Not a coilover, but Coil.


For a while now, I’ve been quietly monetizing my weblog here using a micropayments service called Coil.

Why Micropayments?

Why not? is the question I propose in return. By and large, we’ve become ad-deaf. That is, we’ve learned to mentally tune out banner ads, ignore posts that are seemingly 91% advertisement and 9% content by character weight, try to skip using the Amazon Affiliate links (or have something that overrides that site’s link with someone else’s referral code), and other such processes that all result in a smaller site receiving little to no revenue.

For a person who is passionate about a subject, it means they’re bearing the entire cost of running something to share it. In some cases, that’s perfectly fine: I’m largely in that category. I’m just talking about subjects that appeal to me, and if someone actually reads it, I’m happy.

For others, they may be sharing a story or lesson that we could all use, but how long that story stays up may be based on their financial stability. Getting even a couple of dollars a month may make the difference.

But why don’t they start a Pa–

I’ll interrupt that thought about that protean service with an impolite gesture of your own choosing. Services that run monthly subscriptions are good and well, if you have a strong enough readership to get someone to stick around. However, small sites may not have that tipping point to get consistent (or even inconsistent) sponsoring via a subscription service that’s just for their site. Further, if they’re just setting up for a one dollar tip jar, they don’t get much of that dollar itself — the site that runs the subscription services gets more of it than the person creating content.

This is where micropayments really fit in. By and large, many, many people use sites like Imgur, which offers an ad-free experience via their Emerald offering. The payment doesn’t go directly to Imgur, but instead, it goes through a micropayments processor called Coil.

Coil is a micropayments system that allows a person to subscribe to their service, and with an appropriate browser addon, streams payments to eligible sites, contributing small payments with minimal contact. The addon measures how long you’ve visited, and pays out the site author to their wallet, and as the user, all you did was make sure you’re signed in to Coil and have the addon running.

So, while it still leaves the main benefactor on the table as Coil, where they get a consistent $5/month from subscribers to their service, smaller sites actually stand to gain significantly more than you’d expect:

If you are a Coil user, and you’re here, logged in with Coil, and reading this, you’re already proving my point. I will get a little bit of recompense for your time reading here, as Coil streams payments to the creator in a very simple, smooth manner. You didn’t have to sign up for anything extra beyond your Coil membership, and I don’t have to pad my writing with how my day was, memories of my past, and other such colorful horseshit to try to trick you into following my latest Amazon Affiliate link for vertical mice I’ve been using for years, like these:

And as an Amazon Affiliate, I have to go out and tell you that I may earn a small commission when you follow my affiliate links above and make a purchase.

All of that is kinda hokey, when I would really just rather focus on my content. This is something I remember having a discussion on camera at before seven in the morning, talking about just wanting to create content.

A good micropayments processor like Coil lets me just focus on making; This, I argue, is the most important part of what I do. Sure, making a few bucks to offset my yearly domain and hosting costs or the cost of a cup of coffee is nice, but having hosting costs and nothing to put up for it feels kind of dumb to me.

Knowing I can just sit here with my keyboard, type away, and let a video game run in the background, posting whatever comes to mind, and if someone with Coil stops by and reads, I get a few cents is nice. Far better than dealing with an ad banner and its Cost Per Click conversion mess, to be sure.


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