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Is There an Online Content Payment Alternative to Paywalls?

Posted by Max Tatton-Brown on 18th August 2011

 When it comes to working out how to charge for content in a way that doesn’t entirely alienate customers, the world’s media is going through a fascinating process of rejuvenation and experimentation.

From paywalls to mobile apps, tablet redesigns and everything in between, very few seem to have cracked the sweet spot that suits their audience and makes them want to pay to consume what they can generally replace elsewhere for free.

But it occurred to me the other day that there may be another solution to the problem just lurking in the wings about to burst onto the scene. In this App Store age, could a robust infrastructure for web-wide micropayments be the alternative that finally makes the web profitable again? And who might be able to provide such a system?

I recently threw some thoughts together on the subject for Wired about how this might work in more detail – check out a teaser below followed by a link to the full site on

On the Kindle platform, we recently saw the news that sister site Ars Technica’s OS X Lion review took sales of $15,000 in one day, despite also being freely available on Ars Technica’s website.

Looking at the bigger picture, I think this in particular also raises a pertinent question: What if Kindle became a platform for hosting written content and providing payment to authors across the whole web?

Check out the full article on Wired by Max Tatton-Brown here

Max Tatton-Brown