In TBTF for 1997-06-23 I asked readers
to react to the idea of paying, in some fashion, for access to TBTF material
on the Web. Twenty-six readers responded to this informal survey on
micropayments. Here are summarized extracts from all of the responses.
Follow the "details" link for each reader's entire response.
I am in favor of pay-as-you-go schemes, provided that the charges
are commensurate with the cost of providing the service. I almost
never visit the web site, since I prefer the news to arrive in my
mailbox without me having to go hunt for it. But, I could easily see
paying an e-mail subscription on the order of $2.50 or so per year.
Paying a 10th of a cent wouldn't bug me, however, the service that
you offer is too convenient. I'd be much more interested in paying a
10th of a cent for the email version rather than the web site. While
I would prefer a totally free resource such as this (and thank God
you are keeping the mail version free) I rarely have a problem
paying a low price for a good service.
I've never touched the TBTF Web Site, so I wouldn't do it either
when Millicent comes. Or maybe I would just to demonstrate that I
support micropayments. I'm not thinking of the hundreds of sources
of information that are now free and will become pay-per-view once
micropayments are available. I'm thinking of the thousands of
sources of information that will become available only because of
The real cost of trying the millicent system for your newsletter is
not the small cent amounts you are discussing, but the overhead of
setting up the payment system and (for me) the research to figure
out if I think it is secure. For the service you provide, I already
spend much more than a few cents: I spend precious time reading it,
and it is worth it for the tasty bits I find mixed in with the
Heck, yes, I would pay a nickel for it. In fact, I'd pay a lot more
than that. I learn a lot more about the Web from TBTF than I learn
from the several newpapers I read everyday and the several technical
journals I read every week. These newspapers and journals together
cost at least $20 per week. I have been amazed, but happy, that you
are not already charging for your excellent work in providing TBTF.
I would not pay a cent. Why? I would not pay a cent because someone
else somewhere out there will probably do the same thing that your
doing for free... I have no idea why I'd refuse to really pay for
something like your TBTF, but I'd refuse. ... The reason I read TBTF
is that it is NOT COMMERCIAL, it's sorta real.
I can imagine paying micro-amounts for browsing information that
might be of value to me... [with] two pre-conditions: the dimin-
ution of so much "free" stuff; and the prior creation of value in my
mind for the product. Unfortunately, in an expanding universe like
the web, the second condition fights against the first.
People object to being "nickeled and dimed" or knowing that "the
meter is running" to the extent that they're willing to pay for the
privilege of not paying per use (i.e., will pay more for unlimited
access). As to the TBTF web site, I don't use it much, so your
immediate proposal has no effect on me.
With a slow net connection, I prefer the e-mail format regardless of
cost. [If cable modems ever became available here, which they won't]
I would be happy to be debited fractions of, or ever whole, pennies
in exchange for tasty bits. That there are very few sites I would
say this about. I'm surely one of the many people who will reflexively
proscribe their own net activities in response to
I'm a happy Italian reader of that marvel of the Net which is TBTF.
I'd hate to have to pay it for... I mean, you have spoiled us
writing it for free for some time now. I've found that the best
things [on the Net] are free. If you stay away from the tendency to
"do something to earn something", you'll probably end up with a "no
compromise/love me or hate me" product which is more likely to be
genuine, free from external pressures and loved by who uses it. ...
The only answer I can give is: if you need to (or if you feel like
to), or if it's the only way to keep TBTF alive, then let's pay for
I noticed your posting in TBTF, and thought I should also offer you
a payment method that is perfect for the type of service you are
offering. The payment service is Ecash (from DigiCash)...
[ My request for followup information went unanswered. -- kad ]
I never use the web site. I don't like to have to check in; I like
to be told when something's new. When they get micropayments for
email, given the quality of TBTF, I'd probably be willing to pay a
penny a week for it.
TBTF is the only publication that keeps me on edge of what is really
happening in the industry, with clear and unbiased information. The
effort you set forward for newsletter is greatly appreciated by not
only myself, but also many of my colleagues within the industry.
However if the newsletter was only available via pay per view, I
would stop reading it immediately. This is not a monetary factor,
the concept of paying for every word I read is bothersome. I come
from the old school: information wants to be free. Thank you for
the effort into the magazine. Please keep it free.
I think you can make a fair amount of money charging a penny a link
taken. I would make no noise about this. A penny for [the original
message] or a dollar a year; no problem. I look forward to the time
when people realize the "power of the penny." If a whole lot of
people give you a penny, you will be able to go to the movies a