A few days back, we shared a report that Google was planning to offer micropayments via Google Wallet. Google has now confirmed this service. With the project, publishers can now sell articles for small amounts, from $0.25 to $0.99. But one big difference from other micropayment systems is that users get to own the content forever.
With Google Wallet, readers can get access to a webpage upon paying the small amount. If a user doesn't like the page, then there's a 30-minute refund window. Otherwise, the content is available perpetually (or at least until the website goes down).
Google has explained how the feature works:
- Sell content from your web site. Embed the Google Wallet banner on a web page to allow a user to buy it directly from your site.
- Give users a free sample before they buy. Google will rank your content based on what you give for free.
- Users can buy with a single click.
- Instant refunds help users feel comfortable buying. If the user clicks “Instant Refund” within 30 minutes you take the content back, and the charge is cancelled.
- Google monitors how much a user refunds to make sure they are only refunding content they don't like, and not using refunds to get free content.
Google advises that if content-creators are planning to charge a dollar or more, then they should use the Digital Goods for Games solution. This option does not come with instant refunds.
Personally, I'm a firm believer that content reaches a wider audience when it is free. But if you give users convenient access to premium content for a very low price, then this is one good way to monetize your content without necessarily turning off potential readers.