Microviability:
Unique micropayments content needs to be…

1) items that can’t be (easily) found elsewhere on the web (so pay-to-view news is out unless you are a very specialist niche reporter).

2) made by content-producers who don’t have to face down their peers shouting “everything must be free, man!” (so Mods-for-games are out).

3) have a small enough cost to justify using micropayments rather than PayPal. Yet also have a high enough cool-value factor to make the buyer want that item and no other, and be willing to put up with the momentary hassle of deciding to pay.

4) be content which is correctly “parcelled”: i.e.; buyers don’t want to keep paying 2 cents as they read each page of a web-comic, they want something that approximates a real world item. They want a full 24-page ‘story episode’ after they pay their 50 cents. At the same time, the file-size shouldn’t be huge enough to send your site’s bandwidth use soaring and thus negate your BitPass income.

5) be content that can be chopped up to offer a coherent “free sample” of the full content.

6) have a piracy-inhibiting “it’s too small/time-sensitive to bother pirating” factor, or an “I admire this cool artist” factor.

Current BitPass beta selling categories are…

  • Online Comic strips and comic-books

  • Music MP3’s & net-radio streams

  • Sports forecasts & tips

  • Stories & novels

  • Desktop wallpaper

  • Landscapes VR panorama files

  • Slides and audio from conference speeches

  • Stock video footage

  • Online self-learning courses

    Going by the precepts above, we might add….

  • Useful/specialist new fonts

  • Quality new plugins / components for Flash, Dreamweaver, Photoshop , Poser

  • Good web site templates

  • Interviews with celebrities

  • Artists’ PDF magazines

  • Access to new ringtones for mobile phones

  • Personalised daily exact-birthdate horoscopes?

  • Personalised pre-filtered guide to the week’s proliferation of tv & radio channels?

  • E-books (.lit and .pdf)

  • Palm software

  • Access to a web form to send a reply to a ‘classified ad’ (dating services)

    A future BitPass could also benefit from some kind of real-world metaphor. Maybe something which evokes the old sixpence shops (‘dime stores’ in the US) like the early Woolworths. Quality, cost & magic brought together in one place, a store where you can “treat” yourself, feel good that you’re supporting starving artists, and everything costs far less than a dollar. And where you can just go in and enjoy browsing for free, get some free samples and leave having purchased nothing – having taken part in a unique online experiment in cultural exchange, human-nature, and artist-friendly capitalism.