MICRO TRANSACTION CAPACITY COULD SAVE NEWSPAPERS
With the news that the New York Times will try and charge people for electronic access to their content, the battle to save newspapers continues.
The problem is everyone expects content on line to be fee, and not enough people are buying print newspapers and not enough advertisers are buying ads in print newspapers, to keep them alive.
On top of that advertising income from on-line editions is a fraction of what print ads brought.
We know that first hand, having made less than $12 in advertising revenue in 2009.
One idea folks have had is to ask people for donations to keep real journalism alive. Someone has to pay the salaries of reporters, and if there is not enough subscription revenue or ad revenue, maybe people would donate to the cause.
There is some merit to this idea. Since the Bandersnatch started its begging campaign, we've gotten nearly $100 in the last year.
But asking people to pay serious money for on-line newspaper subscriptions is doomed. The only on-line subscription model that seems to work is porn. Maybe if newspapers allowed subscribers access to a trove of porn could papers get paid subscriptions. We doubt the New York Times will start a "porn review" section on its web site.
The best chance to keep journalism alive is the micro transaction model.
When we put the Bandersnatch on line, we wanted to make the front page on your screen look like a news rack, and you could "buy" a view of the site for a week for a nickel. That's right...5 cents.
The problem is there was no way anyone had cyber nickels. They still don't.
A system needs to be created where people surfing the web have a stash of electronic cash they can dole out in pennies, nickels and dimes when they like a web site.
For example, if every one of the thousand or so people who visit us daily paid a nickel for their trip through our site, that would get us $50 a day....not bad money in this economy. That's $18,250 a year. Big bucks for us.
How about it PayPal---come up with a way we can use your system to reward web sites we like.
I'm guessing a lot of people would pay even a quarter for access to today's on-line edition of the New York Times...beats $2 (which is what they charge in Baja Arizona).