Backed by software giant Adobe Systems, the RedPaper is an experimental market for information, allowing anyone to publish and sell their writing, be it recipes for muffins or hard-to-get court documents.
The site has about 600 registered users, who have published several hundred articles on the site, including favorite drink recipes, car maintenance instructions, poetry and short fiction.
The RedPaper has set up a micropayment system to pay contributors. The authors set the price for their work, anywhere from $0.02 on up. The author receives 94.75 percent of monies; the RedPaper takes a 5.25 percent cut. When registering with the site, new users deposit $3 in an account, which is used to buy articles.
Professor Richard Gordon of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University said the site is an interesting manifestation of several new media trends — weblogging, self-publishing and attempts to create markets for digital content.
“I’ve no idea how successful it is likely to be, but it may allow writers to develop a readership and reputation without the backing of a publication,” he said. “It’s like freelancing on steroids.”