Google developing micropayment system for online news
From the San Francisco Business Times (ht J Lit): Google working on painless payments for news
Google’s platform, which should be ready within a year, would simplify the way newspapers and other publishers charge for online content. Some readers have balked at the need to sign in, create an identity and password, and jump other hurdles to access online news at sites that charge money. Google’s idea — based on its existing “Checkout” system — would let people create just one sign in for many different sites and subscriptions.
It would also let publishers combine subscriptions to many different web sites or titles and charge one price for them.
The platform would also allow creation of different levels of search access, from “snippets” to preview pages to complete access.
Google would get a piece of the pie for facilitating the transaction.
Newspapers complain that Google commoditized news. But that’s unfair. Newspapers are free to keep their content behind a subscription wall if they want. The trouble is they don’t have the leverage, individually, to charge for content. Readers will just go elsewhere.
If Google can help publishers work together, they may just take a little bit of leverage back.
This would be good for readers too. News costs money to produce, believe it or not. At the other end of every link is a reporter working a beat, or an analyst putting together a report. It takes time to create good content and people have to be paid for their time.
It will be easier for readers chip in if the cost is low and the execution is greatly simplified. That is the promise of a unified micropayment platform.
Newspapers shouldn’t expect this to be a panacea, however, not if the cost per page view is in the pennies. The largest newspaper sites would be able to generate a few million dollars per month at best … not a lot, but better than nothing…