Cleeng WordPress plugin collects micro-payments from your blog visitors

16 Comments

pay for content with Cleeng

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.

Enter Cleeng.


Make money online with Cleeng
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!

16 thoughts on “Cleeng WordPress plugin collects micro-payments from your blog visitors

  1. Haha.. Read about Cleeng a few days back and we have a WordPress plugin already.
    I think Cleeng needs a massive adoption before it can be used by small publishers. Big publishers gotta make the move so that users can join Cleeng and things start rolling.
    Lets see how it turns up in 2011.

  2. This is like membership sites except with a larger scale of users. There are many downsides to it… I prefer to use WP and custom membership platforms to do this because it empowers us and give us full control.

    • I agree with you, Syed. It’s nice to see 3rd party services use plugins to integrate with WordPress (although obviously their goals lie beyond WordPress site) to make things a bit easier for people. But in the end, taking the time to bake up your own solution is probably the best idea.

    • Thanks for chiming in Syed. You don’t think it’s different in that the user only pays for pages / posts they want to see? The content provider can customize which aspects are paid / not paid. A membership platform would make sections either be free or paid, and if you pay you get everything that’s paid for content. Cleeng would allow users to pick and choose which aspects of the paid area they’d like to see for more nominal sums than a subscription.

      • Some membership plugins already enable you do to exactly what Cleeng does, which means the publisher gets 100%. Yes, you’d have to register first, but you’d also have to register with Cleeng, likewise. Even though I like the general idea of Cleeng, I think its success really hangs on mass adoption. I can totally see this service taking off the way Disqus did with its comment system. If Cleeng starts getting integrated into major sites, they could be in for some big bucks.

        • Interesting. I didn’t know those other options were out there to do that. Yeah, it seems the key is to get majorly integrated so someone doesn’t have to bust out their credit card or paypay info every time they want to access private content on a new site (especially when it’s for less than a dollar). Thanks for joining the conversation Mike!

  3. Very nice conversation. Thanks.

    As Syed sais: there are many downsides on pay walls and site centric subscription models…. and that is the reason why we came up with Cleeng. See on our first blog posts: http://cleeng.com/blog/theres-got-to-be-an-easier-way

    So in short: for publishers (like you all seems to be) it will likely generate extra revenue (on top of your ad income). And you can enable Cleeng without much additional effort (installation WP plugin and registration as a publisher is few minutes work and you can just try it for a while on some pieces of your content – just to see if it works for your content). But of course apply it wisely.

    @Ryan – of course you can make your own solution, but before you do, I just want to ask you to try us out. If you have any suggestions on how it can better fit your needs, let us know!

    @Mike – a publisher offering micropayments to their visitors will always loose some share due to high transactional fees. On top of that we built this site-agnostic user-friendly service which can only work properly when there is dedicated attention to it. Which doesn’t come for free unfortunately.

    And to be able to really answer Brian’s questions: (In case you didn’t try us out yet) See the solution for yourself. (You can sign-up via cleeng.com – upper right-hand side).

    We are very keen to get more feedback on the current WP plug-in, so we can further optimize it and make it relevant for people like you.

    Thanks!

  4. @Brian, thanks for the article, well constructed and documented. Appreciate it! To answer your point on customer registration, yes indeed consumers can use their Google/Facebook/Yahoo! accounts to register in really 2 clicks. So should be very straight forward. Also, the first 5 items are free for the user, so no-credit card required to experience the solution, that’s the benefit of being syndicated across multiple sites.

    @Syed & Mike, indeed building your own solution is an option, or using standard plugin. Main difference is that users will need to create each time a specific account, for the given site, and then also pay for the given site. This massively drop registration rates. + doing a good plugin isn’t easy, worth testing it on the private beta and let us know your thoughts.

    As for large publishers adoption, we are working on it!

  5. Very nice conversation. Thanks. As Syed sais: there are many downsides on pay walls and site centric subscription models…. and that is the reason why we came up with Cleeng. See on our first blog posts: http://cleeng.com/blog/theres-got-to-be-an-easier-way So in short: for publishers (like you all seems to be) it will likely generate extra revenue (on top of your ad income). And you can enable Cleeng without much additional effort (installation WP plugin and registration as a publisher is few minutes work and you can just try it for a while on some pieces of your content – just to see if it works for your content). But of course apply it wisely. @Ryan – of course you can make your own solution, but before you do, I just want to ask you to try us out. If you have any suggestions on how it can better fit your needs, let us know! @Mike – a publisher offering micropayments to their visitors will always loose some share due to high transactional fees. On top of that we built this site-agnostic user-friendly service which can only work properly when there is dedicated attention to it. Which doesn’t come for free unfortunately. And to be able to really answer Brian’s questions: (In case you didn’t try us out yet) See the solution for yourself. (You can sign-up via cleeng.com – upper right-hand side). We are very keen to get more feedback on the current WP plug-in, so we can further optimize it and make it relevant for people like you. Thanks!

  6. I agree with you, Syed. It’s nice to see 3rd party services use plugins to integrate with WordPress (although obviously their goals lie beyond WordPress site) to make things a bit easier for people. But in the end, taking the time to bake up your own solution is probably the best idea.

  7. I work with newspaper people, independents mostly, and this pretty darn interesting.
    My first concern, as others have also said, was expecting readers to sign up for yet another account with yet another online service. But if you can start it with your google or facebook account, there’s some of the effort relieved.
    I think I can see this as an application for selling photo reprints. Local newspaper takes 20 photos at a high school basketball game or the town’s Santa Claus parade, loads up a gallery of thumbnails on the web. Offers full size photo as a download for $.99. Saves them from having to process and mail out an actual print.
    And smaller newspapers do have loyal readers, so reader may be more willing to make a Cleeng account knowing they’re likely to come back for another photo later.

    • Hey JA,

      I’m curious get your thoughts on such a service for independent newspapers. If you see this response, would you mind shooting me an email at ddddnut AT gmail DOTT com

      Thanks,
      Dan

  8. 25% is just too high a percentage. Even “high risk” merchant accounts don’t take that much of a cut for adult sites. Speaking of which, you also can’t use Cleeng for “pornographic or offensive material”. Sooo… I drop the F-bomb a few too many times on a comedy blog or post a racy pic and potentially face losing my micropayment service… Why do these people have to get into morality calls (looking at you Visa). If it’s legal, leave me alone to my freedom of speech.

    As someone else pointed out, it’s another thing the visitor has to register for, so they may as well be signing up for your site so that you can have their contact info for marketing.

    • Hi,
      Some good news for you:
      1- Cleeng now only takes 20% to start with, and this goes to 10% as volume grows. Check around, and you’ll see that such commissions are very low. Think how much Google adwords take, or any advertising network. For such a reasonable fee, Cleeng takes care of:
      – Payment processing fees (account for 6% to 10% alone)
      – Content monetization software licenses
      – Social commissions management
      – Customer service and support (publisher and consumer)
      And there are no minimum requirements or setup fee, so worth just giving a try.
      2- Regarding pornographic content: we have nothing against porn (we are based in Amsterdam!). Yet, you cannot have the same offering for a site like Washington Post as you would have for Porn.xxx. We are looking into this, and we should be able to come soon with a solution for these sites too. So stay tuned.

      Note finally our offering as changed, now you can charge articles or digital items for up to $19.99.

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