Sunday, February 7, 2016

Reducing the Power of Advertisers on the Internet

How many times have you clicked a link on Facebook in order to read an article that interests you, only to be inundated by pop up ads and nag screens wanting you to subscribe, or pay to read past the introductory paragraph.

It may be easy to forget that Google is in the advertising business, and that as much as 40% of the internet traffic goes through them.  While Google does the honorable thing of making ads simple, non-interruptive, non-distracting, and designed to not interfere with content, many other advertisers do not.

On Facebook, we have grown accustomed to clicking the "Like" button whenever we see something that we like, which makes sense.  We like the idea of letting our friends know that they posted something of interest.
But what happens when you click that Like button?

Facebook accumulates all that "Like" data in order to let their advertisers know who is most-likely to click their ads.  Every time you click Like, you are giving away some elements of your personal information to Facebook so that they can match you up with advertisers.  Yes, Facebook too is an advertising business!

The same holds true for other Social Media sites - Google Plus, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest - they all make money by learning about your interests so they can match you up with people wanting to sell you something.

Time for a New Kind of Like Button

What if you were able to show your appreciation for a blog post, article, photo, or video by anonymously donating a small amount of money without revealing anything about yourself or your likes?

This is happening now.  Microtipping is here.  I know there is a strong aversion to people thinking about having to pay to read content on the internet, but in this case it is completely voluntary.  You do not need to pay to read or view the content - only as an act of appreciation after the fact.  It is in every sense of the word- a tip.  What's even better is that the money goes directly to the content provider and not an advertising firm.  If someone posts a video that you like, you can pay them a small amount of money simply by clicking a "Like" button.  The amount of money is up to you.

With conventional payment systems (credit/debit/EFT) microtipping was never possible due to the massive fees imposed on money transfers.  This is why you see many retailers requiring a $10 minimum purchase for credit card transaction

But now we have Bitcoin.  Bitcoin allows you to send money with little to no fees, and since a Bitcoin is divisible into 100 million units (called Satoshi), the amounts of money transferred can be very small- as small as 5400 Satoshi (approximately 0.02 USD as of this writing).  With the use of Sidechains or aggregating off-Blockchain transactions, micro-tipping services can be made even smaller.

So would you be willing to spend a fraction of a penny to like a post in lieu of giving up your privacy? Would you rather give a small donation to the creator of the content, rather than to an advertising platform?

There are companies out there betting that you would.  And you can get started right now.

ChangeTip is a great site that allows you to send tips to people posting on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Text Messages, Skype, and more as well as receive tips for your content.  They also give you the option of redirecting your received tips to a charity of your choice.

ChangeTip also makes tipping a bit more fun by giving monikers to different tip amounts.  So, instead of sending "10,000 Satoshi" or "$0.25", you can send "a beer", "a cup of coffee", or "a burger", etc.

This is only the beginning of a new, bigger, and much more private Internet.

If you would like to show your appreciation for this article, feel free to Leave Me a Tip!.

Thank you in advance!