Online publishers are starting to think Rupert Murdoch was right: the “free” web is dead. The global recession has caused advertising revenues to dry up and publishers of SEO content are having to stretch their brains to think how they could make a charging model work.
Writing web content has never easily translated into earning money. Some kinds of online content (mainly porn and music) has always been chargeable, but punters are used to getting their online news for free. Until now, publishers have made do with advertising revenue, but that’s not looking sustainable in the current economic climate.
So how does the online publishing industry convince the general public to start paying for their online news? The answer could lie in micropayments, the basic principle of which is to charge a price that is so small it won’t put off customers, but will accumulate sufficient revenues, via mass sales, to keep the publisher in profit.
Frank Fisher, a website writer for The Guardian suggests that the Google Adsense technology could be reversed in order to establish an industry standard for taking SEO content micropayments. Google Adsense was designed for publishers to earn money from small ads which they would include on their website. Every time a customer clicks on a Google Ad, the publisher earns a tiny amount of money. Once a month, the publisher receives a payment for all the clicks their ads received.
Fisher suggests that, in order to apply the technology to a charging model for SEO content, “individuals would sign up with Google, deposit funds. They’d have a unique ID attached to them at that point – an encrypted cookie stored on whichever PC they happen to log in with. When they visit a site with GoogleDosh embedded they’re allowed in, a fraction of a penny is switched to the content provider’s account for every item they read.”