Recently I’ve had discussions with several fellow bloggers about simplifying the way people can show their appreciation and give feedback for other peoples work. People rarely leave comments. If they like something, maybe they’ll come back, if they don't, most likely you’ll lose them for good.
Then there are the polls. A lot quicker and less personal, for the visitor’s convenience. And still possibly ignored by more than half your traffic.
Lastly we have our hopes set on the ‘donate’ button. But the happy reader, intent on gratifying your need to eat with their hard-earned cash, has to run a gauntlet of checks, fees and restrictions. How many of them give up before completing the transaction because they have second thoughts about giving up personal information? A fair few.
People are lazy. Myself included. If something is too complicated we’ll do the thing that’s easier, like nothing at all. But what if we had a uniform, global system of credits or tokens that could be used anonymously with a single click? And what if those tokens could be exchanged for cash directly to and from our bank accounts with very low fees and very few restrictions. I think we’d have a revolution of paid services on the Internet.
Here’s how I’d like it to work. Say I go to a site, like I did late last year, to get information on how to get the lid off my toilet. I get the info, and I’m ecstatic. The guy who sat down and wrote the ‘how-to’ deserves a reward. He’s possibly saved me from breaking my dunny in a fit of wrenching and screaming and kicking, and I want to thank him with a few cents. I click on his ‘Reward My Brilliance’ button, (or some such wording), and instantly donate a credit or two, and then I move on to ‘how to fit a supercharger to my engine’.
Before you start yelling "tight-arse" at my stingy gratuity, have a think about the traffic on your site. You might have a lot of advertising but is anyone clicking those adverts? I bet they aren't. Wouldn't you rather a much higher percentage of the people who visit your site deposit one or two cents directly into an account that you have complete control of? I bet you would.
Want to make it easier? Make a subscription to your site cost one cent. You could also implement the opportunity to contribute when downloading something from your site.
Surely no-body minds shelling out such a pittance to support the sites they find entertaining or informative. Even a kid, or a broke writer like me can find a few dollars a month, or less, to show several hundred someone’s that you give a shit about what they are doing.
If there is something out there I should know about, point me at it.
Please don’t mention the site that lets you Pay your Pal. They suck.