The micropayment debate continues

Is it possible to be fascinated by an issue and yet tired of it at the same time? If so, then micropayments for online news pretty much fits that bill for me. I know that it’s a crucial time for the newspaper business (which pays my salary), and I know that many thoughtful and intelligent people believe that micropayments are the answer to the industry’s woes — including former news executive Alan Mutter, who blogs at Reflections of a Newsosaur, and whose recent argument about paying for things I took on in this post. But there has been an awful lot of talk about the issue over the past few weeks and months, including some excellent pieces by Clay Shirky and others (I’ve collected a list of the major ones at my personal blog if you’re interested).

And still the debate continues. The Freakonomics blog at the New York Times is the latest to throw its rhetorical hat into this particular ring, which seems fitting given the authors’ focus on the conjunction of economics and society. Both Alan Mutter and Clay Shirky show up in this forum as well, making similar arguments — the former in favour of micropayments, which he says will overcome the “Original Sin” of giving content away for free online, adding that readers wouldn’t mind being nickel-and-dimed “if the content were sufficiently unique and compelling.”

Shirky, meanwhile, argues that:

Online, small payments only work when the collector of those payments has end-to-end control of delivery, generally by controlling the hardware or software the user has access to. (This is true of all metered billing, in fact.)

and adds:

The fantasy that small payments will save publishers as they move online is really a fantasy that monopoly pricing power can be re-established over we users. Invoking the magic word “micropayments” is thus grabbing the wrong end of the stick; if online publishers had that kind of pricing power, micropayments wouldn’t be necessary. And since they don’t have that pricing power, micropayments won’t provide it.

(read the rest of this post at the Nieman Journalism Lab)

3 thoughts on “The micropayment debate continues

  1. So in other words, you would have to pay for what you added into your post from what they published??

  2. Pingback: Chartreuse » Blog Archive » the self-inflicted wounds of dead institutions (Why No One Will Really Pay For News)

  3. Laptop LCD Panel Screen B141EW01 B141EW03Laptop LCD Panel Screen B141EW01 B141EW03
    Laptop LCD Panel Screen LP141WX1-TL01LP141WX1-TL01 Laptop LCD Panel Screen Laptop LCD Panel Screen LP141WX1-TL01
    Laptop LCD Panel Screen LQ141K1LB1CLaptop LCD Panel Screen LQ141K1LB1C
    Laptop LCD Panel Screen LTN141W1-L04Laptop LCD Panel Screen LTN141W1-L04
    Laptop LCD Panel Screen N141I1-L03Laptop LCD Panel Screen N141I1-L03
    Acer Aspire 3050 LCD WXGA Wide Screen PanelAcer Aspire 3050 LCD WXGA Wide Screen Panel
    Acer Aspire 3620 LCD WXGA Wide Screen PanelAcer Aspire 3620 series LCD WXGA Wide Screen Panel
    Acer Aspire 3630 LCD WXGA Wide Screen PanelAcer Aspire 3630 LCD WXGA Wide Screen Panel
    Acer Aspire 3680 LCD WXGA Wide Screen PanelAcer Aspire 3680 series LCD WXGA Wide Screen Panel
    Acer Aspire 4315 LCD WXGA Wide Screen PanelAcer Aspire 4315 series LCD WXGA Wide Screen Panel

Comments are closed.