Would you pay to access this article? Google is hoping you will be. They have just launched “Google Wallet for Web Content”, an experiment designed to help content creators “bring more high quality content to the web.”
This new feature by Google sounds very similar to the type of “subscriptions” that newspapers and magazines have begun offering readers in order to access their news articles digitally. For Google, the key difference is micropayments. Instead of asking a reader to fork out $35 for unlimited digital access to an entire newspaper, Google wants to sell articles individually for $.25 to $.99. It’s effectively iTunes for content instead of music. A song for $.99 is an impulse buy, a $9.99 album not so much. The difference is we listen to songs over and over again. How many articles would you read more than once?
Oxford University Press, Peachpit and DK have already joined Google’s program with the hope to monetize their web content that users find in search results. Google knows there is more content that creators could bring to the web if they had an effective way to monetize them.
Here’s a rundown of the main features of the program:
- Buy web pages individually. Your users can buy exactly what they want, with typical prices ranging from 25¢ to 99¢.
- Instant Refund if they don’t like the content. Help users feel comfortable buying your web content by offering them an “Instant Refund” within 30 minutes if they aren’t happy with it. There are checks in place to prevent excessive refunding.
- Long preview content. Provide free preview content to give users a feel for what the rest of the content will be like. Search engines rank articles based on the free preview content (not the paid content), so you should make the preview reasonably long in order to rank well.
- Rich obfuscated content. Let your users know what they can buy, by showing them a rich obfuscated version of the rest of the page.
- Single secure payment method. Let users buy web content using the same Google Wallet account they already use to pay for content across all Google properties.
- Provide perpetual access. Once your users buy content, they own it forever. Google provides an archive service help you provide perpetual access, even if your web site ceases to exist.
- Compatible with ads. By running ads alongside the preview content, you can get an ad impression even if a user doesn’t buy the content.
Here’s how the article will look, with payment options at the bottom: