Bloggers looking to make some extra cash from their content may soon be able to charge a small amount (from 25 – 99 cents) for the kind of content their readers may well want to pay to read.
As with anything done by Google these days this is a development that has been quietly rolled out and it has more than one implication. First the micropayment is handled by Google Wallet allowing Google to now provide one more, compelling reason for a relatively reluctant online population to start using Google Wallet.
By increasing its uptake and getting a relatively large number of people to experiment with the ease of use of Google Wallet Google hopes to kickstart the mobile payments economy which will then link to its mobile ads and mobile coupon system. Then the entire Android ecosystem which has been carefully groomed for this will start to generate some serious cash.
Sound as this may all sound for Google’s online micropayment and Google Wallet marketing strategy there are other implications that also need to be taken into account:
- The Beta Mode Issue: The rollout is very much in Beta mode. This means it’s available, right now, for select, high-traffic websites and it will be rolled out to more as Google tests how it works.
- The Quality Content Question: Google is keen to promote Google Wallet and perhaps create an additional revenue stream for itself (currently its slice of the action is not publicized). To help protect readers who fork out their cents from being ripped-off with poor content and spoiling the experience Google offers an instant refund policy. It does stipulate that this is only good for thirty minutes and that it will keep a careful eye on those who claim instant refund for patterns of habitual abuse of the service.
- The Paid Content Conundrum: If you’ve read all this up to now and think that the time has come to turn some of your thousands of monthly visitors into cold, hard cash then you will need to stop and think just how you will do this. Paying for content that was available free before, even at prices as low as 25 cents, creates reader discontent which needs to be taken into account. Google hopes that this will turn into a win-win-win where webmasters produce great content and get paid for it, online readers are satisfied and Google Wallet gets wider adoption and use.
- The SEO Question: One of the reasons you blog is to create content which is discovered. With micropayments Google only indexes the free part of the content you are selling and provides a preview of the rest. This creates two issues. First, you will have to create content that is truly compelling and provide a sufficient amount of it free in order to achieve good search ranking. Second, there will be a loss of keywords and valuable content, now hiding behind Google’s micropayment wall. This will require extra, free content to be created to address the balance and perhaps, somewhere down the line this, handled badly, will eliminate the need for the paid comment or deprecate its value.
So, what happens next? Well, for a start you need to start thinking whether there is content on your website that is worth paying for or if you can realistically create some. Like any other business decision for the webmaster this is a loss/gain calculation. Work out what you stand to lose in terms of time, energy, site redesign, change in marketing, SEO and visitor goodwill and what you stand to gain in terms of cold, hard cash. Then make your decision.
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Google Micropayment System to Boost Google Wallet and Content Sites
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