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Web Monetization, Challenges #4: Collaboration

We’ve been thinking about the sort of person who might want to kick a few bucks to Widget and sites like ours every month, and the best we can come up with anecdotally (i.e., by just guessing) is that everyone who might support our site can be lumped into one of two groups.

In the interest of trying to look at web monetization objectively – even if it’s our main/only means of supporting Widget at the moment – we’re going to occasionally post about the challenges we see to it becoming a standard, ubiquitous technology. We do see it as a promising tech, but at the same time we need it to be financially viable for us to commit to it indefinitely.


Earlier, we wrote some posts trying to grapple with perks: what sort of perks might entice a potential Coil supporter to actually subscribe? How can we deliver effective messaging to these people to actually communicate what they’d be getting with a subscription?

I’ve got no idea for sure, but I can’t help but think we’re going to be unlikely to win over a critical mass of supporters without ‘going big.’ I don’t think a bonus blog post on some beloved sites, hidden amidst the regular posts, is going to be sufficient to convert on-the-fence subscribers.

I don’t know what is, but one idea I come back to is ambitious, collaborative (and (subscriber-only?) projects between sympathetic, web-monetized sites – like those of us in the Coil comedy bundle. Here’s some stray thoughts about what that could be, though making it happen is a whole other can of worms…

It probably starts with just talking with one another, so a quick note on that:

‘Fraternal’ Communication

Those of us running Coil-monetised sites should be talking more, sharing ideas and success stories more, collaborating more, cross-promoting more…

Our Coil comedy sites are all on a channel together in Outvoice’s Slack, but maybe more could be done to foster experimentation and collaboration between us all.

I don’t know what this looks like, but maybe a weekly newsletter from Coil to content creators sharing ideas, updates and success stories? Regular (monthly?) Zoom or Discord calls for Content creators? Ways to bootstrap collaborative projects that are less formal than Grant for the Web – e.g. a Twitch comedy night sponsored by Coil?

This need to share ideas and strategies between web monetized sites is probably the problem that the https://community.webmonetization.org/ forum is trying to solve. Hopefully it succeeds in that.

Collaboration

But what would be really cool is if communication could lead to (subscriber-only, high-value-proposition) collaboration. Just speaking as a member of the Coil comedy bundle, it would be amazing if a few of us teamed up on an exclusive podcast – whether it’s funny or it’s just ‘talking shop’ about editing humour, e.g.

Or same idea, but a newsletter, or livestream, or forum, or… just for subscribers. I don’t think any of us – barring maybe Hard Times, Beaverton, Reductress (and pardon me if I’m forgetting one or two others) – has the cachet to convert many subscribers at all. Our best shot at trying to make a go of this is by working together, IMHO. Either that, or making Coil just one part of a business strategy. Which may be the right move, but pulls focus from trying to deliver great perks for supporters.

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