I really like Andre Torrez’s idea for a Reader Meter. Basically it’s an system that lets you subscribe to sites, tracks how much you read them and sends you an optional bill at the end of the month based on how much you read or used the site.
It addresses a couple of things I don’t like about the subscription model. Firstly, it avoids the situation where you subscribe to a site, read it for a couple of days and don’t look at it again for a few months until you get an email telling you that your credit card has been billed for the next three months.
Secondly, it takes the pressure off blog writers to keep – ugh – “producing content” in an effort to give subscribers their money’s worth. Most of the blogs I read are not their writer’s main gig. Lots of them have families to support, kids to raise, and other jobs to do. I only want people to write when they want to write, not when they feel they have to. Wouldn’t it be great for bloggers to be able to make a little money from their site without plastering it with dumb ads or having to take the step of “going pro”?
I can only imagine how difficult it would be to get something like this up and running, but I hope someday someone works out the technical, financial and trust challenges it would face and gives it a go. This is how I want to pay for what I read on the web – and I do want to pay for it.