to Read Comics Online (-1, Funny)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354869)

5. It gives you something to do on your Windows box while you're waiting for Gentoo to finish compiling.

4. You're like the other 98% of Slashdotters -- you don't do work at work.

3. Printed comics cover department calendars and to-do lists quite nicely.

2. You don't have a girlfriend.

1. Cracking the micropayment system will give you good practice for this Sunday's "hack fest."

Yet another micropayment system -- play again... (1)

HiKarma (531392) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354878)

There have been many attempts at micropayment systems. Some with accounts. Some prepaid. Some with anonymous digital cash. They all have failed so far.

Paypal can do small payments (on non credit card transactions) but they don't push it and I doubt they make money on it. But at least they are a success.

I think there is something wrong with micropayments, they are not just waiting for somebody to come along and do it right. Projects like digicash, cybercash, first virtual, millicent, all had major funders backing them and good people.

There is a human cost to small payments, and you can't get rid of it. Computers can cheaply bill those fractional pennies but humans don't like thinking about them.

Re:Yet another micropayment system -- play again.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355197)

There is a human cost to small payments, and you can't get rid of it. Computers can cheaply bill those fractional pennies but humans don't like thinking about them.

That really depends on the humans, and how much the payments are. Slashdot charges subscribers half a penny per pageload. Let me tell ya: it doesn't bother me. I can burn gasoline in a car or electricity in a well airconditioned office while using an Athlon, faster than I can burn money loading Slashdot pages. I don't stare at my computers and get ulcers while nervously thinking, "Oh damn, there goes another penny to the power company. There goes another." Make it small enough and it just doesn't matter.

Re:Yet another micropayment system -- play again.. (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355260)

There have been many attempts at micropayment systems. Some with accounts. Some prepaid. Some with anonymous digital cash. They all have failed so far.

It's so fucking easy to be a skeptic, isn't it? So fucking easy...

The BitPass site doesn't give much information (3, Interesting)

jetmarc (592741) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354884)

I tried to find out how much I (as an overseas customer) actually
have to pay to get $3 worth of BitPass credits, but even after the
15th click through their pages and "FAQ" I couldn't find out. Do
they accomodate for all charges, or do I end up with 15 EUR deducted
from my VISA card, including charges, currency conversion fees, for
3 dollars of cyber currency?

Re:The BitPass site doesn't give much information (1)

Synithium (515777) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354941)

It appears to be a 1-to-1 sort of conversion for Americans. $3 = $3. So i guess paypal may do the converstion for you if you pay it with paypal...so $3 = 2.whatever euros.

Re:The BitPass site doesn't give much information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354944)

I tried to find out how much I (as an overseas customer) actually

have to pay to get $3 worth of BitPass credits, but even after the
15th click through their pages and "FAQ" I couldn't find out.


That'll be because it's PayPal who are actually handling the transaction, so you can [quite probably, I've not checked] find out on PayPal's site. All the PayPal transactions I've made to US sites from my UK credit card have gone through at pretty much standard exchange rate; I'd expect it's more an issue with your card provider.

Lum The Mad (3, Interesting)

rmarll (161697) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354886)

Used to say donations and banner ad's weren't effective. That is until he put up a paypal donation button...

Several thousand dollars later, stunned by the fiscal support of his readers, he got a job in the industry and quit writing...

Doesn't penny arcade use a similar system(or used to). I remember the page having a themometer and measuring donations in thousands.

So if good content can get by on donations, are micropayments even interesting anymore?

bittorrent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354900)

Anybody got some bittorrent links?

Will MicroPay if... (3, Funny)

QEDog (610238) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354924)

Will MicroPay if you mod me up

A system I think would work... (5, Interesting)

fugu13 (597296) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354947)

Would be somewhat modeled on Apple's iTunes Music Store, with a bit of O'Reilly bookshelf thrown in. People could download an app, for free. It has exclusive access to a large number of online web comics. A person can enter their credit card info in the app (stored in the online store for one click purchasing, like amazon and apple use). They can view a small number of example strips from each comic to get a taste for them, but to view them regularly must subscribe to a script. Subscribing doesn't cost anything, but whenever the person looks at a non-previously viewed strip ina subscription, it adds a small amount, maybe 10 cents, to their bill. To explain my reasoning some: the reason for a standalone app is to make the experience very fast for the user, and continuous, unlike using a web browser. It should feel like a normal app (though a lot of the viewing could be done in a specialized markup language, like the iTMS). It also makes it much easier to do transparent micropayments. The example strips thing is obvious. It would also give the author a way of controlling the first look at their strip, a common problem with online comics (bad first impressions). The subscription thing is to prevent buyers from getting "I really didn't want to look at it" syndrome as easily. If they have to choose a strip as one they regularly want to view, it's a lot different from idly clicking a strip and having to pay 10 cents. It also makes in app organization easier to handle and use (since having an option to view a strip, and having a handy shortcut to it in your sidebar would be synonymous). You know, now that I think about it . . . *starts looking into how much it costs for a one click license*

Re:A system I think would work... (1)

fugu13 (597296) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354976)

ignore the above post, stupid forgetting to preview:

Would be somewhat modeled on Apple's iTunes Music Store, with a bit of O'Reilly bookshelf thrown in.

People could download an app, for free. It has exclusive access to a large number of online web comics. A person can enter their credit card info in the app (stored in the online store for one click purchasing, like amazon and apple use).

They can view a small number of example strips from each comic to get a taste for them, but to view them regularly must subscribe to a script. Subscribing doesn't cost anything, but whenever the person looks at a non-previously viewed strip ina subscription, it adds a small amount, maybe 10 cents, to their bill.

To explain my reasoning some: the reason for a standalone app is to make the experience very fast for the user, and continuous, unlike using a web browser. It should feel like a normal app (though a lot of the viewing could be done in a specialized markup language, like the iTMS). It also makes it much easier to do transparent micropayments.

The example strips thing is obvious. It would also give the author a way of controlling the first look at their strip, a common problem with online comics (bad first impressions).

The subscription thing is to prevent buyers from getting "I really didn't want to look at it" syndrome as easily. If they have to choose a strip as one they regularly want to view, it's a lot different from idly clicking a strip and having to pay 10 cents. It also makes in app organization easier to handle and use (since having an option to view a strip, and having a handy shortcut to it in your sidebar would be synonymous).

You know, now that I think about it . . .

*starts looking into how much it costs for a one click license*

Why not Paypal? (1)

jcsehak (559709) | more than 11 years ago | (#6354963)

I read abou this, then I thought: how does this differ from PayPal? You still have to sign up for the bit pass thing initially. If you're going to be putting the effort into registering for something, why not just sign up for Paypal and pay the guy a quarter that way? There's no transaction fee, AFAIK.

Until I can put a quarter in a machine and have it dissappear and reappear in the artist's machine, I don't think micropayments'll catch on too much. But I hope I'm wrong.

Re:Why not Paypal? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355050)

There is a transaction fee. If someone were to give you 25 cents, guess how much PayPal gets. Yep, 25 cents.

Re:Why not Paypal? (1)

jcsehak (559709) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355162)

Dammit you're right! I thought there was no fee, because when I'd sell a CD I'd get an email from Paypal saying I just got a payment for $8.50, which is the cost of the CD plus s&h. Then I'd look at my Paypal account, and it lists: From Joe Blow, Jan 1st, $8.50.

But if you look at "all activity," then you see that there's a 55 cent fee! Those bastards! That's like 6%! Shit, maybe I'll just set up a credit card thing and an 800 number. Old School all the way, baby.

how about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6354979)

a free link?

Micropayment works! (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355009)

And it looks like Tycho will need it, to pay for all that bandwidth from the slashdot effect ;)

Youuuuuu bastards,,, you slashdotted PA!!!

Honestly, I'd much rather pay a micro fee than having to view annoying flashy ads. I hate them, and I honestly don't see how they really benefit the site owners; Does ad revenue like that really work? It's not like TV ads, and internet ads just don't have the same effect as TV ads, in my opinion. Except that they are much more annoying than TV ads, in general.

Although there certainly is something to say for internet ads; they are pretty much no-hassle, and are much easier than a micropay system. Maybe if it was really streamlined, like amazon's one-click system, it would be convenient...But then they'd get sued ;)

Worth It! (3, Informative)

Michael.Forman (169981) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355022)


I gave it a try. BitPass was painless to setup. I clicked on the $3 button, entered my email address as a username, a password, credit card info, and was reading the comic within 60 seconds.

How was the story? Excellent! It is an enjoyable story with moments of tension and humor tied together by an underlying theme of mathematics. Great adult geek fare. I highly recommend it, although I'm still trying to decide if it was long enough for 25 cents. (Afterall I pay nothing for my operating system!)

Michael. [michael-forman.com]

Re:Worth It! (1)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355208)

The problem with a debit-card solution is that this is a form of currency, backed by BitPass. The US Dollar is backed by the US Treasury, so if the US Govt. goes under, the Dollar theoretically becomes valueless. This probably isn't going to happen overnight. However, for BitPass...

Think of it this way. Remember those old video game tokens you used to get, one for a quarter, 5 to a dollar? What did it say on the reverse side? NO CASH VALUE.

If BitPass goes under, your $3 card becomes worth zilch... Sure, $3 is a cheap enough solution to try, but if $3 is of that little value to you, why not just hand the $3 directly to Scott? Given that there are currently no other merchants accepting BitPass, your $3 is locked up either way.

Re:Worth It! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355320)

well, how long was it?

If you compare its length to the length of a typical print comic how does it work out cost wise?

Penny Arcade text (1)

Jad LaFields (607990) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355082)

Penny Arcade seems to be on and off slashdotted (w/ beautiful PHP error messages), so here's what Tycho had to say about micropayments:

Both Scotts are talking about Micropayments, so I figured, why not.

When reading about Scott McCloud's The Right Number, the new digital work he is offering for a 25 cent micropay, I was trying to resolve a Chicken and Egg problem. Micropayments are only going to work if you, by which I mean you the consumer, like them. But you'll only like them if there's something super compelling for you to go through the trouble of signing up. But if there aren't a lot of consumers out there ready to flip them nickels or quarters, there's not a whole lot of impetus to go through the trouble of setting up with the system as an artist. And even once you do, then what do you get - two bucks? I believed that Micropayments were an invigorating concept because when I was first introduced to them, it resonated with my subconscious belief that the Internet was Man's Eden. You can fuck with me about the exact phrasing of that, but more geeks than would care to admit it totemize the Internet in one way or another - they believe it is inherently a force for good and has a fundamentally idyllic nature. In any case, I was like, "Yes - this makes sense because it will further equality and the producers of artistic works will be compensated by this benevolent system." I am telling you, once you subtract the faith element from the equation, there isn't a whole lot left.

Here is where I stand now. I don't doubt that Micropayments could do magical things for people, but there are many barriers to this actually happening - barriers of a social, technical, and monetary nature. That isn't anything more than I've said before. The new part follows: if you could make Micropayments work, rubbing nickels and dimes together until the friction creates a tiny bit of warmth you can treasure, then you could make any system work. You have enough people giving you a dime to live on? Giving you a buck, even? Then why are you messing around with Micros? If you have enough readers who care about your work to go through all that rigamaroll, you could succeed with any business model. You and the Captain could make it Happen.

I see it as a model for compensation, lined up with the other models for compensation, like at the police station. All of them cast in an unflattering light, none of them posessed of magical powers.

(CW)TB out.

The successful payment systems he could have used (4, Informative)

wherley (42799) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355107)

any of the gold based systems. for example e-gold.com [e-gold.com] (800,000+ account holders, averaging ~1-2 million USD plus in transactions per day, fee for a 25 cent transaction is .25 cents worth of gold).

see a comparison of 8 of these type of systems here [dgcworld.com] .

how hard is it to accept 25 cents worth of gold?
click 100998-USD.25.e-gold.com [e-gold.com] to pay .25 worth of gold.

or, you could try nopayments... (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355152)

webcomics.com [webcomics.com] has hundreds of comics online for free.

Re:or, you could try nopayments... (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355271)

25c is so expensive too.

The verification mechanism? (1)

kremvax (307366) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355159)

What sort of mechanism /design could they be using to make an uncopyable single-use token to give to the content sites?

A Single-Use keypair? A cookie could be easily intercepted and copied/published. Passwords, etc. as well.

It'd be an interesting gambit if this took off. For better or for worse ( Imagine your online bank charging you $.25 every time you ask them a question... )

Kremvax...

What the fuck is with the new design ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6355164)

That vertical bar on the left is totally gay.

Aren't ads... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355168)

.. microenough payment? Or has it all gone to click thru 'cause too many of us block popus, filter spam, and block adservers with cool things in userContent.css like

A:link[HREF*="ads."] IMG { display: none ! important }

??

Did anyone see Scott McCloud.... (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355171)

And say "Whoa, the Highlander has something on /., SWEET"?

Ummm, this already exists (1)

fishdan (569872) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355204)

Aren't people already buying stuff through peppercoin? [peppercoin.com] . Peppercoin enables digital merchants to sell content profitably at very low prices and allows consumers to purchase small-value items easily.

The name is derived from "peppercorn," the smallest unit of value that can be exchanged to form a contract under traditional contract law. Peppercoin was founded in late 2001 by Professors Silvio Micali and Ronald L. Rivest, co-founders of the Cryptography and Information Security Group at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science. Rivest is known as the "R" in the RSA public-key cryptosystem and a founder of RSA Security, while Micali is the co-inventor of Zero Knowledge Proofs.

Besides, this is the only way I can get my Catapult [catapulttheband.com] fix.

Blah blah blah (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355238)

Blah blah blah...

"It'll never work!"

iTunes

Blah blah blah...

"Nobody will pay for electronic content..."

except iTunes

Blah blah blah...

"Everything sux"

except my favorite band, which has their entire repertoire on iTunes

(Somewhere along the line, the word BULLSHIT begins to appear around the edges of the argument until you realize that the people who bitch the most are the ones who just want it all, and they want it all for free)

Well (1)

ghjm (8918) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355243)

If there was a slot on my computer where I could stick a quarter, I'd have done it. I have a quarter right here on my desk. But I really can't see filling in some form, working out a bank transaction, no doubt getting a bunch more spam, etc, etc, just for some comic.

It's definitely worth 25c in a cash transaction. But micropayments still fundamentally don't work on the Web.

-Graham

not likley to work (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6355304)

It would require people to pay for web comics.
Majority of web comic viewers go to them because
a)they have nothing else to do.
b)there free.

I have proably most english web comics out there, I still visit userfriendly.org, pvponline.com, and reallifecomics.com but I wouldn't pay for them.
I might by merchandise, occasionally purchaes a hard bound version(if it contains new material), and regularly click on the banner.

I would seem that anybody who would pay, should just click on a banner.

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