Free online content has transformed traditional media. Content creators have struggled for years to monetize their online work. There is an expectation that reading on the internet should be free, and many big attempts at creating paywalls for content have failed miserably, even by some the biggest brands that have tried it.
Around the world there are countless strained budgets for publications that are competing with free online content, often their own. The transition to online media from print publications has been a tough one for most publishers, and many think that the trend is on an unsustainable path because paid print versions will eventually not be able to support the manpower behind online sources.
Think about your own actions. Is there a news source or other online publication that you actually pay to read? We’ve all seen them from time to time, but what do you tend to do when you hit a traditional paywall? I tend to hit the back button as fast as possible — even though I like to think I support good content creators getting paid for their efforts. Yep, I’m a hypocrite. The big upfront investment for accessing content is simply too scary.
The most popular method for content creators to make money online is by way of advertisements. Some sites are sneaky about their ads, and others are upfront that they need you to click to help pay the bills. But click rates for ads tend to be miserable, and the ads themselves are often a nuisance to the reader. Ad revenue is typically just not enough in the end to support the production of quality online content.
Many online publications offer products for sale in addition to their content, but have to walk a tight rope not to annoy the reader with offers. This method can be very successful, but it just doesn’t work for everybody — even when the content is good and the offer is creative.
Cleeng is a revolutionary new way for online publications to monetize their content. Instead of expensive subscription plans, Cleeng collects micro-payments for specific content on your site. Gilles Domartini had this to say when we contacted them:
Our patented solution brings innovation to content monetization by allowing to generate incremental revenues along side advertising and subscriptions.
Cleeng lets content publishers collect micro-payments easily while letting consumers buy individual pieces of content with a one-click, pay-as-you-go solution. It works with any web-enabled device and for practically any kind of online content.
And they’ve got a free WordPress plugin available now for Beta users. Cleeng has patented their system, and are very excited about its potential to revolutionize making money online.
They are ready to take your questions too, which I’m sure you have. For starters, you can find out who’s behind Cleeng and how Cleeng affects SEO. They’ve got a huge list of FAQs, but I’ll share some of the most interesting:
How does Cleeng work exactly?
During publishing process, content publishers hide any part of a web page (text, images, video) between 2 tags. They then set a price for the hidden part of the page (0.15$ to 0.99$). Once published, the page is displayed normally. The monetized content is hidden behind a Cleeng layer. By clicking on the layer, a Cleeng user can buy the content in 1 click. Purchased content is revealed immediately.
What is the royalty structure?
The content creator keeps up to 75 % of the revenues generated, one of the most attractive of the industry considering our positioning below 99cts! We will deal with payment and user account management and we will secure the protection of the content to be released until the payment is confirmed.
How do I pay for content?
You only have to sign up once with Cleeng and credit your account using usual payment methods like Visa, Mastercard, Google checkout or PayPal. Once you have credited your account you are able to have instant access to quality content on multiple sites and devices!
You can also view their company presentation.
As far as implementation and merging from Beta, Domartini shared a bit with us:
We are in touch with leading publishers in France (Les Echos, Le Monde,…) and in the US (Gannet, Glam, CBS…), yet we are more focusing on engaging with the developer communities and prepare for a coordinated public launch in the next 2-3 months.
Is Cleeng the future?
So what do you think? Does this idea have merit? What do you see as limitations, potential issues, or drawbacks? Could this be the future of monetizing the web, all the way down to small blogs?
Personally, I think the hardest thing would be to convince readers to actually create a Cleeng account. If there was a way to integrate a Cleeng user account with WordPress, OpenID, PayPay, Facebook, Google, or all of the above? Then they might really be on to something.
Enough of what I think, I want to know what you’ve got to say!