The Internet isn’t broken, but its payment systems are

Imagine a world of cash only spending, but where the smallest unit of currency is a £10 note. And in this world, pricing hasn’t adjusted to that: if you want something cheap, you either need to buy a lot of it or pay too much for it.

Nonsensical, right?

That’s the world of the Internet for news publications.

The traditional newspaper form has become fractured online. Now, news articles stand independent from one another, rather than grouped together in one physical edition. One benefit of that development is that online readers tend to enjoy a casual relationship with news sites online, reading widely and across various sites.

But digital news sites aren’t adapting to meet the needs of their readers’ fluid behaviour. Instead, they ask their readers to pay a subscription: a commitment to recurring payment, for a set price. A subscription works wonderfully for some people; for others, it’s simply too high a price to pay.

As it stands, digital news sites can’t charge the right price for their products. So, they’re left to choose between charging the relatively few people who committed enough to subscribe, or to give their product away for free.

The isn’t resulting in enough people paying for their online news – and as ad revenues continue to collapse, the news industry desperately needs consumer revenue streams if they want to survive in the long run. The problem is the way they’re making them pay. If someone wanted to buy a coffee, we’d never force them to pay for an entire month’s worth of coffees, with the expectation they’ll keep doing that for the rest of the year. It just doesn’t make sense.

Now, imagine a world where you pay for online content like you pay for your coffee: when you want it, at a price that’s reasonable, and in a way that’s convenient for you. That would make a bit more sense, wouldn’t it?

That’s what we’re doing with Agate. With an Agate wallet, you simply pay for only the content you read online, and no more. It’s simply a payment – not a “micropayment” – of the right price. No commitment, and no hassle. Registration is quick and easy, and there’s no need to keep inputting your details – Agate works seamlessly across multiple sites. And here’s the best part: it’s here, and it’s available to use now. You can try it now on Popbitch, Reaction or The New European.