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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2001 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: Slashdot and negativism:

It's tempting to dismiss these people as the loud miniority (and that they may very well be), but they do matter- they're part of the intended audience and potential customer.

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Scott McCloud
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2001 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another company just contacted me. I'll be talking to them tomorrow:

http://www.Javien.com
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Scott McCloud
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2001 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Talked to a rep today. Very much in beta, and no Mac version yet, but a nice grass roots flavor and a couple of key structural decisions I find intriguing and innovative, including PayPal support (ie, you can *open* an account with a single PayPal dollar) and a One Penny floor w/ 15% fee and a 25 cent fee ceiling. One to watch, just not ready yet. Let's check back in about 6 months.

Of the pitches I've received lately, this one's the most interesting. Wish I could participate in the betas.
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lylebclarke
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2001 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it does look good. I've just read a lot of the website and FAQ's after you posted the first message, and came back here to say "woohoo" Javien looks very thorough and promising.

Nearly enough to make me take up the previous battle I have had with Linux, so that I can try out the beta (*nix only) Perhaps someone else here is running such a meachine and can try it out.
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2001 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the Slashdot discussion re:ICST #6, I found this list of payment mechanisms designed for the internet, which may be of interest.

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abe1x
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2001 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

going to jump in and play devil's advocate here. Why is everyone so convinced about micropayments? Are they really the answer? Personally I think Clay Shirky's arguements against them http://www.openp2p.com/pub/a/p2p/2000/12/19/micropayments.html seem a bit stronger then any arguements for them.

Biggest issues for me are:

1 - micropayments are expensive. anyone remember when ISP's had a micropayment system going? Pay for each hour online, got expensive damn quick. Giving one person $0.50 a week is one thing, giving hundreds of people micropayments could get out of control quick.

2 - micropayments are restrictive. Anyone who doesn't have the system in place, or is out of money on their account will not be able to see micropayment centered content. The difference between free and one penny will cost creators a huge amount of exposure.
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lylebclarke
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2001 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clay's argument against micropayments boils down, in his own words, to "users hate them".

And he may be right, users may hate micropayments if they were to be implemented in the manner he argues against, like a gas meter, clocking up a cent or so for every page viewed. However a micropayment system doesn't have to take this form anymore than money has to take the form of round pieces of metal.

For sure, for micropayments to be accepted, the readers are going to have to feel comfortable with them, but that is not an unovercomeable obstacle. Think about all the people you know right now that are using the Internet that five years ago said they'll never use a computer.

The other argument, that of "if they ever were going to succeed, they have would already", forgets that the early attempts were competing against the free content funded by VC pipe dreams. Subscriptions also failed during the free years, and are only raising their head again now that the free content is drying up.

Micropayments do not have to be an alternative to a subscription either. They can easily be a co-worker. For example, as an introduction. First I check out the free content, I like it, I start micro-paying for the daily stuff, and then say to myself, heck, I read this everyday, I may as well buy an all-you-can-eat subscription.

Lots of possibilities.
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2001 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why won't micropayments work? I'm trolling for answers here:

http://www.pvponline.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=5170

edit: After reading the first 8 posts to that thread, I'm wondering why I even tried.
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[ This Message was edited by: Greg Stephens on 2001-06-23 18:07 ]
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Jason Alderman
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2001 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just happened across this soapbox:
http://www.lowendmac.com/musings/01/0622.html
It's a series of articles on micropayments at lowendmac.com. Don't know if it's just the same kind of musings as we've been covering, since I haven't even read it yet. (Forgive me if it's already been posted to this board...I'm still getting settled after crossing fourteen time zones.)

jason

p.s.--just read the potlatch manifesto, and it sounds like a good idea...although it'll probably take a while to see the light.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2001 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Because I think the Street Performer Protocol could be
of such great importance in the world of micropayments,
I'll describe it (or my skewed idea of it) here.



Quite simply, when you release some piece of content into
the world, you decide on the total amount of money you want
to be paid for it. And when the individual payments made
for that content add up to your chosen amount, the content
becomes free to all. You can accept any excess payments
as tips on the current artifact, or (even better for your
fans) as an advance on whatever you're going to release next.
Rolling the excess into the next installment shouldn't bother
you, since you've presumably made all the money you've set
out to make on the current one.



Here's how I see this working for something like a music album.
You put up a site with the first song in its entirety and
30 second clips of the remaining songs. All remaining songs
have an associated price. As payments come in for the album,
the target price for each track is met in order, causing a
full version of the track to be added to the site. When the
tracks are all there, you can offer the premium of an actual CD
(with autographed liner notes, of course).



I think this system would work fine for consumers (assuming we
can get a workable micropayment infrastructure) and would be great
for artists. First of all, the artist gets exactly as much money
for their work as they choose to get (assuming their work is
worth that much!). More importantly, their are no piracy issues,
no worries about unauthorized viewing. Before the next track
has been paid for, nobody has it. After it's been paid for, anyone
can get it for free. How can you cheat the artist?



Stephen King did something like this online (with limited success).
A full article about the protocol is here.



Hope this helps. Scott, I think you're doing a great job to
raise awareness and peer into the future of online publishing.



Craig K.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2001 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, sorry, I've been busy. |

Mr. McCloud: Well, I had sent that core dump of an email to you in hopes that the IP stuff I'd found might've helped fuel research for the second part...I didn't think that it was a larger issue outside of what you were saying, as most Slashdotters had been more-or-less acquainted with what I was talking about. |

Okay, for the benefit of everyone else, I'll summarize the context of the email I sent to Mr. McCloud. Understand that I'm by no means an expert on this sort of thing; I'm a writer, artist and meme-trader who happened to get too much of this stuff in his poor brain. =) Consider yourself warned.

Okay, so I touched upon the brief span of alternative software licensing, from the zealously idealistic concepts of the FSF to the more pragmatic, down-to-earth concepts of the Open Source movement, then how they kinda-sorta applied to present, more generalized conclusions such as Open Content.. I also touched a little on the
"free music manifesto"
that mirrored the FSF's ideals but didn't really get anywhere.

Anyway, at the time I wrote the message, I believe I was trying to convey the idea presented by all these ideals as being that the work itself means very little compared to the creator(s) responsible for it, and any compensation should be centered around them, not neccesarily purchase of the actual work. Another factor is that piracy will always occur when the asset is information, because, being information, its very nature is infinitely accessible and thus entails circumvention to at least some degree. (And to drive that point home a little, I linked to the Freenet and Publius projects, both of which are advancements in secure distributed file storage that, while still in development, make Napster look like a drop in the bucket.) The "deeper meaning" of Intellectual Property would take a bit long to go into here, really, and this post seems long enough as it is...|P

But companies like Red Hat are based not around the idea of selling software, but the support that comes with the software, for roughly those same reasons.

So that led me into explaining the Street Performer Protocol as I mentioned here previously, which acts on the premise that "The more money the creator is given, the more he decides to continue a given work." Sorta. (The above link is the definitive paper on the concept, and is sure to explain things in greater detail than I could ever provide!) The practical example is Stephen King's already-mentioned short novel Riding the Bullet, which did very well for a trial run; A Slashdot editor would later comment on the results of that test quite favorably. A few companies such as
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2001 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AcK! Got cut off! >XH
Continuing.
...A few companies and individuals, David Caswell, too little, too late-As usual. |P
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emegas
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2001 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aggh...Okay, I gave in and started a new account, my last post got hosed. My sincere apologies. |(

...A few companies and individuals, TransGaming being one of the more notable, have adopted the Street Performer Protocol in the wake of that development.

And I guess that's it. Hope this helped, though probably not. Sorry for troubling you guys and doubly-sorry for the spam...XH

-David Caswell, too little, too late, and grossly ignorant to top it all off...
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John2two
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2001 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The point from the Clay Shirky article that makes the most sense to me is:
Quote:

The very micro-ness of micropayments makes them confusing. At the very least, users will be persistently puzzled over the conflicting messages of "This is worth so much you have to decide whether to buy it or not" and "This is worth so little that it has virtually no cost to you."

But, I regard this primarily as a cautionary word to the wise about how you price the stuff you offer to the world on the WWW. As in the answer to the frequent know-nothing post, "of course having a micropayment infrastructure available won't mean that every link you click will charge you a penny (or even one one-hundredth of a penny). But it will allow a site creator the option to charge you a penny or five for additional content once you have convinced yourself that it's worth it by viewing his free content."

John
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Jack Masters
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2001 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really understand. How does having to decide whether to buy something relate to its worth?
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2001 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the other way around- A thing's worth plays into your decision to buy. Is it worth paying for? This is often a simple process-- Item X is offered at $1. Is it worth it? Yes or no, as a customer, it's usually an easy decision. However, if the seller makes the terms too complex (i.e. $1 for the first 1/2, plus $2 for the third 1/4 (should you decide you want that bit), plus $2.50 for the final 1/4 (should you decide you want that bit)(unless this is your first visit to this site, in which case we'll offer a discount)(or you're a regular reader, in which case we'll offer you a different discount)), then the decision becomes much more complex and you have to decide how much of item X is worth how much $$$.

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John2two
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

How does having to decide whether to buy something relate to its worth?

I'm sure that for many people it doesn't work this way, but since you asked, here's a little glimpse into the twisted miasma of my mind.

I was raised by a very thrifty father. Somehow, my young mind got the idea that my personal, intrinsic worth was a factor in every decision to use a finite resource, especially in every decision to spend money. Years later, with the help of some good professional therapy and a comfortable income, I'm finally able to buy a comic book or two without arguing with myself for half an hour about whether I'm worth buying a comic book for.

Historically, any time I am faced with a decision about spending money, I pause for this inner debate. Over the years I have raised the threshold at which I can shortcircuit the debate and just plunge ahead. I'm up to a few dollars these days, but 15 years ago I would have to work over decisions about amounts as low as a couple cents.

That's why I so readily understand the guy's point. For me, the mere act of having to make a trivial decision invokes inner debate about self-worth. That is where the dissonance between "this amount is trivial" and "this amount is important" gets difficult. The cost of making a decision is non-trivial. In olden days, I'd avoid making the decision (i.e. in this context, not click through) rather than face the cost of making a decision over whether I deserved the pleasure of reading 2 cents worth of comics.

Didn't know you were signing up for a therapy group when you joined this forum, did you?

John
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glych
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2001 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Micro-"payments"

I mean, TV works because of the advertisment space between the actual show, i.e. the commercials. This has already been tried with ad-banners, but what the advertisers don't get, is that this does work. i mean, it's the same advertising concept as movie posters at the bus stop. They're nowhere near the movie theatre, but after weeks and weeks of seeing these things as you drive, walk, or do flips, when you're standing outside of the theatre, arm locked with your sugnificant other, looking for something to watch, you see that title and think "let's see this" because you've heard of it before...when you didn't hear anything, you just feel more familiar with it because it's the "friend of a friend" mentality of seeing it around all the time.

Clickin's don't mean a thing...it's the exposure...

Micro-payments are a great idea, don't get me wrong. but there really isno good system yet.

I was thinking along the lines of fast track the other day...You pay a company (*shudder*) A certian ammount of money at the end of the month, for the express lanes in certain areas that you used...If you don't live n CA, this might be a bit new to you. And I was thinking, groups like "too cool for keen", "the four toon tellers", Alternative bran studios", "Nobody Studios", and others could maybe have similar systems, where you sign up on this site, like a bill statement, are given some sort of password or code, which you use to access the last panel of these sites or something of the like....then pay the total 13 cents at the end of the month...I don't know...

this is just an idea, not a solution...and i know there are problems with this line of thinking...but dammit-it might be a start!

-glych

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