A few weeks back I had posted about the Printed Blog and a then upcoming Chicago Journalism Town Hall meeting in February. Last week, the Chicago Reader’s Michael Minor reported on the outcome of the Town Hall calling particular attention to why he opposes the idea of newspapers shifting to a micropayment model:
We’ve been hearing a lot recently about the idea of putting editorial content behind a firewall and charging micropayments to breach it. Bad idea. No one likes to be nickeled and dimed. Pay even a penny to visit a site that turns out to be a waste of time and if you’re anything like me you’ll sulk for the rest of the day.
Wham-O. Minor makes a really solid point and goes on to talk about how he favors a new online payment model being presented by Kachingle.
How Does Kachingle Work?
Simply put, a user pays a monthly subscription fee for whatever amount you want. While browsing the Web, various news sites and blogs have badges or “medallions.” If you’re visiting a site where you value the content, you click on the badge…or not, your choice. At the end of the month, Kachingle divides up your subscription fee amongst the sites you visited (based on percentage of visits) and pays the site owners.
Whitney Rhodes at the Courier Post provides a very nice, thorough description of the process.
What’s the Motivation to Subscribe?
Whitney read my mind when I came across her blog post. Just as the band Radiohead did with their “In Rainbows” release and PASTE Magazine tried with a subscription special last year, the pay-as-you-please model has shown it can work. People like to feel a sense of pride in the music, magazines, news and cultural organizations they support. Kachingle plays right into that mentality by offering subscribers an opportunity to privately or publicly show how much they are contributing and to which sites.
What are your thoughts? Is Kachingle a viable model to help develop an online media payment structure?