Do you create some form of digital content that you’re looking to monetize? There are all sorts of different content being produced, and there are different ways to get paid for this content.
I’ve been taking a good look at online payments lately, and a by-product of my actual research has been finding a few different ways to get paid for your content. See some of the more interesting options that I have found that go beyond the traditional “Buy” buttons.
Flattr feels a little bit like passing your hat around after putting on a show. For content publishers, it’s a simple matter of adding a button to your site, much like you add those “Share” buttons. For users, people set up a monthly budget which at the end of the month gets shared between everyone that you chose to “Flattr” during that period. So if you set up a monthly budget of US$5 for donations,and you then click on two Flattr buttons on different websites, your US$5 will get shared between the owners of these two websites.
Flattr does not interact with the content at all, so the intended use case is for public content where the authors want ot collect tips or donations. It’s a really nice concept, but I wonder how many people would set up monthly recurring payments for donations that they don’t even know where they’ll send to until they come across them.
Patreon is a really interesting system that, even though focused on musicians ond other artists, can serve a wide variety of people. It aims to provide a counterpoint for crowdfunding services such as Kickstarter which are focused on one-time funding for large projects. On Patreon users pledge to pay small amounts every time their supported content producer publishes new content. So say I produce songs, you can pledge to pay a dollar every time I release a new MP3. Backers are offered special benefits such as early access to files, up to one-on-one time with the artists they back, depending on how much money they’re willing to offer.
This is a really nice system to generate recurring revenue for those that constantly put out content rather than work on larger projects one at a time. It’s founded by Jack Conte, a very creative artist by himself who is also part of Pomplamoose, a duo that puts out great music and distributes ot throug online channels, so I suppose Patreon must have been built to solve their own problem.
Gumroad is a fresh take on the traditional payment gateway, focusing on the sale of digital goods. With Gumroad you can set up your own products, including uploading the files themselves, and you get a link that takes people directly to the checkout page for that item. Gumroad takes care of collecting payment and distributing your files, and you take care of marketing your product to your existing audience by sharing this single link. Perfect for e-books and similar downloadable content.
LaterPay is not publicly available yet, but it promises to be really interesting for content producers. It allows publishers to charge very small amounts of money for online content, as little as 5 cents, something which is not possible with traditional payment methods because the transaction costs are too high to allow this. With LaterPay though people don’t pay for their purchases immediately – rather, they are added to your “tab”, which you only pay off when it reaches at least 5 euro. So instead of having people pay to subscribe to a membership site to pay for content, you can have people pay very small amounts for each article that they are interested in, or for additional content to freely-available content. Though not available yet, their website promises a WordPress plugin which will supposedly handle the protection of your content until payment has been made.
LaterPay is not yet available to the public, so I can’t be sure exactly what it will look like when it launches. It’s based in Germany, and there is no information about where it will be available when it launches. But it’s certainly an interesting concept.
All in all, there are a lot of different options that will suit different objectives and different types of content. Take a good look to find the one that best fits your needs. Who knows, some day I will write an e-book and sell it using one of these…