Confirmed: Google launches Wallet for web content

October 3, 2012
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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:

  1. 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.
  2. Give users a free sample before they buy. Google will rank your content based on what you give for free.
  3. Users can buy with a single click.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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