Man I love me some tootsie rolls.
Especially when I'm mouring.
Ain't nobody here but us turkeys [youtube.com]
Those of you who have been reading my little missives in this space over the last few years know my opinions on micropayment systems like Bitpass. On Friday, I received the following letter from Bitpass:
Dear Valued Bitpass Merchant,
We want to thank you for your past business, however due to circumstances beyond our control, we are discontinuing our operations.
We have partnered with Digital River to provide operational support during the period prior to shut down. As of today, January 19, 2007, all Bitpass Buyers with US dollar denominated accounts are being notified that they will have seven (7) days to spend any amounts that currently exist in their Bitpass Account.
During this seven day period, US Buyers will not be able to add additional funds into their account.
On January 26, all US Bitpass Buyer accounts will be closed and we will begin the process of refunding all unspent monies to the accountholder.
Bitpass Merchant Accounts will be available for viewing until February 28, 2007. At that time any funds that you have on account or owed to you will be refunded or paid. All account records and materials will be retained for 60 days and available upon request.
Again we would like to thank you for your business and support.
Chief Operating Officer
I'm sad that Bitpass was unable to make micropayments work. Despite my opinions regarding the feasibility of micropayments (and the lack thereof) and my gut feeling that this was a solution that had a lot of support from internet content creators but almost none from internet content consumers, I wanted Bitpass to succeed.
I'd be crazy to pass up a revenue stream that actually worked. If I thought I could get a penny a page from you people without impacting the size of my readerbase, I'd jump on it.
But Bitpass was hugely flawed, and I think we solidly demonstrated that here on this site. Even the critics of our experiment were eventually silenced. And no one since has produced any evidence that any webcomics creator was able to use Bitpass to create a sizable revenue stream (aside from Scott McCloud, whose audience consists in large part of folks who are interested in webcomics innovation).
Business is hard, folks. Starting a business is hard, creating and nurturing revenue streams is hard, creating working business models is near impossible. It takes more than just a wish and a blog post to create a new way of making money.
The first rule of creating a successful business is to give people what they want. Find a demand that is going unmet, and meet it. Or, alternatively, find a need that is being met and find a better way to meet it. Simply put, Bitpass failed to give end-users what they wanted, while free content has done exactly that. Free content beats paid content like paper beats rock.
Will someone eventually figure out how to make micropayments work? Maybe. But the hurdles are substantial, and cartoonists are not going to be the ones to jump them (unless there are some amazing economist/cartoonist hybrids out there that I am unaware of).
If you want to make money with your comics on the internet, don't look to the bright, shiny future. Don't aim high. Don't put your faith in imagination and technology and progress.
Instead, look at what works in the real world. Get your hands dirty a bit. Learn what you can from successful businesses. Take the good bits, shine them up, improve on them and make them work for you.
Rest in peace, Bitpass. You were too good for this world.
|16% (117)||1/10 of a lapdance|
|2% (19)||3 pages of a novel|
|3% (25)||.5 tootsie rolls|
|2% (20)||Lots and lots of interweb comics|
|73% (510)||I never got a Bitpass account|
Okay, I'll bite. How does one mour?
Hm. As sad as it is, I *did* get a BitPass account, however thanks to me having $1.95 on my PayPal account, I just chose the "automatically charge on my PayPal acct" so I never had any balance in that account.
So no 1/10th of a lapdance for me...
Zamphir's custom "I say it you type it" headset caught him mumbling "mourning" as he was enjoying the Tootsie Roll.
I assumed he'd simply misspelled mooring.