Dear Medium, You Should Implement Voluntary Integrated Payments With a Prepaid Option
The Pirate Bay is infamous for defying traditional expectations about intellectual property and publishing. Regardless of how you feel about the pirate bay, there is no doubt that it has impacted commercial publishing.
There’s a long list of media platforms that have transformed our culture of publishing and consuming content. This includes sites like YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, blogger, and Medium itself. These platforms have challenged traditional expectations about media and publishing.
People want to see creative solutions to the challenge of commercial publishing in the digital age. We need solutions besides advertising.
One of the Pirate Bay Founders has cofounded a micropayment service called flattr. Medium would do well to pay attention.
Users of Flattr commit to paying a fixed amount each month, and then they use the flattr button to “like” creative content or other projects. The monthly amount is then divided equally between all their “likes”.
The problem with flattr, in my opinion, is that it involves a fixed subscription, so you pay the same amount, regardless of how much content you consume.
I would like to see medium implement a similar system, but where users choose the amount they donate to a publisher or author for each action. For example, reading a post would automatically donate 1 cent, and writing a post would automatically donate 5 cents.
Users could set a maximum amount they spend each month, such as $5.00. At the end of the month, the reward for each action is adjusted to never exceed the maximum.
It is also essential that this system includes a prepaid option to fund user accounts. Many users like myself do not like an automatic recurring charge to a bank account or credit card. If medium allows us to fund a prepaid account, and bills that account, that would be preferable.
Medium has dedicated and loyal users who are committed to see its creative social experiment succeed. If medium offers a way of supporting the site and creators, that seamlessly integrates with use and lets users choose their level of spending, I think we can build a culture where users participate in financially supporting the site and content creators.