Author Topic: what if... everything on the internet cost money?  (Read 5853 times)

Offline bn

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what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« on: December 19, 2012, 04:42:33 PM »
So. podcasting isn't making me rich.
i didn't expect it to.

but the internet is also making a lot of people not rich.

and that's making a lot of influential people mad.

so maybe things will change on the internet, so that it would be easier for content-providers to make money. so that free won't be the default.

don't get me wrong, i like free.
but the paradigm that things should cost money will only die off with the generation who is currently making the decisions. and they're going to make a lot of decisions before they die off... so.

listen. i'm hungry and tired so my words aren't coming out right.

but what if we payed a couple cents for every megabyte downloaded off the internet, and what if that money got sent to the owners of the websites that hosted the content? what if this was the standard?

i'm not in favour of this. I just don't know why no one is suggesting it. please shoot holes in the idea so that i'll understand.
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Offline ibbica

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 05:34:52 PM »
Best guess from me is that it's because the ISP's got there first.  They currently get to charge both the readers and content providers (in many cases, those are the same people anyway) as 'users' using their infrastructure.  From their perspective, they're charging as much as they can get out of users for 'net access.  If they've really managed to max out the available revenue from access fees, any change (e.g. an increase to pay content providers) will cut into their bottom line.  Can't have that  ::)

With pay-content-provider-to-read stuff, you'd often end up financially supporting really, er, crappy stuff.  It's hard to criticize something convincingly if you don't look at it first...  There are already some places where this sort of thing happens, as ad revenue online is typically based on "page hits" rather than, say, "happy consumers".  Now I do see 'click to donate' buttons as one way to allow consumers the option to financially support those sites that they want to encourage, but voluntary payment won't make many folks rich either.

Finally, some folks *have* managed to find a way to get paid for their content.  See all those pages that are just giant, tacky ads for "eBooks" on some subject or another for "ONLY $29.99!" or what have you.

Offline bn

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2012, 06:23:55 PM »
Indeed.
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Offline bobmath

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2012, 10:01:11 PM »
Also, it creates an incentive for websites to bloat up their pages. In the extreme, every page would have a little streaming animation on it to keep those megabytes flowing.

Offline bn

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2012, 04:40:48 AM »
you're right.
that would probably happen too.
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Offline Lynx Cat

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2012, 05:28:53 AM »
I think that, if we could come up with a fair charging mechanism (since others have pointed out problems with charging per hit or per byte), I'd actually be OK with it as long as the money went straight from the consumers to the producers, or the bulk of it anyway. As I see it, one big problem with media of all sorts is that too much stays with the middlemen. While you're technically supporting your favorite artist/writer/whatever when you spend money on them, for the most part it's not really them you're supporting but editors, producers, distributors and so on. While that makes some sense with physical media that need a certain logistical infrastructure to get out there (though the cut the "middlemen" take is way too big even in that case), in the online world of widely accessible publication, things should be more favorable to content producers. But yeah, since there's already an industry with a significant foothold on the online economy (i.e. ISPs), they're not likely to relinquish their control over the capital and revenues of the online world...
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Offline bobmath

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Offline Ed Lolington

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 04:43:56 PM »
Kompressor destroy mass media!

Nice. I'm pretty dumb and I haven't played PS2 yet but I bet it's great.

Offline Ed Lolington

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 04:50:31 PM »
I for one am not really bothered much by the current way things work. Ad revenue and choose-your-price purchases and donation based podcasts seem to be popular (and hopefully monetarily worthwhile for the people that make those things). I've always been a fan of being able to try something out in full before you pay for it. Personally I would rather pay the way of the free-riders for a product I know that I'll enjoy than being deceived into buying something that isn't all that great in the end.

Offline bn

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2012, 06:00:33 PM »
yeah... me too i guess.
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Offline stephako

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2013, 05:19:40 AM »
but what if we payed a couple cents for every megabyte downloaded off the internet, and what if that money got sent to the owners of the websites that hosted the content? what if this was the standard?

In Germany it kind of is. The internet providers (i.e. in the end the costumers) have to pay some fee to an agency that represents artists/contents creators. The money is then distributed to the artists registered with that company.
This is of course a massive problem, because it doesn't take into account what you are actually watching and I guess my money is used to support folk singers who haven't done any original work in the last couple of years.

Additionally the same agency is constantly suing youtube etc. for higher fees per watched video. In the mean time they are locking the videos of artists that are registered with them...
So just a version of how not to achieve this goal.


I've always been a fan of being able to try something out in full before you pay for it. Personally I would rather pay the way of the free-riders for a product I know that I'll enjoy than being deceived into buying something that isn't all that great in the end.

Yes me too
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Offline bn

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2013, 07:36:02 AM »
(and hopefully monetarily worthwhile for the people that make those things).

i've been thinking lately about journalists.
there are lots of people who get journalist degrees these days in canada,
but the state of reporting in this country is a fart.

the newspapers all got bought up by one company, and the radio stations by one company, and tv stations too.
I and then they ate each other.
and as a result... frivolous and trivial news. and an uninformed public.

I would imagine that most journalists would want to do more challenging world-changing journalism if they could, but there aren't any new news radio stations of tv stations or newspapers being built. none that aren't trying to emulate fox news, in any case. It's a pretty expensive undertaking, i'd imagine.

what about the internet though?

I would like to see a whole lot of senior journalists and kai nagata types jumping ship and working on independent media on the internet.

but i doubt they will, because you can't feed your kids and pay your mortgage off of internet money. :(

the old "donate to support my show" deal will only pay off if you have an audience of hundreds of thousands or millions.

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Offline AcesHigh291

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2013, 08:59:41 PM »
As far as podcasting goes, I see it as a way to engage your audience. Sure, it is engaging them indirectly, but it can help people feel apart of something larger.

About the monetization part, I don't think you can do anything part-time, be it articles, audio, or video, and expect it to pay in dividends. It is something that truly takes a full-time effort, and traffic. Sure, I think there is a better way than simple ad revenue, but the internet hasn't moved past that model.

Offline TimDobbs

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Re: what if... everything on the internet cost money?
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2013, 12:30:06 PM »
I'm sort of thinking outloud here, so bear with me. I've been thinking about this in terms of rail networks (which are my preferred analogy if a bee analogy is unavailable). So let's say:
  • The content creator > the owner of a good (let's say they're selling borax)
  • The user > someone who needs a good (Who doesn't need borax?)
  • The ISP and various other network owners > the railroad owners
I mean, it's a little more complicated than that, but basically you've got two people who want to trade and someone hoping to make a buck off providing the infrastructure to facilitate that trade. The difference is that on the internet we pay the owners of the infrastructure for unlimited access instead of to ship a specific thing. Regardless, it doesn't strike me as a problem that everybody pays the owners of networking infrastructure to carry their information we wouldn't ask anyone owning a a bunch of trains to ship a bunch of borax for free.

I wonder if it's a more basic concern about how much we value getting non-physical things. I have trouble convincing myself to pay for even podcasts that I love, I think because I don't get the immediate charge you get from getting something physical in your hands. So how do we make sure people who make podcasts/journalism/LOLcatz - things that are important but not physical - get paid for the hours it takes? This is the best I have, maybe some of you have better ideas:
  • Do it like traditional broadcast media and sell airtime to advertisers
  • Sell actual physical things in addition to the podcast (so I guess the podcast is kind of like an elaborate, enjoyable ad for the physical thing in this case)
  • Don't charge for letting someone download a copy of the work, charge for actually making the work - via something like Kickstarter - then let anyone have it for free once it's made.
I like the last best, I think, but it does involve a lot begging, and I'm not sure how well it would work for a journalistic outfit. Any thoughts? Seems like we're posting about once a month here, so I'll just be over there humming quietly to myself if you need me.