Sometimes I really do feel old. I remember over a decade ago – probably more like 12-13 years ago researching micropayments and how that would be the future of Web-based transactions.
I see that the NYT is looking to charge for its Web-based content starting next year but they haven’t figured out how to do it or what to charge.
There was a time when people were very keen on micropayments (before the IT bubble in 2001). Take the NYT. I would have a web-based subscription tied to a credit card and would pay 5 cents to read a David Brooks column or seven cents to read the front page stories, or whatever. The idea then (and I don’t understand why not now) was that the transaction costs would be virtually nothing (the cost of a Web-based e-commerce server pinging VISA to see if I have money to pay the five cents) and thousands of people paying for just the content they wanted to see (supplemented by ad revenue) would provide a sustainable business model.
It’s kind of like iTunes but even on a more chunked up basis.
There was a time when industry executives were pitching this model for television as well. You pay for just what you want – 50 cents for 30 Rock, $2 for new movies, 15 cents for the National.
I think it is where we should have gone but never did.