Do you remember micropayments? Well, if you ever listened to Scott McCloud in the 90s you do. Micropayments were the idea that you could make a few cents every time someone read y our webcomic, or blog or whatever. Bitpass ws a company that was set up to enable micropayments — now it has gone out of business, and T Campbell has some commentary.
The word “micropayments” literally means “small payments,” but the micropayments concept is that those small payments will come from many hands to make up a significant total. Finance charges made small payments difficult in the early days of the Web, but companies like Bitpass have made them much more feasible. Attracting the many hands has proven a tougher problem.
Micropayments have been a much-discussed commercial option for online cartoonists. Bitpass in particular became a rallying point, thanks largely to its endorsement by the influential Scott McCloud, who had already become one of micropayments’ most prominent enthusiasts after the publication of his Reinventing Comics (excerpted here). Bitpass’ own site lists numerous cartoonists as clients today.
However, its comics client list has changed little since June 2004. More significantly, Bitpass’ most commercially successful clients besides McCloud himself, R. Stevens and Jonathan Rosenberg, soon abandoned the model. McCloud’s own reported sales of his Bitpass-enabled, 25-cent comic were less than impressive, too [scroll to final item]. In more recent interviews, McCloud has been more guarded about micropayments and Bitpass.
More in the link.