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Micropayments – A Piece Of The Freelance Writing Puzzle

micropaymentNick Cernis, who has a truly wonderful blog called of all things Putting Things Off has an article titled The End of Free Content. There he makes an excellent case for making money on content with micropayments.

One definition is Micropayments are means for transferring very small amounts of money, in situations where collecting such small amounts of money with the usual. That comes from a Wikipedia about micropayment.

I actually wrote web copy for  what may have been the first internet payment system, First Virtual. And indeed the payments were tiny… well under a dollar as I recall. Nick is talking about higher payments but still small amounts. I bought his ebook for $10.02 through paypal his UK pricing was converted. The ebooks I sell here are all under $20, which is pretty micro I guess.

Editor & Publisher took on micropayments as a solution to the woes of newspapers in an article called: Forget Micropayments — Here’s a Far Better Idea for Monetizing Content

The idea there I think is that newspapers would be better off using a system like Kachingle. As I understand it, subscribers pay $5 a month and the total raised each month gets apportioned to writers. If I’m vague it’s because their site lacks ease of access to details. Assuming I’m close, I don’t see the advantage of that system, particularly when ClickBank and PayPal (which has a micropayment system for charging less than $12.00 in place)  are already working well. Maybe newspapers need a more complex system, but I can’t think why.

Corey Doctorow makes some excellent observations about micro and macropayments in Locus Magazine. I particularly like his realization that it’s not important that everyone who reads his book pays, but that those who might pay are able to, and his observation that Taking someone’s money is expensive. A good part of that expense is, of course, marketing.

Can creating your own info products to sell pay you more than say content sites? Maybe. If you’re willing to spend the time and some money on getting the word out they can be a source of royalty income – truly nice to have.

I believe in selling my own info products. It’s working for me. How about you? Do you have info products for sale? (Links encouraged)


Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Hi Anne,

    Thanks for the mention of Kachingle. I’m sorry you weren’t able to find details about ours service. There is an abundance of information on our blog and an overview diagram of how Kachingle works at Kachingle.com

    The essential difference between Kachingle and the other services you mention is there are NO “mental transaction costs” for the users (we call them “Kachinglers”). They don’t have to figure out how much to pay for anything…they just set up a subscription of $5/month and Kachingle fairly apportions that money to the Kachingle-enabled sites they select based on daily visits. Our assumption is that the more times you visit a site, the more value you are getting. Kachingle keeps track of that for each user (thru our Medallion Widget). The diagram at our homepage explains this well.

    The Kachingle service is LIVE in BETA at beta.kachingle.com so you can just try it out yourself! There is a tremendous amount of detailed information in the About and Help sections. And if you have any question that is not answered, just contact me directly. But experiencing Kachingle is the absolute best way to understand it. Become a Kachingler, and also put the Kachingle Medallion on your blog!

    Cynthia Typaldos
    Founder & Chief Kachingler
    My kachingling

  • James Chartrand and I have been having discussions this week regarding paid content as well. I think there’s a market for everything. We’ve always paid for content in some form or another whether it’s a newspaper subscription or a book. I’ve had some success with my ebook and have another couple I’m working on as well as a premium site. Darren Rowse recently launched an ebook for his Digital Photography crowd that brought in $72,000 in one week (thanks to good marketing).
    . I think eventually money will be how we separate the quality content from the not so good stuff.

    • Anne

      Good observation… now if we can learn to market like Darren!

  • I sell an ebook on my site (http://www.thursdaybram.com/marketing-your-freelance-writing-in-31-days-the-ebook) — it was well enough received that I’ve got two more nearing completion. I think that smaller info products are definitely a growing market.
    .-= Thursday Bram´s last blog ..Advertising Writing Services: Does It Make Sense? =-.

  • I don’t currently, but I plan to have one available sometime in the first part of 2010, and I have outlines for two more throughout the year. I was really inspired by the Smart Passive Income blog where the kid made 0ver 200k in a year selling a book on how to take a test to earn your architectural certification. It’s all about marketing and networking. He did the whole thing for an initial investment of around 300 USD. It’s a major inspiration.

    The Internet is a wonderful place. The world is full of people who are looking for information. Even if you have a book that sells for 20 dollars, and you sell it to only 2,000 people out of the 6 BILLION people on this planet…you made $40,000 dollars. It’s an amazing way to make money, and while it’s not guaranteed, the beauty of e-books is that they take little/no time to write, and as long as you put out a few you can easily make enough money to cover your living expenses annually, even if you aren’t a major success.
    .-= T.W. Anderson´s last blog ..Knowledge is power =-.

  • Interesting! We sell an ebook at http://www.expandingcreations.com/ebook – I find a great thing about ebooks in general is marketing can be done relatively expensive – unless, of course, you count the time involved :0)

    Thanks for the post!

    • Anne

      yeah, I spend most of the day fixing the page here about how to buy an ad… sigh

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