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For Web content that you now provide for nothing
By those who use it ... in proportion to their use

     If you are a "content provider", you have probably been creating stuff on the Web for several years (I've been around since '95) ... paying for hosting, buying programs, using your time, effort and money in order to accomplish ... what?  What is it that you receive in return that makes it all worthwhile?

    Is it for the thrill of having lots of people come to your site? Hasn't been very thrilling has it? Is it for idealism? For free speech? For a hobby? Or ... do you create content in the distant hope that you might one day be paid something for it? Something ... as in "Money talks, bullshit walks".
    If you ever hope to receive cash for that effort ... without having a sponsor along for the ride ... without banner ads ... and never having to answer to anyone but your own conscience ... you are in the right place.
    The purpose here is to:
  • Broach the Subject of direct payment by the visitors to your site.
  • Investigate Methods of accomplishing that distant goal.
  • and finally, to Make it Happen
    This site solicits no money from you. I concede that it would require major funding in the future ... IF ... it were given any chance of implementation. But, if it were to become that advanced an idea, I suspect that other "big time" players would foot the bill. After all, they have the most to gain as we shall presently see.

Why should you get paid?

    Because everybody else gets paid for just about anything that they do which other people want and are willing to pay for. You can't just go into Kroger and walk out with your food, can you? You have to pay. Does anyone expect to walk into WalMart, pick up a pair of pants and some tools and walk out? You have to pay there too. Someone might say that "your site is junk and not worth paying for". Well ... they sell junk food too ... and people pay for it ... without complaining. And do not mistake this ... your content is food for the mind just as surely as Kroger has food for your belly. As thinking beings, we require mental food to survive. If you don't think so, you might make a study of the prisoners in the Gulag Archipelago or any form of solitary confinement.
    Why do businesses want money? This is hard ... No one does something for nothing. Everyone expects something for their efforts. Those who say otherwise are either lying or on their way to a protracted moral-ethical-economic suicide.
    If you, as a content provider, are never to be paid, your creativity and enthusiasm will dry up just as certainly as a business would from giving their stuff away for free. What the web employs to obviate this need is its seemingly never-ending supply of "suckers". First you, then, when you give up ... somebody else. Those who load your pages into their browsers for free are just that ... they are freeloaders. Aren't they starting to get a little heavy?

Who wants to pay to surf?

    Everybody! They just don't know it yet.
    The situation is comparable to taxation. You'd think that no one would vote for taxation if given the opportunity to opt out. However, if that happened, taxation would soon be voted back in again when the voters found that their garbage wasn't being picked up ... and ... the roads were not being repaired ... and ... all the schools were closed ... and ... an army of one million thugs was landing on Myrtle Beach to fill the void left by our army which disolved when it was not paid.
    Nobody labors for nothing and gets away with it. The minutes of your life slip away with no sense of accomplishment or value. A world full of such unpaid laborers would quickly fall apart. Thus, anyone who aspires to fairness in his dealings with others cannot ethically support a system wherein one guy on the end of the teeter-totter is continually held up by simple inertia on the other. To achieve a fair mechanism, there must be an equal give and take from both sides. We are not here dealing with enemies but rather with the "action of commerce" which, if properly functioning, benefits all.
    One of the biggest benefits that I can think of is that any individual could achieve social prominence and independence without owing anything to anyone ... Voltaire unleashed a hundred times over. Nothing to pay for but the most rudimentary setup ... then ... nothing at all when people flock to his site to gather in his opinions ... for cash ... which makes him independent of any opinion other than his own. First the Web gives him a voice, then, you give him an unfettered life with your pennies. Few would achieve this state ... but it would be possible and that would be the driving force raising the quality of the Web.

What is the mechanism for selling content?

    Here is the present proposal:

  • A visitor to a site pays 1 cent for 24 hours access to that site.
    A site is defined as the collection of pages under the same root domain name, e.g. anything on or past the third slash ... A derivative like or is considered the same site.
  • A visitor who clicks on a link which loads a second page from the same site in the same half hour must pay 1 cent and then has 24 hour access. Downloading a second page from the same site within a half hour constitutes the visitor's acceptance of the charge. Thus, if it was interesting enough to call up a second page, it's worth a penny. Note: A frame page is considered one page regardless of how many frames it loads because it requires only one "click" to obtain it, i.e. one visitor click equals one visitor decision.
  • The visitor is charged only on his second click. If no "payment" is made the object page of the second click is not fetched and the browser returns a "default page" provided by the money handling program giving information about the penny requirements and how to meet them. Nothing more can be gotten from that site for another half hour during which the "non-payment cookie" is in effect.
  • To be paid, a site owner must apply to, say, "CentWebCo" to be "authorized". That is, the site that wants to be paid agrees not to do any 'hacker crap' to cheat the visitor out of his penny ... or else ... the money handling company (CentWebCo) will cut them off (un-authorize them) on verifying a complaint.
  • An "Accepted Site" would agree to post an index.html (htm) page which described the site's content without intent to deceive ... and ... a "last updated" statement to inform the visitor if any new material has been added.
  • Another proposal would be to charge a penny for certain pages and nothing for others. They used to charge at Northern Light but I don't know how much or how they accomplished it ... probably credit card.
    I don't want to penalize anyone for calling up the wrong page ... or ... for checking out my site to see if it's been updated or if that's where he really wants to go. I only want the person who is interested in something on my site to give up value for value. If it's not worth a penny, why are you here? See?

    The Mechanics:

  • Cookies must be "enabled" ... you get 'em everywhere. When you go to a site your browser looks for a cookie on your computer from that site to see if you've been there. If not, your visit from one page selection to the next could be timed and if the next selection is from that same site (within a half hour) you are charged a penny. If not the same site ... no charge is made. Thus, you could download one page every half hour from the same site and get away ... scot free ... with ... a penny!
  • Money ... where do the pennies come from? You pay at WalMart, etc. as when you buy a phone card. In fact, you could use a phone card if CentWebCo cut a deal with Ma Bell, etc. Otherwise, there would be a special WebCard issued by CentWebCo that you'd buy which would be activated when you paid at the point of sale, e.g. WalMart. Then, when you go to a penny site, you are asked to "ante up" (by the CentWebCo software) and you give them the number on the card and your account is verified. Thereafter, a cookie on your computer tells other sites that you are legitimate and deducts pennies as necessary from your account.
  • When your card runs out, you buy another ... or ... deposit more dollars into it. WebCards could cost as much as you want to put in that account, i.e. whatever is convenient (min. $1). Thereafter, you could take it back to WalMart and pay them some more money and it would be added to that account when they swipe your card in their card reader. (WalMart actually has this in place but you can't use it on the Web except maybe at their site.)
  • You may use your account to purchase other stuff on the internet of course. They already do this on PayPal ... except at PayPal you need a bank account or a credit card. What I'm looking for is something anonymous and "small time" so that no more than a few dollars is at risk at any time.
  • You would also be able to put a cookie on another computer to use the same account from another computer. Thus, you must also have the option of deleting the cookie easily. Cookie deletion would require that you reenter the code the next time you surfed on that computer.
  • After entering your card code, the business is done in the background without requiring your attention. There should be then, a button in the browser by which you could check your balance ... and ... something on the site should indicate that it's a penny site.

How does CentWebCo make a profit?

    Because you are depositing money with them, they are a bank. And like a bank, they will have a huge pool of money that is the unused portion in your account. That money is invested in Mutual Funds, Municipal Bonds, etc. and the interest pays for the business expenses which should be minimal ...

  • Building Rental
  • Computers, Software and Equipment
  • A few dozen employees:
    Programmers, Tech Personal, Bosses, Secretaries and related costs
  • Payments to Point of Sale outlets (WalMart)
  • WebCard Manufacture and Distribution
  • Shareholder Dividends
  • Taxes
If 100 million surfers deposit $20 each with CentWebCo, that's $2 billion dollars right there. At just 5% interest earnings, that's about $100,000,000 gross for the year. Hell, I'm ready to go into business right now. Any venture capitalists out there?

How much will it cost the average surfer?

    An average surfer spends perhaps $23.95 per month at AOLephant, i.e. almost $300 per year ... pheww! And maybe another $500 on cable or satellite TV. So, you're spending something on the scale of $1000 per annum for information. This doesn't include the hardware ... the TV, the computer, the satellite dish. Ooops ... forgot the phone bill of about $420 per year and maybe another $400 for the cell phone, eh?. Wait a minute, since we're here considering purchased information and no physical object, we should also include going to movies and renting at Blockbuster since you end up with nothing but memories either way. And don't forget that high-speed connection either. So, maybe $3000 apiece ... that's quite a bit of cash and it's just the average person.
    We will be adding to that sum perhaps $40 per year for the average person. Consider that you have a few favored sites that you visit every day ... like Yahoo, or Google, etc. Going every day will cost you a maximum of $3.66 (if it's leap year). That's over seven bucks right there for starters. Where else would you go that would require you to download a second page? Count 'em up. Not many, eh? Even if you surf all night you might only spend a quarter because you don't get charged unless you download the second page. How often does that happen? For myself, some pages I check every day to see if they are updated. If not, I wouldn't be charged. On others I look at one page and leave ... again ... no charge. Looking for something on a Google search? Pay one cent to Google and nothing to the sites on the search list ... unless ... you download that second page from one of them.
    So, a quarter a day would be extravagant and even that would only cost about $90 per year ... or ... about $7.50 per month. Not much, is it? ... not compared to the big bill you are now paying anyway.

What's anyone's time worth anyway?

    If you make ten bucks an hour, you are giving away the minutes of your life for about 17 cents per minute or about four seconds in exchange for one penny. That's what we're talking about here ... pennies. You are willing to give up your time at the rate of 1-4 seconds per penny. If you read a long page on someone's site it might take you 10 minutes ... or ... 600 seconds. I'm only asking a penny for that. You see, a penny's not much compared to what you're giving your time away for, is it? If you worked today, you probably made about 10,000 pennies. Do you really want to claim that you just can't part with a couple of them in order to surf the Net with total abandon tonight?

When can this be implemented?

    Now, that's the rub.
    To implement, would require that perhaps one or two million web sites put the little logo (below) on their home pages. After that, it will take care of itself. Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come ... and a few million sites of the same mind would attract a great deal of attention ... sort of a "critical mass".
    I know this for certain ... and so do you ... no one is going to do this for you. If they were, it'd be done already. You must take some kind of personal action ... then wait ... as long as it takes for that critical mass to develop. Then, the thing will take off by itself ... because ... the scale of yearly penny transactions would be on the order of 10 billion dollars. That's too much economic possibility to ignore. The "freeloaders" will whine ... but they will pay because they will be given no choice other than to go only to ad supported sites (plain vanilla).
    It is not my intention to become a focal point in this. Rather, I don't see anyone else doing anything ... so ... batter up! The worst that can happen is failure (or perhaps too much success which could eat all my remaining bandwidth thus killing off my site early each month).

    If you are interested, post your ideas to my Forum. Though I would like to have a separate URL, I cannot (at this time) justify the expense ... because ... I don't get paid for my ideas.

Penny Web Initiative - The Key to Success:   Direct Payment for Your Content     Download this gif file and install it on your home page with a link back to here. Or, just insert the following code into your home page and it will fetch from my site. It only means that you fundamentally agree with getting paid directly and would like others to support it as well. No further commitment is presently asked for. Remember, I'm only asking you to act in your own self interest. You risk nothing in this venture ... and ... neither do I.

    Here's the code:

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Penny Web Initiative - The Key to Success: Direct Payment for Your Content" border="0" ></a>

Thank you for your attention and consideration.
- EBTX 11/03/03

Now, wasn't all that worth a penny?