Writing this blog takes up my time and you appreciate reading it. Capitalism suggests I should charge for the pleasure of reading it. But I wouldn’t do such a thing. Not because I believe it is fundamentally wrong, but because it is impractical.
I might want to charge somewhere in the range of $0.001 per view. Not much. But the problem with this is that the cost to you of making that transaction is huge. It would take a long time for you to fill in all the credit card forms and you also run the risk of having your account hacked and lose lots of money. This basically makes it impossible for me to charge small amounts of money and still expect viewers. This is a huge problem for many products and services which would cost the user only a very small amount of money (e.g. viewing a video on youtube). What is the solution?
One idea I had is for there to be an algorithm to automatically determine if you would pay for the amount and if so, automatically make that payment. The idea is that people would rate how much they thought reading a web page was worth. There would then be an algorithm which uses this information to determine if the amount a website charges for a view is what that person would pay. So if 40 tech people rated a view of an Engadget article to be worth $0.01 and Engadget charged $0.005 to view it, people who used this algorithm would automatically be charged $0.005 since the algorithm determined it was worth that.
It could be more advanced than that and take into account how affluent people were. If you were three times as rich as the average people who rated the article, the algorithm would allow you to be automatically charged up to $0.03 This is somewhat simplified of how the math would work. It would essentially work as a recommendation engine but uses an additional piece of information regarding how much money each person had.
It would transform the web from a place of free websites to one in which all websites charged money. This web would not be fundamentally different. I will cite my post on Zero, in that a site that charges $1 is to a site that charges $0 is the same as a site that charges $2 to one that charges $1. There’s nothing special about 0.
Imagine if it cost you $100 to carry your wallet around. It would destroy the economy. So many stores would have to close. You could only leave your house with your wallet for big purchases like cars. Cheap products that you pick up on the go like fast would would be completely destroyed because no one would want to pay an additional fee of $100 for having their wallet to pay. That’s essentially what the web is like now. It’s so expensive to pay for things that the smaller products never see the light of day and it’s a real shame.