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Micropayments is already working
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2001 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quick note to say that here in the U.K., the idea of micropayments has been used for several months with *massive* success.

Sky Digital Television, the major satellite broadcaster in the UK and Ireland, have been selling access to the Tetris computer game for 25pence a time (about 20 U.S. cents), through the digital set-top boxes. Recently another two games joined Tetris. It's called the "Pay2Play" system.

Sky Digital has made a huge profit with this system. When a viewer wishes to play Tetris, or one of the other games, the set-top box will not allow them to play until it connects to Sky via the telephone system and charges 25pence on the viewers telephone bill.

The sytem works! And ever since the system was introduced, the games appearing on Sky Digital have been much, much, better.

I've spent about ?5.00 ($3.50 U.S.) on the Sky Digital "Pay2Play" games since it's launch a few months ago. And that's ?5 that would have normally stayed in my pocket - but I was happy to spend it!
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Greg Stephens
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Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2001 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Small note on the currency conversion-- Currently, the UK pound is stronger than the US dollar, so 25p is more like 35 cents, and 5 pounds would be 7.50 USD. (Not that this has any relevance to the point at hand.)

Also- Moved thread to the RC: Commerce forum.

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Good morning! That's a nice tnetennba.
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Max Leibman
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Joined: 15 Apr 2001
Posts: 130
Location: Springfield, Nebraska (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2001 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a decent enough system -- and some would quibble about the amount, saying it's not micro enough at $.35, but still, that's better than most U.S. pseudomicropayment options.

I think similar systems have been discussed elsewhere on this board, and many of us expressed concern about putting yet another powerful aspect of telecommunications under the control of the already powerful phone companies.

Still, its interesting to know that somebody is out there doing this stuff now successfully, through a phone bill or not. Two questions:

1). What kind of cut do any "middlemen" take out? I.e., whoever provided the technology, the billing system with the phone company, etc.? What percentage does the company providing the game keep?

2). Is that quarter-pound the smallest increment possible with this technology?

3). Is this something proprietary of the gaming company, or a system that others are using/can use?

I'm not meaning to grill you if you don't know the inner workings of the thing -- but if anybody has this info, I think we'd all like to know what's what.

Peace out,

Max Leibman

[ This Message was edited by: Max Leibman on 2001-10-04 08:45 ]
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buzzard
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Joined: 30 Jul 2001
Posts: 70

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2001 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm hesitant to find that scenario significant; it's not that far removed from dropping a quarter in a machine at a video arcade--in other words, it's in a market where we've already seen some pay-to-play action, at a similar price point.

Admittedly, it is still *something* new and a little different, so it's sort of interesting.
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lylebclarke
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Joined: 15 Apr 2001
Posts: 59
Location: New Zealand and Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2001 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the last two weeks I've been reading Flip and Mick every weekday via my WAP phone.

It costs me a little less than 3 US cents per time, more if I cruise around the archives, as I'm paying per minute. Normally though, I just load the toon, then disconnect, and read the toon while disconnected.

If I keep this up, I'll end up paying around $8 US dollars after a year. An amount I'd never cough up on the spot. actually, I'm all round pretty tight with my money, but even so, I would read more toons this way if there were more available.

So far, I only know of Flip and Mick, and a weak daily gag offering from Cartoonscape (which has already started repeating itself (i.e. showing the exact same toon and joke again) after only 10 days or so).

There is an article about Flip and Mick at Wired (entitled Zap! Bang! Zowee! And WAP. The article says that cartoonists are syndicating the comic undera revenue share (they get 30%) with the WAP portals of telephone companies.

If you are want to see the type of comics that are possible on a mobile phone, you can see several Flip and Mick episodes here.
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Max Leibman
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Joined: 15 Apr 2001
Posts: 130
Location: Springfield, Nebraska (USA)

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2001 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know how this is particularly relevant, and I risk the wrath of Greg by derailing the topic further, but I notice that the Flip and Mick strips in your link, when viewed all-at-once rather than through the limited window of the WAP phone screen, take on a slight Chris-Ware-ish quality.

Just thought I'd mention it.

-Max

[ This Message was edited by: Max Leibman on 2001-10-07 20:29 ]
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