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Testing an Ad-free Microtransaction Utopia

MrAndrews (456547) writes | about a year and a half ago

Businesses 1

MrAndrews (456547) writes "After reading a Slashdot story about adblocking and the lively discussion that followed, I got to wondering how else sites can support themselves, if paywalls and ads are both non-starters. Microtransactions have been floated for years, but never seem to take off, possibly because they come off as arbitrary taxation or cumbersome walled-garden novelties. Still, it seems like the idea of microtransactions is still appealing, it's just the wrapping that's always been flawed. I wanted to know how viable the concept really was, so I've created a little experiment to gather some data, to put some real numbers to it. It's a purely voluntary system, where you click 1, 2 or 3-cent links in your bookmark bar, depending on how much you value the page you're visiting. No actual money is involved, it's just theoretical. There's a summary page that tells you how much you would have spent, and I'll be releasing anonymized analyses of the data in the coming weeks. If you're game, please check out the experiment page for more information, and give it a go. Even if you only use it once and forget about it, that says something about the concept right there."
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Necessary but not Sufficient (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151627)

I think micro-transactions are a necessary component to get past the advertising-supported rut we are stuck in now. But I don't think they are sufficient. We are going to need lots of research to figure out what billing "styles" encourage payment and repeat business versus the ones that just annoy people or even make them feel like they got a bad deal.

Off the top of my head:

1) Pay before - get a summary of the article, pay to get the whole thing
2) Pay after - at the bottom of the page a begging notice
3) Half way through - in the middle of the artlcle, require payment for the second half (or maybe just beg for payment at that point but don't hold the 2nd half of the article hostage)
4) Pay any time - begging banner across the top of every page
5) Subscription - pre-agree to pay some amount each day the customer access the website, say 5 cents for unlimited 24 hour use. Automatically billed by accessing the site.

I'm sure there are tons more options. We need empirical info on how people react to these schemes. A/B testing type stuff. I would be surprised if there is not already some form of academic research along these lines.

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