Web Monetization Community

Matthew Linares
Matthew Linares

Posted on

Monetized comments in the media — Grant Report #3

CommentX shares Coil micropayments with our website’s users for their contributions. Specifically, readers who comment on our articles can have their comment highlighted which then includes their Interledger wallet address in the page source, allowing them to enjoy a share.

This is designed to encourage engagement and lead to new incentive streams in media e.g. by financially supporting researchers whose comments enrich articles.

To do this, we had to make it easy to onboard our users by automatically creating an Interledger wallet so that they could receive micropayments with minimum friction. This involved an Interledger wallet processor’s API and we had a lot of trouble maintaining access to this API due to service outages. We sought alternatives but realised that the ecosystem is small and there is no clear roadmap to resolve this.

This severely affected our ability to test and develop our feature, such that we concluded that it is currently unviable to use Interledger within this kind of innovative, user-onboarding workflow.

CommentX in action

Project Update

We deployed a beta version of our functionality for testing and have published relevant content to attract users who are interested in digital money systems, and thus likely to experiment. However, on-boarding was a challenge, complicated by dependency on third-party API as described above.

We will continue looking at ways to attract users to use the feature.

Progress on objectives

Our Github repository includes recent changes: https://github.com/openDemocracy-org/gfw-comment-incentives

Key activities

Most outputs, including the live comment highlighting feature, are demonstrated here alongside the articles that we commissioned to attract users to the project: opendemocracy.net/commentx

Communications and marketing

We published material explaining the motivation and context of the project:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/digitaliberties/money-systems-are-being-rebuilt-whos-in-control/

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/digitaliberties/user-comments-are-critical-debate-should-we-pay-for-them/

We also commissioned a group of writers prominent in the web3 space to write on related issues in order to bring our project to the attention of people interested in relevant themes:

https://twitter.com/keikreutler/status/1425821120461148160

https://twitter.com/jayapapaya/status/1448603418575220740

https://twitter.com/lottiland/status/1470830701578760208

What’s next?

We still hope to attract a user base of commenters to comment with a view to having comments highlighted and receiving rewards.

We will continue to test the system going forward and look for any tweaks we can make it work. We will push updates to this to the open Github repo and we encourage the community to make suggestions for how we can improve this system.

What community support would benefit your project?

Are you a Coil user? Do you have an opinion on digital politics and other issues? Please try out our system which you can find active on the articles listed here: opendemocracy.net/commentx – if your comment gets highlighted, you will receive a share of the proceeds!

We still believe that there is scope to introduce incentives into comments system in this way. We welcome the community to suggest micropayment or other technologies that enable this in a developer-friendly way.

Relevant links/resources (optional)

Articles published using the CommentX feature, including those commissioned to drive interest in the project: opendemocracy.net/commentx

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