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Why do so many micropayment systems fail?

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Maybe a better question needs to be..

What alternatives do those of us who don't want to turn the entire internet into a giant advertising machine have?

It just seems unhealthy to me that we seem to be heading in the direction of all digital content being free, and all digital content being filled with advertisements.  Are we going to wake up in 10 years and find that all music is free, but there are advertisements in the middle of songs?  And same with books.. will all books become "free" but have advertisements on the odd numbered pages?

This is a complicated problem lined with good intentions. I've never had any problems with PayPal, but much like eBay, I feel they take too much of a cut that could be going to site/person you're donating to. The other problem justice mentioned is exchange rates. If your original currency is the Yen or USDollar, your contributions to European developers are [naturally] smaller than you want.

Making it easy is critical. And this is where excels. DC also has content, expertise, and an interesting group of people who never fail to bend my brain. Finally, I can't get a lot of the things DC offers elsewhere, unlike news or opinion columns, which I can find in hundreds of places rather than the NYTimes (which would need a refund button if the column sucked).

On the other hand, if I had to donate a micropayment every time I visited DC -- or anywhere -- I wouldn't return on principle.

In the article i wrote on dc i expressed what i believe to be true -- that the magic component missing is EASY donating, not MICRO donating.

Paypal has gone a long way towards that but it's still not nearly as painless and safe as it could be, nor accessible to many people.  When everyone feels completely secure about making a donation to any site with one button click, i do believe we will open up a ton of possibilities for indie content creators to get direct funding from their audience.

this is partly why i get so frustrated with google spending all their time writing bullshit copies of every program on the internet just so they can squeeze a little more market share for their advertisements.  there are only a few companies with the trust level and reach to actually tackle this kind of thing, and i wish they would do it.

When everyone feels completely secure about making a donation to any site with one button click [...]
-mouser (February 11, 2009, 03:45 AM)
--- End quote ---
Actually you're exactly pointing out the problem. With donationcoder you're donating to a person, with most other micropayment schemes you're donating to an entity - or even worse bits, paragraphs, links and other things people couldn't care less about. If you change the donation button and put it next to the thread instead of next to the picture you'll see donations going down.

Even cartoon websites live on the merchandise shop - because people won't donate to a 8 panel story - but they will want to buy clothes to promote it.

So even if it was really easy to microdonate with one click, I don't think many people would microdonate to an article. Only if they can relate to the person behind it, which mouser is very good at I think. An exception is donating to a community, as it is a group of people - for example sponsoring NANY by third parties.

Well that's my experience anyway, without any prove to back it up :P

As an experiment then running a blog created by many expert authors each with a proper profile with picture, links etc.. Think like an community version of wired, or columns (as they're personal opinion) would be more suited to such a scheme.

Maybe microdonations are just a very good problem but for only a very select few projects. And maybe it's not in the interest of big 'faceless' organisations to put energy in something that would benefit the opposite.


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