The way online content creators currently make money is through ads. The value workflow goes like this:
Viewer Pays With Attention –> Attention Translates to Business –> Ad Company Pays Content Creator –> Business Pays Ad Company
First of all, this isn’t working anymore. The model is failing. But even if it weren’t there are all sorts of problems with the model. It’s imprecise. Page loads don’t necessarily equate to attention. It’s easy to trick. And there’s no way other than time on page to determine the level of interest.
Here’s a better model broken down into a few components:
- Everyone will maintain an allotment of funds that is set aside for value exchange. You determine the amount, but it’s generally a percentage of your income or whatever. A tiny percentage. Let’s say it’s $50/month.
- When you browse a piece of content, read an article, watch a short film, laugh at a video—whatever—your Digital Assistant (always-on, mobile AI) will monitor us for our reaction. They’ll be able to see our faces, to see what we do as a reaction (such as sharing), as well as other indicators.
- Based on that reaction, it will take a portion of that person’s value budget and transfer it to the content creator.
- As a means of controlling what you value the most, you’ll be able to set your value priorities. So if you are 16 and value laughs more than anything else, your massive laughter and sharing of funny videos will take the biggest portion of your budget. If you like sentimental things most, same thing. And for someone like me it’d be things that make me think differently about something. So if someone sends me a funny video that I bust up at I won’t pay much for it.
But either way, no matter what, that $50 is being distributed every month among the content that I looked at. And it’s being distributed according my genuine enjoyment of the content combined with what I care about most. The question is just who gets it.
We’re obviously quite a way from this, but a company called Flattr already has part of the puzzle.
There might be something in between that replaces ads, but this is where it’s ultimately going.