Categories: technology, social, economy
What?: In early 2016, Dutch media start-up Blendle launched an English-language beta-version of its website which gathers articles from consenting publishers and sells them individually to readers. Users open a Blendle account and pay 25 cents per article. If unsatisfied with the article, readers have 24 hours to request a refund. To date, refunds are provided for ten percent of articles purchased.
So What?: Micropayment systems such as Blendle’s could eventually replace or supplement web ads. As ad-blocker use increases, companies need alternative revenue streams. About one-in-five smartphones now use an ad-blocker, a 90-percent jump from January 2015 to January 2016. If website advertising demand slows, this could lead advertisers to find new ways to distribute ads. While low-income individuals will likely seek-out free content, increased competition and cheaper monetary exchange systems such as blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin, could eventually decrease the price of Blendle articles. If Blendle is successful, this could inspire other online businesses to implement micropayment systems.