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Google Reinvents Micropayments — As Surveywall 107

Hugh Pickens writes "Frédéric Filloux writes that eighteen months ago — under non disclosure — Google showed publishers a new transaction system for inexpensive products such as newspaper articles. It works like this: to gain access to a web site, the user is asked to participate to a short consumer research session: a single question or a set of images leading to a quick choice. It can be anything: pure market research for a packaging or product feature, surveying a specific behavior, evaluating a service, intention, expectation, you name it. Google's size puts it in a unique position to probe millions of people in a short period of time and the more Google gains in reliability, accuracy, and granularity (i.e. ability to probe a segment of blue collar-pet owners in Michigan or urbanite coffee-drinkers in London), the bigger it gets and the better it performs cutting market research costs 90% compared to traditional surveys. Companies will pay $150 for 1500 responses drawn from the general U.S. internet population. But what's in it for users? A young audience will be more inclined to accept such a surveywall because they always resist any form of payment for digital information, regardless of quality, usefulness, or relevance. Free is the norm. Or its illusion. This way users make micropayments, but with attention and data instead of cash. 'Young people have already demonstrated their willingness to give up their privacy in exchange for free services such as Facebook — they have yet to realize they paid the hard price,' writes Filloux. 'Economically, having one survey popping up from time to time — for instance when the user reconnects to a site — makes sense. Viewed from a spreadsheet, it could yield more money than the cheap ads currently in use.'"
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Google Reinvents Micropayments — As Surveywall

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  • by Mr. Kinky ( 2726685 ) on Monday September 10, 2012 @08:07AM (#41286409)
    This is an old idea. There already exist such services for webmasters (like and people universally hate having to fill surveys or fill forms before getting something. It's not even worthless stuff like news articles, some people put full movies (illegally, of course) behind such and people still hate it.

    And besides, if Google starts offering such service (again, these already exist and pay up to $1-2 per user, so much more than Google's $150 for 1500 users), the problems still continue. Users hate it and rogue webmasters put pirated content or fake aimbots and similar behind it, and people hate it even more.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2012 @08:11AM (#41286439)

    worthless stuff like news articles

    I fear for our future.

  • Forced analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdZ ( 755139 ) on Monday September 10, 2012 @08:12AM (#41286441)
    I wouldn't call this system "micropayment". It's more "adwall that you have to interact with to pass". You've swapped out watching a video for filling a survey, whoopee.
  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Monday September 10, 2012 @08:18AM (#41286479)

    Actually, I have fully stopped following news. I don't notice any difference. The only news I get are from slashdot. I still don't feel like I'm missing anything.

    You are. Do you know how I know that?

    I follow the news.

  • by Jarik C-Bol ( 894741 ) on Monday September 10, 2012 @08:44AM (#41286607)
    I think the point of Google's system is its not 'answer these questions' (plural) its 'answer this single question' (singular). its meant to be fast and unobtrusive. 1 click and you are through. IF that is truly the case, then i can see there system working. Otherwise, its like you said, people just fake it, or leave, and find the information elsewhere.
  • by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Monday September 10, 2012 @09:09AM (#41286771) Homepage Journal

    Besides science discoveries, what of any importance is reported by the news?

    War. Pestilence. Famine. Death.

    The four horsemen of the apocalypse are already abroad in the world. And it matters that you know it. The electoral choices made by American people cast a long shadow - over the Middle East in particular, but over the world as a whole. And yet the US electorate is quite frighteningly ignorant of what happens beyond their borders. OK, I appreciate that part of the reason you don't read the news is that the principal news media available to you are on the whole dishonest, corrupt and trivial. But there are other news media (and news aggregators). The BBC, and many of the UK 'broadsheet' sites (e.g. []Guardian [], Telegraph []) are English language, well informed and honest (note: I did not say 'unbiased' - nothing human is unbiased). Al Jazeera [] seems to be well informed and honest, too, and provides a usefully different perspective.

    If we carry on as we're going, global warming and with provoking conflict, war, famine and pestilence will arrive in the United States in your lifetime. You have a duty to be informed - a duty to yourself, as much as to anyone else.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday September 10, 2012 @10:12AM (#41287221)

    Try blaming google less and consider it a cheap reminder to not let the tablet babysit your children.

    If you really don't want to spend the time watching them setup a PIN for inapp purchases. []

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"