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Metering (was Re: Bitpass Micropayments)

Micropayments has been in the too hard basket for way too long for the good of many once seductive business models, so I guess most of us have just stopped thinking too hard about it.

Maybe it's time to think outside the square, and maybe there isn't anywhere more suitable that the remnant Xanadu community to think once more about the question.

Seeing Ian's detailed criticism of Rich Pasco's mention Bitpass micropayments including such reasonable assertions as:

any pricing scheme with US$0.1 as the smallest creditable unit can not be classed as micropayments ...

True microscale charges (would have) US$ 0.0001... as the default payment unit, roughly (perhaps) the price of any word on a web page or equivalent.

Content payment negotiation is immediate, implicit and wholly hidden from the user.

I couldn't help but think that the utility companies have long had no problem dealing with a similar problem, but they call it metering rather than "micropayments" and everybody knows exactly what they mean, especially that accepting metering allows you to avoid conscious payment decisions but still allows you to control your costs if and when you need to.

Of course the utilities have more clout in their threat to withdraw service for nonpayment of an account than an individual website publisher could hope for, but a combination of tying metering to credit cards and the kind of payment processing consolidation services that are already commonplace could get us past that objection.

Apache::ModMeter anybody?

Tony Smith
Meme Media
0405 499 718
03 9807 0017