The Day When Microsoft Pays You To Use Their Software

from the ok,-won't-happen dept

An opinion piece over at is joking about how Bill Gates should be paying people to use Windows in response to a Bill Gates comment that Google should be paying people to use its search engine. The article is clearly satire, but some of the thoughts aren’t nearly as crazy as the writer makes them out to be. Already, we’re reaching the point where getting people paid for stuff they do on computers is becoming more common, from eBay helping people sell stuff to Google and Yahoo helping people make some cash off their traffic through ads. Meanwhile, with Microsoft’s recent announcement that they’re focusing on software as a service, they did clearly say that they expect much of it to be ad supported. While many people question whether or not they can actually pull that off, if they can, how hard is it to leap from ad-supported software to “make money” supported software? Yes, it does have the ring of bubble-era business models, and there are all sorts of issues with it, but don’t be surprised if some companies start experimenting with those kinds of business models. This time, they’ll make the argument, online advertising is actually generating enough revenue to make such a plan work. Already there are some online services pitching offerings that focus on paying the users based on the advertising revenue received. And, of course, it doesn’t necessarily have to be based on page views or clicks by yourself. Some are suggesting business models that involve paying people for traffic sent their way. Of course, the real issue with any of these types of models that involve people getting paid is that they’re all subject to gaming and some form of “click fraud.” Still, for some companies, the temptation is going to be too strong. It may not be sustainable (especially if advertisers don’t find the traffic targeted or valuable — which is likely), and who knows how long it will last, but get ready for an era in which companies start paying you to use their products.

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