Google to the rescue?

Yesterday I tweeted about Google’s offer to bring its checkout to enable micropayments for newspapers: “A cynical act, I’d say: a tool no one uses used to coopt foes on a useless quest.” In response, Charlie Williams tweeted, “How about savvy & low risk?” And I said that savvy and cynicism are by no means mutually exclusive.

  • Eric Gauvin

    My opinion and instinct is that the era of our excitement and infatuation with google as the means of locating everything in the vastness of an advertising-based internet is decreasing. And I hope new/better alternatives are inevitable. It is “savvy and low risk” for google to try this. I hope they are the great innovators you say they are. The internet needs to progress past search-and-advertise…

  • AnnB

    Personally, I was glad to hear this. I see no reason why micropayments — for some things — shouldn’t work. the internet has progressed a lot since the early days of awful forms and pay systems. I use Google AdWords and I find it a very easy system to use — just like iTunes. You give your credit card once and you’re done. Low cost impulse buying is easy. I would definitely pay for certain content and convenient ways to access it

  • The target audience does seem to be News International rather than the reading public. AdWords aside, which has quite a small and very interested audience, Google does not have a great range of products that require payment. Google Checkout is nowhere near as successful as the far inferior PayPal. I don’t see any evidence that Google would be able to get people to pay for things (instead of going to blogs or the BBC) any more than anyone else.

  • Why will micropayments not work? Chris Anderson (of FREE and WIRED) has the answer: (no direct quote, but it’s all in his book)

    Once something becomes software/digital, its price will inevitably gravitate to the floor. All efforts to hold up the price so it won’t hit the bottom, will be fruitless. Look at the music industry. They have jumped thru all the DRM hoops and it left them with a much smaller business. They’re in the business of promoting live shows now that cannot be reproduced with a marginal cost close to zero. There’s a huge difference in customer psychology between the price 1 cent and the price ZERO cents.

    It’s too bad that I might have paraphrased Anderson badly. But he’s so right, it sometimes hurts me as a former journalist.

  • It is surprising, just because is google who says it, now we think in micropayments by merely thinking in one of the many available payment methods.
    I think the reaction to google trying to sell his selling platform as a solution demonstrates to what point there is no idea on what to do.

  • steve

    heck, i wanted to point out that it’s rapidly approaching 2 months since steven brill was quoted as saying his journalismonline would be “announcing their first affiliates within the NEXT TWO WEEKS”…

    but as of now the entire screen there is blank.

    i’m totally stoked.

    • steve

      ooops, it’s back up.

      better still so you can read today’s nytimes piece on the various approaches.

      says alan mutter’s venture is now “dormant”. good!

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