Next: The micro payment

Next: The micro payment

next People were buzzing about Portland-based Contenture’s “anti-ad network” even before the company explained what it was. Maybe it’s because the venture comes from the brains behind the popular Clicky Web Analytics tool. Or maybe it’s because online ad revenue is declining and website owners jump at any hint of an alternative. The service launched June 2 and already has 400 websites in its network. Contenture users pay $6 per month to access their favorite sites with privileges such as extra features, early access to content or blocked ads. The money is automatically dispersed among website owners according to which sites that user visits and how often. So could Contenture be the savior of newspapers by replacing ads as the dominant online revenue model? “A lot of companies have tried micro-payment models and failed,” says co-founder Noah Merritt, with no trace of anxiety. He says they’ve learned from the mistakes of others: Let users decide how much the service is worth and don’t bug them repeatedly for a credit card.
ADRIANNE JEFFRIES