Roger Ebert, a national treasure who recently got his voice back thanks to technology is rolling out The Ebert Club. For $4.95 per year you get a number of members-only benefits for his site and, of course, get to pay the guy for the work he’s done. Here’s the signup page.
Ebert also wrote up a blog entry on the whole idea of micropayments.
I remember with what glee Gene Siskel and I once pondered [Nicolas] Negroponte’s book [Being Digital], with its speculation on whether users would pay two cents to read two of our reviews. Negroponte actually used us as an example. Gene and I pounded on the office calculator: 250 reviews, times two cents, times 10,000 users, or 50,000 users, or three million users…wow! If three million people paid two cents for our reviews, there’d be $15 million for us to split! But, hey, even if 5,000 users paid two cents for half our reviews, we’d gross $12,500. Nice.
I think anyone who has run a hobby website has had similar calculations run through their heads. It becomes, “If I want to make a little money on this, how much would people pay? A dime? A quarter?”
Ebert’s price point is a good one, I think. His timing couldn’t be better what with his impressive media exposure and widely-recognized writing quality. It’s a good experiment and to be honest with you, I hope it works.
Posted in Technology