Web Monetization originated in 2019, but it’s still a nascent technology that many people don't understand or know how to use. In fact, Web Monetization can completely transform the way we use the internet, empowering creators and consumers while limiting the power and influence of giant corporations. But before you can leverage Web Monetization, it helps to understand what, exactly, it is and why it’s so important.
Web Monetization is an open technology (i.e. anyone can adopt it and use it) that enables you to stream micropayments—a tiny fraction of a penny—to websites in real-time while you watch, read, and listen to content. These payments continue to stream for as long as you're enjoying the website's content, so the more time you spend on a creator's website, the more money they make.
Currently, most creators, publishers, and platforms monetize their content, aka make their money, through traditional methods, like advertising, site-based subscriptions, and sponsored posts. These methods have quite a few drawbacks for both the creator and those of us who enjoy their content.
For instance, creators using traditional advertising must give a percentage of the money they earn from ads directly to their advertisers. The money left over for creators often isn't enough to sustain them, which is why so many are struggling to stay afloat.
And if you've ever gone to a website and been bombarded by pop-ups ads or paywalls, then you already know how much traditional advertising can negatively impact your online experience. But beyond bothering you while you're trying to enjoy content, many of these advertisers are also tracking, storing, and even selling your personal data, which they can use to their advantage without any benefit to you or the creator.
Web Monetization can help solve these problems and then some. With this new technology, you can seamlessly consume and support content from participating creators without needing to subscribe to site after site, dodge pop-up ads, or get behind paywalls. Web Monetization offers an alternative business model for the web and the potential for a healthier, less exploitative internet.
Web Monetization is also currency agnostic, so if you're in the U.S., you can potentially stream payments to a creator in Germany or Mexico, which the creator can receive in their native currency. Web Monetization even enables streaming cryptocurrency payments, so you can use the technology to support your favorite content and creators regardless of their (or your) preferred currency or location.
Web Monetization is a game-changer in several key ways:
Since Web Monetization allows creators, publishers, and platforms to make money without the use of advertising, it can take the power away from corporations seeking your data through ads and give it back to you and the creators of the content you love. It's a more democratic revenue stream that prioritizes community over corporations while helping to limit the control and influence that major companies increasingly have over the web.
Traditional online advertisers track your data and activity on the web, which they then use to show targeted ads that can be exploitative, discriminatory, harmful, and simply annoying. Web Monetization allows you to support the creators you love without the exploitation of your personal data.
Web Monetization can simply make consuming content more fun and convenient. In a fully Web Monetized world, you'd never be interrupted by an annoying pop-up ad when you're trying to watch a great video or read an article. You also wouldn't need to buy countless subscriptions to websites to get behind paywalls and enjoy premium content. It offers a seamless web experience for you while supporting your favorite creators, publishers, and platforms in real-time.
Supporting creators using Web Monetization is easy. All you have to do is sign up with a Web Monetization provider. Currently, Coil is the world’s only provider, and it offers Web Monetization as a service for $5 per month.
This membership allows you to support all Web Monetized creators everywhere on the web. It also grants you access to premium experiences on Web Monetized sites like Reductress, The Hard Times, and Imgur. And no matter how much time you spend on a site, you’ll never pay more (or less) than the $5-per-month membership fee to use the service.