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Micropayments

Some weird piece I was just reading was lamenting the absence of micropayments on the web. I am so not interested in giving or receiving micropayments. I'm an open source guy who writes code and gives it away, and I'm perfectly happy with that. Three problems with micropayments… (1) Micropayments are never actually "micro". It's always 25 cents to read your webpage. Call me when it hits 0.01 cent. Then I can read 10K pages for a dollar. Which is honestly about right.

(2) Money is involved in micropayments, micro or no. So the whole legal and financial system is brought in. The only way you're going to get or make micropayments is going to involve some kind of payment system. Even if it's cheap, there will be financial regulations and bookkeeping. Bleah.

(3) There is no reasonable way to "micro-shop". The market for micropay content is grossly tilted in favor of sellers, because there's no reasonable way in most cases for the buyer to evaluate the quality of the product without paying. The fact that these payments are (maybe) "micro" doesn't matter: the buyer still gets to make a lot of really uninformed small decisions that can add up to badly-spent real money. Until there are "micro-reviews" and standards for "micro-labeling" and a "micro-FTC" and laws dealing with "micro-fraud", the consumer is just left out to dry.

So yeah. I'm not going to make you pay to read my blog. Even if there's good stuff here, and even if it were easy to do. Please do me the favor of doing likewise. Fob