edgeio has just launched a new paid content product, which will be of particular interest to online publishers and media producers. They're calling it "transactional classifieds", which is an awkward name for a potentially very useful e-commerce service. Other terms being bandied around to promote this are "distributed commerce" (better) and "peer to peer commerce" (hmmm).Online classifieds startup
edgeio CEO Keith Teare explained it in an email to R/WW as "a classified ad where the steps to buying the product or service advertised are reduced to a single "in-place" purchase flow. These transactional classifieds are entirely distributable via "share this" buttons." In other words, you can purchase a product or service online, on any website, via an e-commerce widget. All that both buyers and sellers need is an account with edgeio.
Premium content (reports, analysis, etc) is a business model that Read/WriteWeb will be entering into very soon - I've been planning this for some time. So potentially I could use edgeio for that. Indeed edgeio used R/WW as a potential example on the Paid Content homepage (I didn't find out till I was briefed on this news).
A taste of things to come?
How it Works
You can see it in action already on lockergnome, to complement an announcement being made today at Gnomedex. And here's another current real example from earningscast, a blog run by Keith Teare that enables you to listen to company earnings calls. On the webpage you see the following:
After you click the 'View content for $29.95' button, you get a pop-up like this:
You pay using a coupon code from your edgeio user page (which you pay for by credit card or Paypal). Then you can either view the content directly on the webpage or download it. Note that if you view on the webpage, you can always go back later and get the premium content - your purchase data is stored on your edgeio user page.
Checkout, then listen to the premium content...
Content creators can upload their content at http://www.edgeio.com/view/paidcontent one item at a time, or they can submit it in bulk using edgeioÄôs 'edgedirect' service.
In terms of revenue share, the content owner typically gets 80% and edgeio 20%, but edgeio's share could be more depending on the details.
Also note the "Resell this Content" option, which enables users to on-sell the content via a widget - if the content owner has enabled that option. For content owners this means they can distribute their content on multiple websites; while for sellers it means potential affiliate fees. The content owner defines how its 80% is split with an affiliate.
Inside the edgeio paid content system
This is probably going to be a well-used service for content and media providers on the Web - e.g. I can think of a number of ways to utilize it for my own business. The system works for Video, audio, ebooks, files for download, text for in-place reading or any combination. Also "micropayments" have long been a dream for the Web and this service by edgeio looks like it may 'unlock' that elusive business model.
One thing that came to mind when evaluating this new service is: doesn't eBay's Paypal already offer a relatively easy way to sell content or services online? Yes it does, although Paypal is essentially a fairly simple e-commerce service - it doesn't have an 'unlock content' structure, a paid content storage system, widgets or other distributed commerce mechanisms. Paypal also has a maddening fee structure! edgeio's system will take care of the e-commerce transactions, as well as the extra services, so it may well be a threat to Paypal.
Of course the proof will be in the pudding and while there will be no shortage of content producers signing up to the service, it remains to be seen whether 'consumers' accept this type of business model.
What do you think of this new service? Would you use it, either as a buyer or a seller?