By Steve Outing
Something I’ve been tracking for months now is the wave of new solutions for getting people to pay for online content, either through voluntary donations or mandatory payments. Some are in beta now; others due in the coming months.
Currently, I have a Payyattention donation box at the end of my blog items, and I’ve been playing with early versions of SprinklePenny and BeneVote (though they’ve been removed temporarily due to some bugginess). I’m anxiously awaiting putting a Kachingle medallion on this blog to be part of that voluntary payment network, and will certainly try out others as they go live.
And, of course, there are plenty of options for paying for content where money is a requirement, not a request: Paypal, credit cards, and upcoming solutions such as those from Journalism Online. (The latter also says it will offer donation options as well as various means for required payments and subscriptions.)
As author of this blog, I’d love to have lots of options for readers to send a few cents (or dollars!) my way if they like my writing or find value in it. But this blog could easily get overwhelmed with donation graphics from all the different services!
The concept here should be pretty obvious from the screen shots above. How I might use it to collect contributions on my blog is to have a PayCheckr icon or (ideally) something that says, “Please support this blog,” with a mouseover action expanding to what you see in the top image above — but in my case it would be populated with voluntary donation options — and place it at the end of my blog entries.
For paid content, a site or blog might use PayCheckr to aggregate all the forced-pay options that an online user could use to pay for content access.
You could also get creative. Perhaps you let Kachingle paying network members get access to a special piece of content or area of your site, but non-Kachinglers would have to choose another option, such as paying for a subscription or via a micropayment service.
Also, PayCheckr might aggregate all or most of the options; you still might choose to highlight some options outside of the PayCheckr widget.
Anyway, I’ve been looking for someone to come up with something like this, and PayCheckr founder Allan Hoving appears to be the first. Somehow he evaded my radar, since minOnline gave the fledgling service a write-up in late July.