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micropayments revisited Goto page Previous  1, 2
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Greg Stephens
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Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2001 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me check into moving the threads. I can do it, but it would mean that any bookmarked threads you might have would have to be updated. (Each thread's URL includes a forum Id #, so a new forum would mean a new forum ID #.)

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John2two
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Joined: 15 Apr 2001
Posts: 100
Location: Monroe, Oregon, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2001 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I got tired of waiting for someone else to do it, so I've dived in. Back over on the ICST thread, Scott suggested that someone ought to put together a big chart comparing the various micropayment options. I have started such a chart, but it won't get fleshed out unless y'all chip in.

I hereby invite each of you to pick one fact-poor row in the table and compile the facts for it, then email them to me.

John
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Scott McCloud
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Joined: 23 May 2001
Posts: 299

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2001 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yikes!

We're gonna have to start calling you "Saint" John.

Thanks for the hard work, Man. (God, I wish I had more Time!!)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2001 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my 2 cents
I have to admit that I am intrigued by the possibilities of buying things directly from the producer, and at low cost.

But I have 2 minor points to add to the orginal comic (ICST#6). In the comic Scott pointed to PVP online which was getting alot of 30,000 readers, and imagined what sort of income could be generated. This raw figure was $7,500. A great example.

But what if you included a conversion rate. Even at 25c not all the visitors to your website will convert to paid customers. But is it 95% or 50% or 5%? This is an interesting question to ask. Why would people buy or not buy ?

Scott also include the fees to the micro-payment service. Will it be 10% commission. Or a flat rate. Or a combination. But it maybe higher.

He also takes into account the hosting fees

$ income = Visitors * 50%(say) * 90% (flat 10% payment fee) - hosting fees

In the comic that was a profit of $73,000
With the conversion rate of 50% that works out to be $36500 p.a.

It is still a good number just not as large as quoted

In the future there could be all sorts of intermediaries ? they might host the site, or promotes your site so that others see it, reviewers who do favourable pieces, publishers who float advances to interesting creators, credit card service fees, or they might create some CGI ?modules or they may even design the drawing tools for future 'outside the frame' comics. All interesting stuff.

In some ways creators might even trade their % of the profits to organisations that can generate sales of their art.

I think lots of web content would get off the ground at 25c a go. Maybe a song, a comic, a book, a novel, a short film, a picture, a cartoon, a mobile phone game, a shockwave movie, an animation. Who knows what might be created.

But as others mentioned such a service needs to be universal for both consumers and creators and it needs to have alot of content


One final point about the practicalities of this scheme. Some people say that micro-payments being technically along way off. I offer you this scenario.

I suggest to you that pay per click search engines such as Goto.com are great examples of micropayment schemes that are working RIGHT NOW.

Webmasters who want the service pre-pay a minimum of say $25. Then every click costs 1c or 2 c or whatever is the current bid for those keywords. After the initial purchase you can top-up your account as people click on search results to take you to their site. You can even add new keywords as you go. Now some bids are quite high right now - $5 or so. But they all started at 1 or 2 cents a clickthru

Now imagine if the minimum amount that you could pre-purchase and top up is $7 through a normal credit card. And you went with http://www.swreg.org. They offer a similar setup to http://www.kagi.com. Then you would only need to pay 69c on $7. Which is a 10% bargain.

Each thing you download could be 25 c each object - a song, a comic, a game. If your shopping cart supported it and the creator wanted to you could charge fractions of a cent for some things. As in one tenth of a cent .

In the current environment you might want to watermark the works digitally. But that would be up to the creator.

Or for $1 to $ for a month ? unlimited access to the archives. Per month fees would fix the fees but allow people unlimited access to say a back catalogue or future work etc.

My point is that it becomes affordable and do-able right now. and the model that works today is pay-per-click search engines.

In the future you could easily imagine a Napster of pay per downloading content -songs and comics and short films and video. It wouldn't matter if it was Central downloaded or Peer 2 Peer downloaded.


You might even have auctions for some valuable objects either a going-up auction, or going down ? Dutch- auction. The value would still be tied to creating limited editions of objects, so a digital way to sign and number exclusive collectors items might be explored. But I believe that digital watermarks and digital signatures would be good enough for the job now

So thanks for getting the discussion kicked off.

It would be great to trial such a system across a wide range of sites so that there were lots of interesting and diverse things that I could buy for 25c. But with this system I need to keep a minimum balance of $7
and pre-pay that into my account

I can't stop thinking about it


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Scott McCloud
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Joined: 23 May 2001
Posts: 299

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2001 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remi Scholten, the Chief Operational Officer
Net Actuals/Cartio sent me the following information:

"Our standard merchant edition is free of charge (no acquisition fee, no connection fee and no monthly charge). We only charge a 20% fee on transaction bases. The minimum transaction value is 0,01 $ and the maximum transaction value is 10,00 Dollar. Other packages (with lower transaction percentages) can be acquired.

"The Cartio Card is actually a software program. This program is only available on Windows with internet explorer or Netscape as browser. As from September there will also be a server bases wallet, which can be runned on other computers like the Mac.

"Setting up a consumer account is free of charge. The minimum amount a consumer has to deposit on the Cartio Card is 15 Euro/Dollar. He or she can use creditcard payments, bank transfers (in 40 countries), direct debits or cheque payments.

"The system is live at the moment, although in controlled environment. Dutch newspapers deliver pay-per-view news articles to Dutch managers. And Italian student are able to buy student e-books and thesis.

"As from August money can be deposited on the Cartio Card using creditcard payments and bank transfers in the most important countries. A number of (well known) merchants will be connected as from September."

Answers a lot of my questions!

--Scott
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WillWare
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Joined: 15 Jul 2001
Posts: 1
Location: Boston area

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2001 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've spent a little time in the past few weeks cobbling up
some hare-brained ideas for probabilistic
micropayments. Since then I discovered that such an obvious idea as using
probability to weight payments was not original to me, and has actually
been kicked around by Ron Rivest at MIT, the "R" in the "RSA" encryption
algorithm. He had the bright idea of issuing lottery tickets with small
expected values. These are tracked electronically, and at some future time,
the lottery is actually performed and somebody actually gets paid. In the
meanwhile (and assuming everyone agrees the lottery is fair) it's reasonable
to consider each lottery ticket to be worth the expected payoff.



http://theory.lcs.mit.edu/~rivest/lottery.pdf


Rivest had an earlier paper with a couple other micropayment schemes:

http://theory.lcs.mit.edu/~rivest/RivestShamir-mpay.pdf. As far as
I am aware, there are no existing commercial implementations of any of
these ideas.


(ObSmileyExperiment: -- I have to do this, I've never used a system before that
does more-than-ascii smileys.)

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John2two
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Joined: 15 Apr 2001
Posts: 100
Location: Monroe, Oregon, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2001 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you haven't been there recently, the browsing has never been better over at the micropayments comparison table. It's been growing steadily over the last couple weeks thanks to submissions from Lyle Clark, Sean Barrett, and CJ Stone (plus poop posted above by McCloud re:Cartio). Fresh in this evening is the lowdown on MojoNation, thanks to CJ Stone!

Still plenty of rows to fill in, folks, so pick one, investigate, and send me your descriptions. Together we can make it pretty darned helpful for all.

John
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