Exception Magazine Launches News Industry's First Mobile Micropayment System
News content does not "want to be free," despite what many of the new media pundits say. Content is not some metaphysical entity with desires of its own. It is the readers of news who want free content and they are accustomed to finding it for free on the web.
We'd be fine with giving away our content if advertising dollars matched our traffic levels. However, with so many sites open to advertising, rates paid to publishers will continue to plummet. We could try to keep up with shrinking ad rates by inflating our traffic figures with "link bait" about Sarah Palin and Lindsay Lohan.
Or we can try a different approach: quality content that's so unique and relevant that people will pay for it. There are people out there who will pay for good content. Many readers already pay to access sites like the Wall Street Journal. It makes perfect business sense for us to only cater to customers who will actually pay for our news service from this point forward.
One of the biggest barriers to collecting payments online, assuming the Exception's content is of the highest quality (and admittedly, we need to continue improving the quality of our news service), is the hassle of most payment systems we've seen. No one wants to take the time to fill out a credit card form just to make a small web transaction or remember a unique login and password for each news site.
Our new mobile payment system should address these issues. It allows our readers to access 100% of our content by making a single 99-cent payment with their cell phones (that's the same cost as casting a text message "vote" on American Idol!). Visitors enter their phone number into the form on our site which appears under any story. A text message is then sent to their cell phones with an access code. Upon entering this code onto the form on our site, the payment is complete and the paywall disappears. The payments are added to the cell phone bills of each reader.
Will enough readers pay to access the Exception when there are so many free news options out there? It's time to find out. Thanks again for your support!
-R. Stefan Deeran
Editor & Publisher of the ExceptionShareThis