Monday, December 05, 2005


Once again, life is imitating the Scan!

Andy Havens of OCLC's Marketing Department passed along an interesting new (at least to me) web site for a company called Encryptanet. Encryptanet allows providers of content to put small charges on access to their content (say, 25 cents for 24 hours of access), to allow impulse purchase of online material. The payments are handled through PayPal, and the transactions would be pretty much invisible to the user, at least according to Encryptanet's publicity.

What isn't clear to me from reading this site is how the individual reader signs up. If it's going to be truly invisible to me as a user, it needs to be set up in advance, like a deposit account. I put $50 in my microcontent account, and Encryptanet tells me when I'm down to my last $5, or something to that effect. Neither I nor my bank wants my checking account charged 25 cents everytime I impulsively purchase a new article about the Marx Brothers or Riders in the Sky.

The implications for something like this for libraries are pretty profound. You could set aside part of your acquisitions budget for content on demand. People could actually get the articles they need immediately. You could drop expensive subscriptions to titles that are rarely used. Nahhh...

For aggregators like us, oy... Publishers of all ilks, from major newspapers to small mom-and-pop blogs like "It's All Good" could hang out their shingles with their rates and let the search engines be their indexes. (Actually, we have no mothers and only one stepfather among the regular contributors to "It's All Good.")

No, I don't believe this is the end of the world as we know it, but I do think that this is yet another shot across the bow in the ongoing process of disaggregation of the bigger packages of information.

1 comment:

David said...

There are also a few other examples of Microcontent already in play.

First is the Xbox Live Marketplace where gamers can purchase anything from whole games to branded clothing for their in game characters from both other players as well as directly from the game developers.

Then there is the king of all microcontent, Ring Tones. There are some instances where its cheaper to buy the song from one of the music services than to buy the ring tone. Yet ring tones make huge amount in both sales and royalties to the artists and record labels.