Google Wallet More About Micropayments For Content?

from the would-fit-with-other-theories... dept

There's been a ton of buzz over the idea that Google was working on a PayPal competitor, and it appears that Eric Schmidt and "the powers that be" at Google finally thought it was worth speaking to the press on the matter. In discussing the Google Wallet concept, we did note that it came days after rumors of a Google iTunes-like offering as well, and that actually might tie into what Google is working on. Earlier today, there was increasing speculation that Google was more interested in a system to deliver micropayments for content than direct person-to-person financial transactions -- and that seems to be more along the lines of what Google is admitting to. While not clearly laid out, Schmidt did say that the solution they were working on wasn't really a PayPal competitor, but more of an extension of existing programs. Many people have been saying that it's likely an extension of the payment system they use for handling their paid search ad program, but extending it out to other types of content. This would also fit with Google's new video storage offering, which promised to allow people to charge for the content that people downloaded. While less surprising, this is still a bit disappointing. Micropayments seem to go in and out of fashion every few years, but never actually seem to catch on, mainly because not only do they add a monetary expense, but they have a mental transaction cost in making people stop and think about whether or not it's worth purchasing. That cost is much more expensive than most people think. Also, any micropayment-based system always leaves itself open to competitors who realize that it's going to be much more effective to give the content away, and make money elsewhere.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Freedster, Jun 22nd, 2005 @ 7:19am

    No Subject Given

    I think that if the micropayments are small enough, people will get over the purchasing hurdle. If it costs a 5th of a cent to download something, most people won't think twice about it. The other option, of course, is to charge the owner of the content if they want to make it downloadable for free.

    The offshoot I see for this, however, is that it would make it very easy for someone to set up an online content publishing service. If Google makes it so you can set your own price you want to charge for people to download your content, there's a lot of doors that open up for independent content providers. For example, there's a lot of small shops that sell paper copies of their how-to books at ebay storefronts (like the guy that sells instructions on how to convert an old lawnmower engine to an air compressor). They could easily start selling downloadable copies via a Google micropayment system.

    Likewise, I suppose, people could start selling other "amateur productions" over Google, and it would allow for all kinds of potentially offensive content to come up for sale.

    Lots of people, like me, don't tend to trust much about the ebay system, and think that those yokels at paypal are a bunch of crooks. I wouldn't buy a book over ebay, but I would download the selfsame one from Google.

    - Freed

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    vruz, Jun 22nd, 2005 @ 1:05pm

    except perhaps...

    what if Google makes it very, very, very easy and convenient to pay, in an almost unnoticed way just like plastic is used instead of cash ?

    even seeing a single buck leaving one's pocket can be a painful experience for some.

    plastic tricks us by giving immediate reward, deferring pain in time, thusly separating pain from reward at least in our perceptions.

    I can venture at least one way Google could do this...

    1) create a Google Micropayments account
    2) install the Google Micropayments Monitor
    3) log on to your Google Micropayments account to activate the Monitor
    4) Google will give you a $ 10 credit for free when you sign up
    4) websites that want to be paid can automatically publish the price list for the content as alternate content, exactly the same way alternate RSS feeds are published when linked to an html page (ie: )
    5) the Google Micropayments Monitor allows you to enable automatic charging for websites you trust, up to a certain limit, (ie: Enable Techdirt to charge me up to $ 0.01 per session, forbid Microsoft to charge me anything at all)
    6) the Google Micropayments Monitor displays a small, unobtrusive gauge on-screen, you just see your money gauge decrease, with indicators for green, yellow and red level.

    7) if you are a website, Google allows you to cash out by sending you a check or money transfer,or alternatively buying Google Ads at discount price

    8) if you are a cosumer only, you can still pay via Paypal or figure out a way to send money Google's way.

    9) you can also get paid for doing stuff online, like winning games, contests, prizes, generating content, or creating useful open source code, so your Google Micropayments Monitor gauge can go back in green if you produce something worth.

    10) Google takes over the world as a public company associated with commons and guilds of bourgeois, a cluster of googlecrats that benefit from the new googleishment, defeating Microsoft death's star, forcing it to ostracism in a distant galaxy far away.


     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Alex Rowland, Jun 22nd, 2005 @ 11:34pm

    Micropayments suck

    Micropayments always fail precisely because they have no reason for being. If something is valuable enough to charge for it, it will carry a relatively significant price tag, say over $2. Even at $2 the transation is less about the money and more about the decision so manybe that number should be higher. In an open network there is too much other content that is free to waste your time evaluating the relative merits of $0.50 vs. $0.25. You'll just move on to something else that is free.

    Google's video platform will help many content owners make a fortune from the sale of contextual advertising. All those that elect micropayment models over advertising will quickly understand the folly of that decision.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Frodo Crockett, Nov 5th, 2005 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Micropayments suck

    "Micropayments always fail precisely because they have no reason for being."
    Wrong. With a large enough backer, a micropayment system could succeed, and possibly be a serious threat to the net advertising industry. I'd much rather pay a nickel every few weeks to cover a site's hosting costs than view the same site "for free" with obnoxious advertisements.
    "In an open network there is too much other content that is free to waste your time evaluating the relative merits of $0.50 vs. $0.25."
    Not really. You grossly overestimate the costs of bandwidth. Let me give you an example:
    Recently, an imageboard called 4chan went on a fundraising drive to cover the next year's operating costs. They needed $20,000. According to the site statistics, 4chan has about 50,000 regular users. 50,000 / $20,000 = $.40 per user per year. If they charge each user once per month, that's a measly $.033 for a whole month of usage. Hardly something you'd think twice about.
    Of course, the cost per period of time is a function of the hosting costs and the number of regular users, so that cost could go higher for less popular websites. However, I can get a domain hosted for $5-10 per month, with at least 5GB of transfer each month. With only a hundred regular users, that's a measly $.05-.10 per month, per user. Hosting is cheap. Your $.25 and $.50 websites would have to be something extraordinary.
    Anyway, I think you should seriously reevalute your opinion of micropayment systems. Especially consider them as an alternative to a traditional monthly or yearly subscription model used by websites like IGN.

     

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