Josh Young writes Why I dislike micropayments, don’t mind charity, but really have a better idea. He mentions VRM and his idea is VRM-like, in the sense that it involves relationships between the buyers and sellers of journalism, in which buyers are — at least to some degree (as I understand it) — in charge of their own side of the thing. An excerpt:
…let’s sum it up. Shifting the news relationship from reader-newspaper to user-creator increases potential trust, an economic good, and unlocks value, which people may pay for. But even the strongest value proposition does not a business model equal.
So let’s move to the concrete: the business model. How do we monetize this theoretical value tucked away in user-creator relationships?
You do it with an idea I’ve been flogging the past couple weeks. You do it with Mitch Ratcliffe’s idea, in which users pay creators for “added convenience or increased interaction.” Note the elegant fit: increased interaction between one person and another is what fosters relationships and trust. Giving paying users otherwise exclusive twitter access to the creator could work. SMS updates could work, as could a permission only room on friendfeed. Even something as simple as a gold star on paying users’ comments—a symbol that they support the creator financially—would provide incentive for the creator to reply. Tiers of stars—bronze, silver, gold—are possible too.
Sounds to me like journals-as-clubs. Anyway, see whatcha think.