A Penny for Your Thoughts....

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I write a lot about free software and free content, but this obviously begs the question: where does the money come from? Companies like Red Hat have answered that pretty effectively in the case of software, but how content will be paid for remains somewhat less clear.

One idea that is proposed on a regular base is that of micropayments. These have singularly failed to take off over the last 15 years or so, but maybe that is a matter of implementation rather than any deep flaw with idea itself. That, presumably is the thinking behind 1p2U.com, whose idea is simple:

It lets your readers pay you to write your blog!

It's a little widget you put on your blog

It lets your readers become paying subscribers.

Subscribers pay you a penny for each article you write.

Here are some details from the FAQ:

Why would anyone pay me?

Your readers want to encourage you to write!
If you write, they pay. If you don't write, they don't pay.
If you write well they continue subscribing, if poorly, they stop.
Your readers are your new publisher, paying you for your writing.

How does it work?

You register your blog's RSS feed with 1p2U and put the widget on your blog.
1p2U monitors your feed and has a record of your 1p2U subscribers.
1p is due to you from each subscriber each time a new item appears in your feed.
Readers become your 1p2U subscribers by clicking on the 1p2U widget.

Where's my money?

Your subscribers can pay their dues whenever they want - if at all.
As soon as they do pay, you can start withdrawing your earnings.
Your other readers are unaffected and still read your blog without paying you a penny.
You are not charging people to read your words. You are letting people pay you to write them.

What's in it for 1p2U?

1p2U makes money the same way you do.
If you want to encourage the improvement of 1p2U you can subscribe to the 1p2U blog that publishes details of each improvement.
1p2U does not charge commission, does not insert 3rd party advertising, and does not spam or sell e-mail addresses.
1p2U is a project of Digital Productions and uses its Contingency Market web service.

The project is still in alpha, and the list of participating blogs is short. But the man behind the new project, Crosbie Fitch, writes an interesting blog on the subject of intellectual monopolies and related matters, so he's certainly someone who has given this matter much thought. The fact that he's based in the UK gives another reason for us to wish him and his project well.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.

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