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Amazon Experimental Micropayment System

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Amazon has launched a new payment system that relies on users voluntarily paying for internet content.

Here's how the system works: The graphic below that will have your name embedded if you have an Amazon cookie set on your computer. Click the graphic to go to a page where you can pay what you think the content is worth.
Amazon Honor SystemClick Here to PayLearn More

How can I have your name displayed when you are not registered? The reason it works is that the image file is being served from the domain and thus has access to Amazon's cookie on your harddisk. The website has no access to this info. This may be a wave in the near future: stand-alone websites may disintegrate as the basic unit of Web use. This payment system may be the first sign of the decline of website structural integrity.

What do you think?-- Steven Black

Pretty pricey transaction fee, $0.15 + 15% of the total transaction. That's %30 on a $1 transaction - I think it's incorrect to refer to this as a usable micropayment system. Zane Thomas

Zane, add it up:
  • Cost of setting up all the merchant accounts amazon supports (Visa+MC+AE+Diners, etc...)
  • plus the opportunity cost of deposits with each one (which can be several thousand dollars each).
  • plus the cost of the transaction itself (1.5 to 4% depending on your volume).
  • plus the cost of a SSL certificate do the transaction.
  • plus the actual cost of processing the transaction, which will depend on how automated you are.
  • plus the cost of developing a one-click system with 24M users pre-loaded for you.
    ... and I conclude it's a fantastic, incalculable bargain. Moreover just the fact that you don't have to deal with any bank, or establish any credit history, and you can set this up for yourself in 10-minutes makes it unbelievable value. Just my opinion-- Steven Black

    They could have easily made money on 10% or even less. Of course Amazon is still in the red and so perhaps couldn't pass up the opportunity to gouge on this, knowing that people who would use it probably don't have any other viable option. If their system generates revenue then competition should eliminate that.

    Also, refering to it as a micropayment scheme is further suspect since most people who talk about such things refer to payments in the pennies, such as $0.10, instead of dollars. ZaneThomas

    [2001.04.02] JOMO - I think it's worth the pittance to help out. For goodness sakes, what's wrong with paying for a service you use? -- Doug Dodge

    Interesting. Micropayments are a huge issue of course. It was easy and nicely Amazon can use your already existing CC info which makes it painless for me. But for the vendor, until the credit card companies stop their downright usurious ways I think it's still a ways away for doing peer-to-peer and microtransactions. Anyone know what Pay Pal charges? -- Nancy Folsom

    You want money or a subscription, send me a bill, the Wiki is worth it. I have no desire to have crap like this on my screen. Scott Finegan
    Interesting - If it helps to keep the Wikis alive, I'm all for it! -- Randy Jean
    It could turn into a nice way of paying for shareware. Similar to the COMPUSERVE shareware payment service. How does it work? I guess you have to sign an agreement with the provider of the service(Amazon in this case) and then receive a payment check from them.
    But indeed, an interesting trend. It delegates the security and money related problems responsibility to a trusted provider. Similar to the digital signing services provided by vendors like VerySign. Could turn into a hit, since most consumers are reluctand to give they payment info details to an 'anonymous' site.
    Too bad it works only for US...
    Steve, could you list what it costs to maintain the public wikis. Things like hours of your time per month, internet connection fees, etc. It might be a good motivator for people to support your volunteer effort in support the VFP community. Other people support VFP via time contributions but you are putting your money where your mouth is. -- Evan Delay
    It's a lot :-) but there are benefits too.-- Steven Black
    Don't want to be tacky -- but do have a donation amount in mind? If everyone donated $25, would that be enough? (of course not everyone will)
    Kevin, it's just an experiment. It's called "send me a small amount of cash over the internet because it's novel, easy, and fun". Buy me a beer or two :-) I think it be cool if we all had payment banners inside each of our wiki topics, and we could one-click cash to each other for services large and small. -- Steven Black
    Very cool indeed...I threw a buck out to you as a test. Great idea. -- John Koziol
    I also threw in my $.02 {g} Seriously, I think it's a fine idea. In many ways I get more knowledge from the Wiki than I do from a UT PUTM. And every time the Wiki saves my butt on some thorny problem I'll throw in a few more bucks. Definitely worth it! -- Alex Feldstein
    OK I did my part -- who's next? I wouldn't call it a donation, but here is why I did it -- a) Wed Night summaries (although I am never there live), b) Exam summaries (OK, I really haven't used it too much -- but I might someday), c) ado/xml discussions d) as so on and so on ...

    My next thing should be to contribute something. I am looking at building a 3-tier demo that would, in simplest manner possible, give a concrete working example to the concept. Of course I have never done a 3-tier program myself (have used web connect) and can I ever find the time????
    Has anyone else noticed that once you've paid, the graphic no longer appears? It's also interesing that the system only works if the payee has a credit card with a USA address. -- Andrew Coates
    It worked for a Canadian Visa - Evan Delay
    Do you mean you've set up as a payee with a Canadian VISA, or did you just pay Stephen with a Canadian VISA? -- Andrew Coates
    I paid Steve -- Evan Delay
    OK - but can you set up to receive payments with a Canadian VISA - I know I can't with an Australian VISA. I could pay Steve with the Australian VISA though. -- Andrew Coates
    In my case it still appears on this page every time. -- Alex Feldstein
    I have noticed that the graphic is sometimes there, sometimes not - Evan Delay
    It's back for me now too - strange. -- Andrew Coates
    Congratulations Steve, I am very happy things are going that nice! -- Fernando Alvares
    Steve, reading the message at the wiki start (home) page ("Regular users are encouraged to make a minimum yearly $10 payment to support this wiki") made me remember (so, please, excuse my fault) that I hadn't thanked you yet by this great opportunity you gave us to make the cash contribution. Why? Because many of the attendants of this wiki run their own business (some like the little one that I do, some very big ones), and we are very aware of what investments, costs, taxes and the alike mean (plus time!). Of course the other people not running their own business may be aware too. What I'm trying to say is that I (like the many others) knowing all the investments you must have to make and all the costs you have to face to run the wiki (and all the time that we notice you are spending!), would like to make a material contribution, but perhaps had no idea of the appropriate way of doing it. Then you helped us giving this opportunity, thus freeing us from the burden of that embarrasment.

    Of course that's not the most important way to contribute, so I was thinking in some further ways I could give my share. Anyyone that has read my postings realized that I'm not a VFP expert, so that's not the way I could do it (but I'll keep trying. Sorry folks!) then, if you can help, again, taking this other burden off my shoulders, would you, please, give some other good suggestions like that one? Thanks Steve! -- Fernando Alvares
    Contributors: Steven Black
    Category Wiki Category Web
  • ( Topic last updated: 2001.04.02 05:08:31 PM )