The Atlantic Technology Channel's Nicholas Jackson reports on a new, frictionless solution to get people to pay for online journalism. If you're familiar with the Atlantic's comment system Disqus, you understand how The Content Project works. (For many of you, I know that will make you hold your applause. But read on, please!)
With Disqus, commenters set up one personal account they carry with them to every website in the Disqus family, rather than sign in separately to each site's comment section. It's the same with TCP. Rather than break out your credit card each time you want to buy an online subscription, TCP is your credit card, your "mobile wallet."
The way the platform works is that users encounter a tag on a story or piece of content that tells them it is part of the TCP network. By registering, that individual can then open an account with what Fast Company described as a "mobile wallet." With a single fee paid to TCP, that user can fluidly purchase any digital content that is part of the entire network.
I'd love to pair this idea with an option to enter your demographic information in exchange for discounts on TCP. Advertisers want to know more about their readers, and presumably advertisers would pay for the privilege of knowing. For readers, if you're willing to put information on Facebook in exchange for nothing, why not offer information on TCP in exchange for money?
Imagine if you could get 30 percent off your Web access fee in exchange for some information about your education, interests and shopping habits.
You'd enter your demographic information into a gateway page at TCP, and TCP would sell your precious info to advertisers across its network of sites. That would allow magazine companies with overlapping audiences -- say, The Atlantic, Slate, and The New Republic -- to offer their advertisers information about their readers. Advertisers would happily pay for targeted audiences, magazines would happily take the premium ads, and TCP would happily skim its margin off the top.
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