Experimenting with web monetization

Published: December 16, 2020   |   Read time:

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If you’ve set up monetization in your browser, you should be able to see this, now.

Web monetization is a way to send money for certain web pages. It is a developing standard that isn’t tied to one particular company. The standard lets you, as a user, hook it up to a bank or credit card, and pay small amounts of money (fractions of a cent) for accessing certain content. It also lets you, as a creator of content on the internet, receive small amounts of money from viewers of said content. The explainer linked above actually gives a good description of how it works, what the goals of the protocol are, etc.

If you set everything up correctly, when someone visits your monetized page, you should see some income in your digital wallet.

A small trial of web monetization showing a small amount of income -100%

If you’re looking to implement it on your website, take a look at this quickstart guide. If you’re looking to set up a wallet so that you can support the creators of content you enjoy by contributing directly to them, passively, just by enjoying their content, check out this explainer.

Organizations are starting to buy in to this standard, too. write.as is a blog-hosting service that announced today that they are enabling web monetization for their service. I’m happy to see new ideas enter this space before the non-rivalrous nature of digital content upends entire industries.

I know very little about international banking, cryptocurrencies, and financial transactions over the internet, so take my opinion with a big grain of salt. But moving away from centralized organizations that control the flow of money between individuals, like Patreon and PayPal, sounds good to me. Open standards that help all people better experience the internet seems like a good way to achieve this.