The Guardian writes about an area that has been the dream of many in the past decade – how to make money on the Internet. The focus is not on the big companies, but on the creative people. “Can an individual with a talent for writing, drawing, photography or music use the internet, not to create millions, but to make enough to live comfortably and do what they want to do professionally?” A related issue is that of micripayments.
The real action on the internet is at the fringes, where small content producers are finding that the internet is not only allowing them to make a living doing their thing and selling it directly to the customer, but taking the hard work out of it in the process.
The original and most obvious ways of making a living in the creative arts have usually been advertising, sponsorship and patronage, and the internet is no different. Weblogs, once again on the cutting edge of the internet, are starting to move in this direction, with the recent launch of two major advertising services, Google Ad-Sense and BlogAds.
Advertising, however, is not the most cutting edge of business models. For that, we need to visit the concept of micropayments.
“If you think about it,” says graphic artist Scott McCloud, “for any kind of content on the web, the natural price per unit of these things should be under a dollar. So really the market for these things doesn’t exist without a micropayment system.”
A workable micropayment system has historically been the holy grail for internet content providers. The idea of being able to charge for content worth only pennies has long appealed, with the theory being that given small enough prices, a smooth enough system and compelling enough content, people will be happy to pay a few pence for a good read, a useful program or a fine tune.