Carpe Diem

Markets in everything Saturday

1. Body AdvertisingYoung Japanese Women Rent Out Their Bare Legs as Advertising Space.

2. Animal advertising: Farmer Uses Sheep as Living Billboards

3. Renting out your last name: Young Entrepreneur Auctions Off His Last Name for 2013 to the Highest Bidder.

4. Tattoo body advertising: An Alaska man sells advertising space in the form of permanent tattoos on his face and body, and a New Zealand woman auctioned off a portion of her buttock to be tattooed with whatever the winner desired.

5. Air space: New York Times article on the market for buying and selling “air space” in Manhattan, it’s a big, multi-million dollar business.  (HT: Dan Greller)

6. Paid subscription blog: In January, blogger Andrew Sullivan (1.2 million monthly readers) left the Daily Beast to start “a new experiment in web economics: no ads; no corporate owners; just readers paying for content they enjoy and value.”  A one-year subscription for unlimited access to “The Dish” costs $19.95, or “more if you really love us.” As Andrew explained in a post on January 27:

“For the first time in human history, a writer – or group of writers and editors – can instantly reach readers – even hundreds of thousands of readers across the planet – with no intermediary at all.

Hence the purest, simplest model for online journalism: you, us, and a meter. Period. No corporate ownership, no advertising demands, no pressure for pageviews … just a concept designed to make your reading experience as good as possible, and to lead us not into temptation.

The meter that will be counted every time you hit a “Read on” button to expand or contract a lengthy post. You’ll have a limited number of free read-ons a month, before we hit you up for $19.99. Everything else on the Dish will remain free.”

According to this report, Sullivan generated “six-figure revenue in the first six hours hours after he first made his announcement and put out his call for sign ups.”

Watch a recent New York Times interview with Andrew Sullivan here.

15 thoughts on “Markets in everything Saturday

  1. speaking of paying for content. How many others here pay for the WSJ or the NYT?

    I used to read both and was willing to pay for them – but not the price they’re asking. I’d pay 19.95 – a year – not a month.

    I wonder if we are moving to a world where a journalist gets paid for the number of “hits” on his/her article?

        • i also pay for the wsj.

          i think there is a serious gap opening up between for pay and free media.

          when you look at free papers (sfgate the online sf chron) etc, you tend to get uniform reporting with lots of stories snagged right from AP and and local fluff larded down with loads of badly written and thought out pieces.

          the wsj still has people you would recognize as an actual financial reporter who write their own stories and give you more than surface level depth.

          the london FT is similar in this respect.

          i find them both to be worth the money.

          the one that has really disappointed me is the economist. in the 90′s, that was a GREAT magazine and perhaps my favorite source for news. when they changed editors and went to the color format etc, it really fell apart. it’s now just one big op ed rag that has surrendered it’s roots in economics and now panders to populists and makes one sided arguments.

          they used to have a great formula for reporting.

          they would say:

          this is an issue.

          here’s what one side says about it, here’s what the people who disagree say, and perhaps in the last paragraph or two they would tell you what they thought.

          now they start with “we think” and never even cover the other side. they have gone from reporters to preachers. the lead articles are obnoxiously bad in this respect and the slant of the paper has strayed far, far from it’s roots and is dumbed WAY down. it used to be a paper you could take seriously. now it’s a joke.

          pretty much everyone i know has cancelled their subscription.

    • I’d pay for good DRM-free content. I seriously considered buying an online subscription to the WSJ, when they offered a year for $80 a couple years back, as it’s the only paper I read regularly. Not sure if they still go that low, now that Murdoch took over. I decided not to because I don’t want to support an existing newspaper, as they will all go bankrupt in the coming years, including the ones that are currently doing well, like The Economist and the WSJ. Why support a dying model on its way out?

      I bought Louis C.K’s online-only comedy special pretty soon after it came out then never watched it. I bought it mostly because I’d been torrenting his FX TV show Louie and wanted to pay him back for that. I recently bought this documentary, Indie Game: The Movie, I plan on actually watching this one. I don’t pay for much else, just some indie stuff here and there.

      Getting back to the Andrew Sullivan experiment, this is the future. You need micropayments for such efforts to really take off, so that readers don’t need to commit to a single blogger for a long time like a year, as they have to on his site, but such indie sites are going to put every existing media company out of business, from Disney to the FT. All you’ll need is a blog and a micropayments account and you’ll be able to build up an audience like Sullivan and actually get paid for it. This future will be so much better than the crap that the media has served up for decades that people will wonder why anybody ever lamented their death, as their apologists seem to be doing all the time now.

      • ” You need micropayments for such efforts to really take off, ”

        I tend to agree with one caveat. If we only read what we pay for and we only pay for the things that feed our own biases.. how do we hear perspectives that challenge our biases?

        • i think you may be wrong about that sprewell. the fact is that small websites and blogs have real limitations. they do have the resources to send a reporter to china or egypt. their guys do not get interviews with key policy makers and business/social leaders.

          they mostly start by regurgitating news from AP or some other outlet or just the press releases.

          this tends to homogenize them. if you scroll through 10 stories, they may add individual perspective, but generally all have the same quotes and “facts”.

          i think there is some value there, but it does not take the primary reporting agencies out of the picture at all. there is real value in actual investigative reporting, having a man on the scene, etc.

          i absolutely grant that many of the large media organizations are failing here as well, but some will thrive. the WSJ and the FT have been coming on strong and i suspect that this will only get easier for them. they will have less real competition and an easier time acquiring and retaining talent.

          i suspect that there is a lot of room for both. i also think micro payments are largely going to fail. at the bottom end where you are taking a wire story and regurgitating it and adding some commentary, there are way too many competitors. why pay for what others will show you for free? and if the particular blogger/author has enough insight to be worth paying for, you tend to read them consistently.

          this gets heavily impacted by theft through things like bit torrent as well.

          if you think that diseny and pixar are threatened by indie, then you are not looking at what it costs to make a major animation movie. this is WAY outside the reach of pretty much everyone, at least for the foreseeable future. animated movies cost $200 million. they actually have a far larger gap in terms of defensibility than regular movies.

          the movie that has gotten really easy to make is the simple drama/comedy, but this has been true since things like clerks.

          micropayments have been the coming thing since 1995 and, like cold fusion, will always be 10 years away. the system just does not really work. payments that low tend to cover content that has no barrier to entry and thus cannot command payment.

          the tech has been around forever. bitcoin is hardly new and aech BC is dived into 100 million subunits (which have some stupid name that escapes me at the moment). it’s p2p, secure as hell, and pretty much no one uses it except for folks on silkroad that are trading illegal drugs.

          my prediction is that 10 years from now, micropayments will still be 10 years away and that 10 years after that, still 10 years away etc.

          • larry-

            “I tend to agree with one caveat. If we only read what we pay for and we only pay for the things that feed our own biases.. how do we hear perspectives that challenge our biases?”

            what difference does paying make? we are already doing this. you seek out free content online that agrees with your preconceptions. i guess you could argue that you’d be less likely to read an opposing view if you had to pay for it, but that presupposes that anyone is reading them now. further, if you pay for somehting, you will be more likely to finish reading it as opposed to abandoning it as soon as you disagree and as we cannot always tell just what the argument will be before we start reading, this could work the other way as well.

            this is basic human nature. actively seeking out both sides of a story take deliberate discipline and few bother even with free content. it’s part of what makes blogs useful. the discussions here come from multiple viewpoints and if you engage with them, you have to engage with the ideas.

            in a sense, you outsource finding the other content to the other disputants and by engaging and debating their views, come to a more complete understanding or at least get a good does of how others are looking at it.

        • Larry, I basically agree with morganovich on the issue of only reading stuff that panders to your own biases, ie how is that any different than now or a hundred years ago? How is it any different subscribing to Fox News or The Blaze TV, Glenn Beck’s online video network, today than subscribing to the Nation a century ago? Very few people are like you, actively hanging out on a blog where you disagree with a majority of the posts and/or commenters. Some people seek out contrary views, others never have. Maybe you’re making a distinction regarding payment, as opposed to “free” broadcast news, but free stuff also requires an investment, time, one that many don’t put in. I agree with morganovich that debate in blog comments probably opens a lot more minds than almost anything else.

          morganovich, I think you’re right about free blogs, but dead wrong about paid blogs and micropayments. The reason all the free blogs regurgitate AP feeds with a little bit of commentary is because there’s no money in it right now, so that’s all they can afford to do. Once the micropayments spigot is turned on, bloggers will go to China and Egypt and their interviews will be so much better, you’ll wonder at the pablum you were reading before. Money is the key ingredient that the bloggers are currently missing and micropayments are the end-game there, with paid subscriptions as the first step in that direction.

          As for Disney and Pixar, you assume that people really want to see $200 million animated movies. I argue instead that those animated movies or any tentpole blockbuster, whether The Avengers or Finding Nemo, are particularly geared for the media climate of decades ago, when media choices were few and there were only a few ways to get word out. That is increasingly not the case anymore, with online distribution and marketing: look at the Louis CK special I linked to above, which made more than a million dollars online with no marketing budget, other than the time he spent appearing on some shows and podcasts to promote it.

          That is the future, and it’s getting here much faster than you think. When it gets here, the old broadcast model dies, whether Disney or ABC or ESPN. Saying micropayments have not succeeded so far is meaningless without an argument for why: plenty of great technologies have knocked around for decades till the right implementor put all the pieces together. Your notion of low price providing no barrier to entry is silly. According to that notion, nobody could sell gumballs or packs of gum or singles on iTunes because the price is too low. There is a natural price for goods and micropayments are the natural price for online content. That might have been a barrier 20 years ago, so you had to bundle disparate articles together into a magazine to charge $3 that would be worth paying. But that barrier has been gone for 20 years, so the only remaining barrier is stupidity, the sheer idiocy of those in the tech sector. When micropayments take off, you will finally realize this.

          As for Bitcoin, my impression is it’s doing pretty well. The price has gone from less than a dollar to $25 in the last two years, that’s far better than gold. ;) You’re right that Bitcoin could be used for micropayments, but the problem has never been currency or electronic payment for why micropayments hasn’t been done. It’s just that nobody has built a good micropayments frontend on top of the existing electronic payments system, at least one that got any traction. This is something that would be so simple to do and be in such great demand once built, that it is literally a home run waiting to happen. We’ve both made our predictions, let’s see who’s proven right. :)

          • sprewell-

            i think paid content will do fine. i just do not think it is going to be micropayments. there is no spigot to turn on. there is just a total lack of demand/interest. you could do it right now. all the infrastructure is there. but no one does. micropayment has been the coming thing for 15 years. every year it’s coming soon. yet it never goes anywhere.

            bitcoin has an appreciating currency. but that is not the same as gaining mass traction. it’s record month was $1 million in sales. most of it is used to do thinks like buy illegal drugs and for larger transactions that users wish to be untraceable. it’s also a bit of a speculative bubble. while i would not go so far as to call it a ponzi scheme, it shares many aspects. i’m going to be very interested to see if use can stay ahead of price. i think it’s a bubble and while i think it could go much higher in the near term, i think it is vulnerable to a severe crash as well.

            fwiw, bitcoin is designed for micropayments. it splits into 100 millionths. it would be trivially easy to use it for 5 cent purchases or fractional cent purchases. it’s p2p so there is no central firm to get annoyed with processing costs. it’s on the buyer and seller. the issue seems to be that people have some minimum threshold for purchase. spending a nickel on somehting is annoying.

            there’s also a real chicken and egg. people do not use micropayment currencies. so if you accept them, no one has them, but why would i get some until i have somewhere to spend it? generally, a block like this gets solved when a big firm/player jumps in. if firefox installed with a bitcoin wallet or if microsoft launched a micro currency and built it into explorer, you might get a critial mass, but they do not want to do it because in the case of a for profit like microsoft, there is no money in it. micropayments are too small to charge much to process and processing one costs as much as visa processing a $100 dinner. it also opens up vast liability. what if it gets hacked, cheated, or grabbed off your computer by some clever exploit? this is why guys like mozilla will not touch it with a ten foot pole.

            there is just not enough money in micropayemtns for anyone to really be the provider and there is too much risk. that is why it has been relegated to obscure p2p and mostly runs on linux.

            btw, if you have not read about silk road, you might want to check it out. i think you will find it interesting.

            http://www.gwern.net/Silk%20Road

            i certainly did. it’s a great example of the double edge of technology. tech like cell phones and e-mail allow unprecedented snooping (most of it warrant-less) by government, but it can also spread things like PKI and anonymous payment. frankly, i am astounded at how little encryption is used online. we could all be sending secure e-mail with great ease. if microsoft put elliptic curve pki into exchange, that would be that. the whole email system would go dark to corporate spies, thieves, and governments alike. yet no one seems to care. even big companies send valuable data out in the open. it totally baffles me, but there you are.

            i agree with you that the broadcast model is going to go the way of the brontosaurus. i do not even have cable. i just use netflix instant, amazon prime, and a stack of other services. the idea of channel is dead in that sense.

            i suspect we will see a lot more content disaggregation with the ability to sign up for specific columnists/shows etc. but that does not nesc lead to micropayments. rather than pay 10c a piece for access to peggy noonan, you just pay $3 a month or some such and get enticed with a freemium model. but you get discounts for multiple subscriptions etc and pretty soon, you are putting together your own newspaper though i do not think most people want to go through the trouble.

            i consume a ton of news. perhaps you do too. this makes us willing to invest a lot of time and effort into figuring out what to read. most people are the opposite. they want to read ONE paper and have it tell them what is important. they want to watch the evening news.

            guys like you and i may start from “what is important” and then seek news. many say “i want news to tell me what is important”. this is why the most vigorous consumers of news tend to misunderstand what is really being demanded.

            but if i buy an amazon ppv movie, it’s 4.99 in hd. that is enough money for someone to want to process it.

            that is going to be why i think payments will thrive and micropayments will never get off the ground. it comes down to why would i take the risk and go to the trouble of processing a transaction for you for a tenth of a cent. it just does not pay. it’s not that it’s impossible. it’s easy. it’s just unprofitable.

            i used to sit on a BOD with some of the pgp guys and some of the early open source folks. micropayments were all the rage in 1997 too. they have been the coming thing for ages. it is taken as gospel that they are a self evidently good idea. but they fail over and over as implementing them does not pay and i do not see a really good way to get around that.

            if i had a nickel for every time i have heard that “micropayments are about to take off” i could start a micropayments company myself without any investors.

            it’s not about having the tech. it’[s about anyone having an actual reason to implement it and the fact that consumers do not actually want it. services like rhapsody have played with this. they tried a micropayment “pay per song” test. they did not even require micropayment infrastructure, they just billed you at the end of the month. they discovered that people mostly paid less for music, used the service less, and hated it and wanted to go back to all you can eat. it was a total lose/lose.

            it’s just human nature.

            we can speak endlessly about the high minded ideas behind pay for use and people taking control and the benefits of disaggregation, but the fact is that most people do not want that and the group that does largely does not want to pay for it.

            humans hate feeling like they are being nickel and dimed. they dislike having to track their behavior that way.

            hey, i could be totally wrong. it certainly would not be the first time. but this particular song has been sung many, many times.

            disaggregation is real and will continue. but not down to a micro level. people don’t like it and there’s no money in it. one of those 2 failings is generally fatal. both means you are over before you start.

          • i guess perhaps a simpler way to put it is this:

            processing a transaction costs X. X includes the computer time, verification, bandwidth, risk of fraud, dispute resolution, amortized development, etc etc. let’s not get too hung up here, let’s just call it the all in risk adjusted cost.

            X is the minimum you can charge for any micropayment and not lose money, sort of a functional planck length for commerce.

            it’s easy to assume that X approaches zero, but this is not true. it’s not the PC time or bandwith that jacks it up. it’s fraud, tracking, security, and dispute resolution.

            on top of X, you have the price for content. if the price for content is N then the price to use it is X+N.

            the higher X goes, the harder it is to have really cheap content.

            X+N does not have to compete with just the value a consumer places on the content.

            it also has to compete with the rates a content provider can command from advertisers.

            financial news, for example, tends to have an attractive demographic of readers.

            CPM’s can range from $15 to over $100.

            $100 cpm is 10c per article per ad. there are often 2-4.

            even at at $15 cpm, you get about a nickel from 3 ads.

            under $15 cpm, you are getting into content with pretty poor readership and such inventory, if you are smart, tends to sell differently as price per action (click thru, rollover, etc) even complete crap inventory like facebook mobile can command $10 cpm.

            the bottom line is that selling anyhting for less than about a dime, you are going to do better with ads instead of micropayments as a near certainty. i suspect the real crossover number is considerably higher and more like 20-25c.

            this is what is killing micropayment content. it’s just a money loser and once you get up to 25c, you are not going to pay it for a signle story.

            this will keep individual a la carte payment confined to things with a higher value than one story.

            the failure of micropayments revolves around the p/l, not the technical issues.

          • morganovich, who is it that you think implemented micropayments in a credible way, but it didn’t work out anyway? Because all the prior attempts I’ve heard of or seen were horribly flawed. I’m sure nobody thought human flight would be possible, when they looked at the centuries of failed attempts that preceded the Wright brothers, that doesn’t mean they were right.

            As usual, your bitcoin info is out of date: it has been averaging more than $1 million in transactions per day for the last year, doing at least $1 million per month for a couple years now. Your point likely stands that much of that was speculative, at least until recently as more and more sites are starting to accept it as payment, but then most trading volume on the stock market is also speculative. What matters is that people want it and it seems to be getting more and more accepted. I’m skeptical about the medium-term potential of bitcoin- the last thing we need is yet another fiat currency- but it appears to be the guinea pig that proves the viability of new online currencies and that is an important role to play.

            “most of it is used to do thinks like buy illegal drugs and for larger transactions that users wish to be untraceable.”

            Not sure how you know this.

            I agree that bitcoin could end up crashing, but like I said, it’s not the real long-term answer and transitional technologies like bitcoin can end up being just as important in the long run, to bridge the gap to the real solutions. I wouldn’t say “bitcoin is designed for micropayments,” as divisibility is hardly a problem with any currency. Processing costs are not a problem for a micropayments frontend built on the existing Dollar Electronic Payments System (DEPS) either, it’s convertibility from the accumulated micropayments back to DEPS that raises the costs, as you run into the antiquated pricing structure of DEPS. However, that is easily solved, as I linked to before and others have noted.

            “the issue seems to be that people have some minimum threshold for purchase. spending a nickel on somehting is annoying.”

            This is the familiar mental transaction costs argument, an argument I find deeply stupid. Do you agonize over whether to turn your microwave on for 15 minutes or your light bulb on for a couple hours at night? Well, according to this silly argument, everybody sits there dumbfounded by these simple decisions, because they can’t stand deciding whether to spend 2-3 cents on each, not to mention the majority of people who don’t have an unlimited minutes plan on their cell phone. You are essentially arguing against all metered plans, an argument I find idiotic and that clearly ignores the empirical evidence.

            You’re right that it will take some critical mass to get people to use micropayments- they don’t have to be their own currencies though- but that threshold is fairly low and I think that won’t be a problem, because latent demand is fairly high, ie there are a lot of content creators and viewers online now who would love to use such a system. I disagree that you need a big firm to jump in; roll up a bunch of small creators and that’s enough.

            “in the case of a for profit like microsoft, there is no money in it. micropayments are too small to charge much to process and processing one costs as much as visa processing a $100 dinner. it also opens up vast liability. what if it gets hacked, cheated, or grabbed off your computer by some clever exploit?”

            Dead wrong, because Microsoft has had an internal micropayments system running for almost a decade now, Microsoft points, which is likely why their Xbox marketplace is generally considered to be the best. One point is worth about a cent, so it can certainly be used for micropayments. They’ve been hacked, they move on, just like any bank online nowadays. There will be more money in micropayments than practically every other content market, as micropayments will put all the others out of business. Not sure what your p2p and linux non sequiturs have to do with anything. I’ve heard of silk road, glad to hear it’s being done but don’t care about it too much, as I wouldn’t use it. I agree that encryption isn’t used enough, but that will be tightened up. HTTP 2.0 will likely be encrypted by default (scroll down to section 2.2).

            If you “agree… that the broadcast model is going to go the way of the brontosaurus,” I guess we agree on the general direction, but it’s a matter of degree. I think there will still be “discounts for multiple subscriptions etc,” subscriptions will just be a much smaller piece of the market.

            “you are putting together your own newspaper though i do not think most people want to go through the trouble.”

            You’re assuming that that will be necessary. Content selection will be a complex mix of your choices and choices others make for you, based on what they think you will like. How custom it gets will depend on how dirty you want to get your hands, but it will be customized for everyone, ie there will be no ONE broadcast anymore. You assume that such customization will always require a lot of work, it won’t.

            “micropayments were all the rage in 1997 too. they have been the coming thing for ages. it is taken as gospel that they are a self evidently good idea.”

            This is actually a point in my favor, as a lot of people did believe in them, unless you can point to worthwhile implementations that failed anyway. I contend the reason they all failed is because the implementors made serious mistakes.

            “if i had a nickel for every time i have heard that ‘micropayments are about to take off’ i could start a micropayments company myself without any investors.”

            One of these days, the chorus will be right.

            “it’s not about having the tech. it’[s about anyone having an actual reason to implement it and the fact that consumers do not actually want it. services like rhapsody have played with this. they tried a micropayment “pay per song” test. they did not even require micropayment infrastructure, they just billed you at the end of the month. they discovered that people mostly paid less for music, used the service less, and hated it and wanted to go back to all you can eat. it was a total lose/lose.”

            Not sure about that. Presumably the users employed the service less because it was costing them money. So clearly it led to bandwidth conservation and higher revenue per song played, both of which are good results. Clearly micropayments will take user education, just as you have to educate users on how to use the address bar in a web browser. But micropayments will lead to businesses that actually work, not ones where musicians are constantly complaining about how they don’t get paid squat and the music streaming companies are always on the verge of bankruptcy, as is the case today for the all-you-can-eat and ad-supported music streaming services.

            “it’s just human nature.

            we can speak endlessly about the high minded ideas behind pay for use and people taking control and the benefits of disaggregation, but the fact is that most people do not want that and the group that does largely does not want to pay for it.”

            These are just excuses for the stupidity of the techies: blame the users when you crank out a half-finished product. Make a micropayments service that’s actually easy to use and fairly priced and I guarantee it will be a hit. Time will tell who’s right about this.

            “humans hate feeling like they are being nickel and dimed. they dislike having to track their behavior that way.”

            Right, this is why nobody uses metered plans for electricity or water or cell phone minutes. They must all be using all-you-can-eat buffet plans, right? Funny how I’ve never heard of those.

            “hey, i could be totally wrong. it certainly would not be the first time. but this particular song has been sung many, many times.”

            You are totally wrong. The number of times something has been said has nothing to do with whether it’s right or wrong.

            “disaggregation is real and will continue. but not down to a micro level. people don’t like it and there’s no money in it. one of those 2 failings is generally fatal. both means you are over before you start.”

            Micro is the only level that makes any sense online. It will be so popular and make so much money that it will essentially destroy all other models, including ads. Advertising will be killed off by micropayments, only one of many businesses to be completely obsoleted.

  2. Regarding your other arguments, you will not do all of “fraud, tracking, security, and dispute resolution” for micropayments. Once the amounts get small enough, 1 cent or less, they will be irreversible and not open to dispute, unless many others flag the same content provider as a scam, ie no single transaction would ever trigger a review because the amounts are too small. Security is easy enough, we’re already doing hundreds of billions in ecommerce every year through the fairly insecure web architecture. I don’t see why micropayments would be tough to secure.

    “on top of X, you have the price for content. if the price for content is N then the price to use it is X+N.

    the higher X goes, the harder it is to have really cheap content.”

    X will be very low, about 5-10% of N.

    “CPM’s can range from $15 to over $100.

    $100 cpm is 10c per article per ad. there are often 2-4.

    even at at $15 cpm, you get about a nickel from 3 ads.

    under $15 cpm, you are getting into content with pretty poor readership and such inventory, if you are smart, tends to sell differently as price per action (click thru, rollover, etc) even complete crap inventory like facebook mobile can command $10 cpm.”

    Your CPM numbers are way off, average CPM last year was less than $3. Micropayments will monetize way better than that, that is one of the reasons why they will kill advertising. There is no way in hell that Facebook on mobile is getting $10 CPM on average, as mobile converts even lower. Also, even if some of the CPM numbers are better in particular niches, say financial news, I don’t believe that those readers click on those ads enough to be really worth that much, ie advertisers are probably overpaying for those ads right now.

    “the bottom line is that selling anyhting for less than about a dime, you are going to do better with ads instead of micropayments as a near certainty. i suspect the real crossover number is considerably higher and more like 20-25c.”

    The reality is exactly the opposite, micropayments beat ads at almost every level. It’s possible that the really poor will still have to resort to advertising, because they have a lot more time than money, but that’s about it.

    “the failure of micropayments revolves around the p/l, not the technical issues.”

    No, that’s what makes it so mind-blowing. The profits for micropayments are fantastic.

    Now that I’ve punctured all your silly reasons, let me give you the real reason: micropayments are cross-disciplinary. You need enough knowledge of economics to realize their value. You need to know enough about content and creators to attract enough material to seed your micropayments market with. You need to be techie enough to make it secure and extremely easy to use. It is hard enough to find people who are aware of one of these three or who would be able to understand them when explained, let alone capable of executing one. Nobody so far has been able to do all three, or micropayments would be here by now.

    It’s not that any of the three are individually that hard, it’s that it’s extremely rare to find someone who can wrap their head around all three. Micropayments is at the nexus of tech, economics, and content, a rare corner case, which is why it hasn’t been done yet and why it is so important. But precisely because each of the three isn’t that hard, it will be done one of these days and will start another tech boom: it’s that revolutionary.

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