Why Web Monetization?
Simply put, Web Monetization is a way that content creators can earn from streaming micropayments based on the amount of time that visitors spend on their digital content. – An introduction to Web Monetization
The Problem: Traditionally, blogs and educational content in the design industry have been openly accessible for anyone on the web to learn from, no matter their background. With the cost of design education inaccessible to many, the open web enabled a thriving self-taught generation of designers and developers. Over the last few years though, we've seen a growth of paywalls that restrict access to content, and increasingly intrusive ads:
- Paywalls: there has been a rise in centralized publishing platforms optimizing for paywalled business models that create a barrier to free learning.
- Targeted Ads: platforms (e.g. Facebook/Instagram) are optimised to harvest and exploit user data to sell targeted ads, and content surfaced is geared specifically to sell a corporate product.
In a community that has knowledge sharing at its core, Web Monetization provides a new model for rewarding creators, whilst keeping the web open. By integrating Web Monetization into the Prototypr platform, we can create a privacy-friendly and unbiased place for creators to earn from their content, whilst keeping it accessible to anyone with internet access.
The Prototypr website currently uses Web-Monetization through embedding a metatag with our payment pointer in the head of our website, meaning our payment pointer appears on every page of the website. This very documentation site is also Web-Monetized 😃! Building upon this, we plan for authors to web monetize whatever they publish, and plan to reward contributors and readers for supporting this ad-free initiative:
Each registered Prototypr user will be able to add their own payment pointer, which will be attached to anything they publish with a Web Monetization meta tag.
The user accounts section will have extra settings for Web Monetization, such as:
- A Web Monetization tab in user accounts linking out to instructions and related learning material.
- Guide users on setting up an wallet (Uphold)
- Explain what payment pointers are and how to retrieve one
- Show how to add the payment pointer in Prototypr account settings
Prototypr is currently supported by ads. As a perk for web-monetized users, those visiting Prototypr with a web monetization provider will have the option to turn ads. Note: the ads we show don't track users or invade privacy – they're static pictures of products that the ourselves and the community love (e.g. ProtoPie, Maze).
Special perks can also be rewareded to Web-Monetized users, such as art and digital sticker givaways to say thank you! Web-monetized writers who use a payment pointer will get a special profile badge too (more on that to come).
As designers, despite being huge advocates of accessibility, privacy, open source, and an open web, many will be new to Interledger and Web Monetization. Therefore, educational content to onboard designers (or 'design-developers'/'devsigners') is necessary to build an understanding of Web-Monetization in our industry.
Topics to cover:
- Why we need to democratise design content
- Helping self-taught designers by publishing on the Open Web
- What is the Open Web?
- An introduction to Open Design
- What is Web Monetization, and how it will affect the future
- How to use Web Monetization and be part of a better future
In addition to building an understanding of web monetization, designers are interested in why and how things work. With crypto wallets and browser plugins currently providing a fragmented user experience at times, we could think about how to improve things and make them more accessible. This can start with defining some tips and best practices when designing for web monetization.