Google gets into micropayments

By Felix Salmon
September 9, 2009
Google's dipping its toe in the water, and it's just possible this one might work. I'm willing to give Google my credit card details, once, and I'm willing to log in to my Google account when I'm online. If it's then easy for me just to click a button and say "charge this to my Google account", I might be willing to do that.

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Lots of people have tried to make micropayments work, and all of them have failed. But now Google’s dipping its toe in the water, and it’s just possible this one might work. I’m willing to give Google my credit card details, once, and I’m willing to log in to my Google account when I’m online. If it’s then easy for me just to click a button and say “charge this to my Google account”, I might be willing to do that.

On the other hand, I will still be extremely hesitant to link to anything which requires one pay money to read it. Google says that “‘open’ need not mean free”, but the fact is that in the link ecosystem they really do mean the same thing. If you want to start charging for content, be my guest. Just don’t expect to be an integral part of the conversation that the rest of us are having.

2 comments

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I don’t want to pay to read on a per-article basis, I want to pay a subscription that allows me unlimited access to a set of participating content providers, and then have those providers get a share of my subscription that is proportionate to the share of my time I spend on their web pages.

There’s details to iron out, but I think this is a much more promising model. I won’t try to set it out here, but I think there’s even scope to have content providers compensated for generating original content (as in investigative journalism) even when I read the story on another outlet’s website, within such a system. I have in mind a system of tagging original content. Right now the fact that your competitors can use stories you originate reduces the incentive to originate content.

Posted by Luis Enrique | Report as abusive

to be honest I can trust google with all my heart.