Web Monetization Community

Grant report january

Hi there! Here is an update on our Grant for the Web project.

Our goal is to empower artists to publish and monetize their art without worrying about hosting costs or upfront investments. We have created a platform (Micrio) which is a platform for creating interactive stories from ultra-resolution images. It is currently used by artists,
photographers, museums, and broadcasters alike. More background information can be found here.

We started in October with our team consisting of 3 people by finding out how the Web Monetization API works and implemented this in several prototypes. Soon we found out that the current Web Monetization tag functionality was limited for our purpose and we dived into the Interledger protocol to see if ILP could give us the flexibility we needed.

It took us quite some time to get the right documentation and sample repos, but in the end we managed to make peer-to-peer payments. We thought we would be more flexible in the way we could monetize the content.

When comparing both functionalities we ultimately decided that we preferred the easy-to-use “monetization” tag, but that it just lacked the features we need. We therefore decided that we would stick with the first approach, but mock the functionality to see if we could come up with a proof of concept that would work.

In the last month we had a call with Chris (Lawrence) to get some background information on the Grant project and some general questions we had about the Web Monetization API and Payment Providers (like Coil).

Overall we are pretty happy with the progress we made so far. As you also may have experienced, there are a lot of unknowns and the technology is in the really early stages but we are seeing the potential and we feel privileged to contribute (in a minor way) to this project.

Progress on objectives

We have 3 goals for this project,

1.

Giving content creators a risk-free platform to publish ultra-resolution storytelling and monetize it;

Progress:
We’ve done extensive research on how we think this would work inside the Micrio ecosystem and compared this with the current state of Web Monetization.

We do still intend to work towards this goal, but there is a growing doubt that the current state of Web Monetization does not fully match the vision we have in mind for its implementation within Micrio.

We are still looking into the possibilities of how we would do this.

2.

Providing the development community with an open source library to provide risk-free publishing and monetization in other domains;

Progress:
We deviated somewhat from this goal, as we think that the
current meta tag approach is easy to understand and does
not need a library to use it. We do think that this approach is lacking in features, so we are currently working on an open-source github repository with our working samples and documentation on how to use them. This is not the deliverable we had in mind, but we feel that this is also valuable for the Web Monetization community.

3.

Improve Web Monetization technology by actively joining the discussion and development with a real-world case.

Progress:
Based on our current experience with using the technology and the barriers we ran into we have some thoughts how the web monetization API could be improved. Planning to share that in our final report.

Key activities

  • We made an analysis of the possible ways to monetize the content in the micrio platform. We’ve documented this.
  • We created a business model sheet to see what was the best way to monetize the content in the platform and what was a feasible amount. Unfortunately this sheet contains data about our organization revenue which are private. We have however written a community post about our research into the business model.
  • Based on that analysis we created several prototypes within the Micrio platform both with web monetization API and the interledger protocol.
    The results are bundled in two github repositories including extensive documentation in the readme:
    Q42/GrantForTheWeb.MicrioConcepts
    Q42/GrantForTheWeb.ChromeExtension

  • We have tested our result with consumers to see if they are willing to pay for the content using one of the prototyped monetization streams and how they feel about it. We have written a community post about this.

Communications and marketing

After receiving the grant for our project, we have written about our grant project and Web Monetization on our company blog. The post can be found on our blog (written in dutch).

Next to the company blog we have created a series of posts on the Web Monetization community, explaining the different steps and hurdles we have taken in the last few weeks.

What’s next?

Most of the work we wanted to do is done. Although we just shared a serie of posts with some of our work, including our proposal for changes in the Web Monetization API specification. So based on the feedback we will receive or ideas that might pop up, changes are possible in our work in the next few weeks.

The platform Micrio might implement the current version of Web Monetization API. But that decision is mainly in the hands of the product manager of Micrio.

Next to the work we are planning to write a blogpost on our engineering blog and maybe on our ‘default’ blog as well.

And finally we are planning to give a talk on an upcoming Front-end Forward meetup in Amsterdam, organised by de Voorhoede.

You can follow our plans & progress on our Trello board.

Discussion (1)

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chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

Appreciate the honesty in this report. As a community, we will need to start coming together and collecting where we see continued evolution in these tools. I would urge you to be more opinionated on what needs to happen for the ecosystem to evolve. These early years of grantmaking are important testing grounds for future open calls, grants, and investments in the ecosystem. How can we help you do that, especially with your excellent and well-organized documentation?