Historically, websites have made money by selling wares, services or advertising. In the last two weeks it seems like two new business models are starting to emerge. One more publicly supported and the other less publicly supported.
Europe’s new copyright law
According to an article I read recently (This newly approved European copyright law might break the Internet), Article 11 of Europe’s new Copyright Directive (not quite law yet) will require search engines, news aggregators and other users of Internet content to pay a “link tax” to copyright holders of anything they link to. As a long time blogger, podcaster and content provider, I find this new copyright policy very intriguing.
The article proposes that this will bankrupt small publishers as larger ones will charge less for the traffic. But presently, I get nothing for links to my content. And, I’d be delighted to get any amount – in fact I’d match any large publishers link tax amount that the market demands.
But my main concern is the impact this might have on site traffic. If aggregators pay a link tax, why would they want to use content that charges any tax. Yes at some point aggregators need content. But there are many websites full of content, certainly there would be some willing to forego tax fees for more traffic.
I also happen to be a copyright user. Most of my blog posts are from articles I read on the web. I usually link to an article in the 1st one or two paragraphs (see above and below) of a post and may refer (and link) to more that go deeper into a subject. Will I have to pay a link tax to the content owner?
How much of a link tax is anyone’s guess. I’m not sure it would amount to much. But a link tax, if done judiciously might even raise the quality of the content on the web.
Browser’s of the world, lay down your blockchains
The second article was a recent research paper (Digging into browser based crypto mining). Researchers at RWTH Aachen University had developed a new method to associate mined blocks to mining pools as a way to unearth browser-based mined crypto coins. With this technique they estimated that 1.8% of all Monero coins were mined by CoinHive using participant browsers to mine the coin or ~$250K/month from browser mining.
Just think, someone creates a WP plugin to do ETH mining and when activated, a WP website pops up a message that says “We mine coins while you browse – OK?”.
In another twist perhaps the websites could share the ETH mined on their browser with the person doing the browsing, similar to airline/hotel travel awards. Today most travel is done on corporate dime, but awards go to the person doing the traveling. Similarly, employees could browse using corporate computers but they would keep a portion of the ETH that’s mined while they browse away… Sounds like a deal.
Other monetization approaches
We’ve tried Google AdSense and other advertising but it only generated pennies a month. So, it wasn’t worth it.
We also sell research and occasionally someone buys some (see SCI Research Shop). And I do sell services but not through my website.
Not sure a link tax will fly. It would be a race to the bottom and anyone that charged a tax would suffer from less links until they decided to charge a $0 link tax.
Maybe if every link had a tax associated with it, whether the site owner wanted it or not there could be a level playing field. Recording, paying/receiving and accounting for all these link tax micro payments would be another nightmare altogether.
But a WP plugin, that announces and mines crypto coins with a user’s approval and splits the profit with them might work. Corporate wouldn’t like it but employees would just be browsing websites, where’s the harm in that.
Browse a website and share the mined crypto coin with site owner. Sounds fine to me.
Photo Credit(s): Strasburg – European Parliament|Giorgio Barlocco
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