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Cover image for Web-Monetization Learnings: Vision vs Incentives 🤑
graeme for Prototypr

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Web-Monetization Learnings: Vision vs Incentives 🤑

Here I've listed the latest Prototypr platform updates that were made to onboard people to Web-Monetization, followed by my learnings about what would drive people to adopt and support an open web. So skip to the second half if you're interested in those realisations!

Part 1: Platform Updates

The latest Web-Monetization updates, articles and features on the Prototypr platform:

New Articles 📝

🤑 How to Monetize Your Creative Work Without Advertising – A look into options for monetizating work without invasive ads. Covering subscriptions, tips, micropayments and what the future may hold.

📜 Open Design Ownership: Why You Need a License – and What Kind to Use
– A guide for licensing your work, especially as a designer. These days, it's easy to find and reuse other people's work, but this guide shows how to appropriately credit the original creators, and also lists some licensing options for your own work.

Platform updates 🚧

I added a Web Monetization menu to the main navigation. It's quite nice, because when Web-Monetization is active (from the browser API events), the logo starts animating 🤗

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The WM dropdown menu also acts as a little guide through Web-Monetization, as well a place to show the live micropayments being streamed:

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Supporting Guides ✅

In that menu, we have links to a WM topic page, with a range of WM-related articles:

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Plus the payment pointer guide, which will need updating/temporary removal:

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There's a few more updates, such as the landing page explaining the overall concept, but overall, it's been a good exploration.

I think our platform is really well positioned to support micropayments, and shows the model well, but the crypto wallet part has been a large a barrier, especially during the 'crypto winter' periods.

2. Learnings for Web-Monetization adoption

Some observations on how I should have appealed to the wider audience, instead of the smaller niche of web custodians.

Incentives can drive a fairer web

Until more payment providers emerge, I think Web Monetization has helped a lot in exploring what's needed for a fairer and open web to happen. Implementing the payment pointers and Web-monetization made me realise that people really want something in return for being an active Web-monetization user. Enabling writers to earn micropayments, and 'contributing to an open web' didn't seem to be a big enough incentive.

Therefore, I started adding 'premium' features, such as:

  • web-monetized users can post jobs/opportunities on the jobs board as 'pro members'
  • web-monetized members can post 'deals' for their products, that will appear on a 'designer deals' page

It's very similar to what a premium membership would offer. I think the Coil news has stopped us in our tracks a little, as it was really beginning to take shape.


I also realised that the language used and narrative created is also very important - at times I think I could have been perceived as 'taking a moral high ground' through opposing gated platforms, and calling out privacy issues.
Overall, I don't think many users think about what is happening with data tracking and privacy issues. Even when we covered these topics, it sometimes felt like noone actually cared. I feel like the better approach may be to build all this stuff in the privacy-friendly and open way we envisage, but focus on the incentives that people get when communicating with the wider audience - with little mention of privacy etc.

Maybe those interested users who want to dive deeper could discover those benefits, but as a primary focus and narrative, it just didn't seem to resonate with the 'every-day/causal user'.

Vision vs Incentives

In all, I get the feeling that most people just want to see immediate benefits they would receive - e.g. access to something exclusive, discounts codes they can immediately use, or increased status on our platform - all elements that give quick gratification.
Quick gratification though was not something I considered on what I saw as a longer road towards a greater vision that challenges what has become the norm of the corporate web.
Therefore, a lot of our content and narrative behind the work would only resonate with a very small niche who actually care about this mission.
In reality, I think we needed to appeal to the masses through tangible incentives, rather than pitching an altruistic vision to web custodians.

Towards the future for Interledger

I hope there will be a way to continue this work, as it definitely has lead me to new ways of thinking, and better ways to create an ad-free platform.

I'm looking forward to see what is next with Interledger and the options we have going forward. For the short term, with the sunsetting of Coil, I think what we have is a really good case study, solid learnings, and an actual open platform that supports different cultures having been built with a system for internationalisation.

I'll be continuing the same mission, and am implementing more ways to get creators paid, and keep the web open! Thank you for the work at Interledger!

Top comments (1)

ayeshaware profile image
Ayesha Ware

@graeme thanks for sharing this update, can't wait to read more in your final reporting.