Google Working On Micropayment Scheme To Help Newspapers Commit Suicide Faster

from the good-joke dept

Now this is funny. One of the undercurrent themes found in all of the “newspaper guy blaming Google for newspaper demise” stories is the idea that Google should also come to the rescue of newspapers. Usually, this means by just forking over some of its massive profits, but other times it’s based on odd claims that Google has a responsibility to create the new business model for journalism. Well, it appears that Google is stepping into that breach… but it strikes me as an elaborate practical joke. That’s because Google has alerted the newspaper world that it’s working on a micropayment solution via its seldom-used Google Checkout offering, that could be used as a form of a paywall. Of course, we’ve been waiting for newspapers to actually offer just such a paywall, so that we can watch it fail and get on with our lives. Perhaps I’m way too cynical on this particular move by Google, but it strikes me as Google handing newspaper execs the rope with which to hang themselves. The problem with a paywall isn’t that the technology doesn’t exist to make it work — it’s that consumers won’t buy into it. But, if the newspapers want to try — and Google wants to provide the rope — good for them. Update Seems like a bad time to point out that retailers are having serious problems with Google Checkout, huh?

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Comments on “Google Working On Micropayment Scheme To Help Newspapers Commit Suicide Faster”

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24 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: If they priced the articles appropriately...

Them – Would you like to pay $1.00 to read this article online?

Me – Not worth the money. I’ll look elsewhere.

Them – Would you like to pay 5¢ to read this article online?

Me – Not worth the effort of signing up on google checkout then signing in on the newspaper website. I’ll look elsewhere.

At least it’s somewhat centralized so I don’t have to give my credit info out to every new site and then remember login names/passwords for each, but still. . . free news without logging in over there –>.

Fred McTaker (profile) says:

Re: it's the good kind of conspiracy

I think it’s funny that you bring up the term “charity” sarcastically here. I was just thinking that I hope Google follows through with the micro-payments system, not just because it will give bad newspapers just the right kind of rope to hang themselves with, but also because I think online micro-donations would be a really good option for most charities. I know I would personally spend a lot more on small donations to charities, political groups, and artists than I do with lump donations now.

I also know first hand the per-transaction fees with most online payment systems makes selling ANYthing online for under $4 really impractical, even when shipping is not a concern. The credit card companies really bilk the small businesses for each transaction. Imagine artists being able to set up their own iTunes-alike stores, selling individual tracks for $1 or less. The lower the barrier to entry on these purchases and donations, for both the consumer and the small site operators, the better.

roxanneadams (profile) says:

Like chronic smokers, the print newspapers are responsible for their own slow, agonizing and painful death. If Google wants to play the game and pretend to be extending life-support to a dying patient, I say go ahead, but the disease is terminal and there is no cure.

My parents keep complaining about how the LA Times keeps shrinking. As soon as their current year’s subscription is up, they won’t renew, after 50+ years of being home delivery customers. There’s no value left in the paper for them.

The Los Angeles Daily News put the bullet into their own brain after they cut off my service and turned me over to collections when I had a credit balance on my account. I had paid my bill twelve months in advance for years and never before had a problem. After they cut off my service, I started getting nastygrams in the mail and annoying phone calls at work. How do you convince a moron that $-100.00 means you have a credit balance?

The person in charge of the delivery route showed up at my house at least once a week, slipping pay envelopes and statements through the mail slot on my front door, even one time, leaving a generic holiday card with a handwritten note inside, reminding me that in order to pay his workers and his bills, he needed me to pay my bills.

Finally, I got the bright idea to call up and officially cancel my subscription. A week later, a refund check came in the mail. Sure, I’ll subscribe to a print newspaper again – when hell freezes over.

Anonymous Coward says:

A take on PRman’s post……
Them – Would you like to pay 5¢ to read this article online?
Clueless – OK……..CLICK!!!!
Them – Now sending you an invoice…we will be charging your credit card 5¢ (plus delivery charge of 50¢+45¢postage&packing). Oh yeah did we forget to tell you we signed you up for spam? yeah…spam….from everyone that advertises with us inside the paywall (and Christ knows we need the money…theres so few of them left!)

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