Imagine if newsagents had to sell single articles? An unlikely scenario as it makes neither practical nor financial sense for anyone concerned – journalists, publishers, newsagents or the consumers. Online however, this granular sales model makes total sense, yet an option for casual, micro-payment, often referred to as the Holy Grail for both internet entrepreneur and online publisher alike, has remained elusive.

However, the wait may be over. With its launch, micro-payments start-up, Tibit ( have sent out a game-changing message to the publishing industry that prompted Alexander Klopping, founder of monetising platform specialists, Blendle, to declare “the micropayments war has now started”.

How many times have we all wanted to pay for a single article as opposed to subscribe for the whole journal? To say ‘thanks’ in meaningful way for free software, or show your appreciation to a blogger and reward them with the equivalent of a coffee? Tibit solves that problem by enabling consumers to reward creators and publishers of great online content, via a simple, intuitive mechanism that ensures content becomes valuable in its own right.

Setting the fees

Value is key. Publishers struggle to draw revenue from their online brand extensions having initially offered content for free. Those who foresaw the consequences of free granular content realised that finding a solution was imperative. Academics and analysts put their heads-together but concluded the problem unsolvable, with the sheer weight of cognitive load – deciding to pay or not, then evaluating a fair price, before actually paying and confirming the transaction – very quickly overwhelmed any inherent desire to do the right thing.

Thankfully, to Tibit’s Founder & Chief Technical Officer, Justin Maxwell, the solution became obvious: “Consider a comparable real-life scenario of rewarding for great service. Personally, the amount I tipped or donated invariably depended on the coins in my pocket. And more often than not, the tips I gave were made in an impulsive and spontaneous manner. Therefore, if it was easy to reward and put a smile on someone’s face, I tipped. If not, I didn’t. Eureka. The unsolvable problem did not need a technical solution so much as a cognitive one.”

A revenue solution

The solution to paid-for content had to be as simple. Like dropping an arbitrary number of coins into a guitar case for an anonymous busker with a small audience, and equally small repertoire. It had to allow the consumer to pre-set an amount they were happy to spend freely, without a second’s thought, and often in a spontaneous manner. Furthermore, the value had to be small enough to spend again and again, but large enough to make a real difference to the recipient. Thus, it must be the online equivalent of the coins into the guitar case and, crucially, it had to have the feel-good factor for all concerned.

The result? Justin again: “It’s a binary decision to spend and reward your pre-set amount with a simple click, or tap. Think of it as a monetised ‘like’ button and just as easy to use; one that can be used to access great content, encourage community engagement and bolster subscription, or to simply say “Thanks, keep up the good work!”.”

As a complement to the evolving digital landscape, Tibit co-exists with both traditional advertising and subscription, offers a real-world alternative to adblocking and allows publishers to retain control of their own content, on their own site. By charging only 2p/3c per tib the whole of the remainder goes to the creator or publisher, and with one simple click or tap it’s truly frictionless. As Justin concludes: “The best bit is how it makes everyone feel and, of course, that aspect is much better experienced than explained, so, what are you waiting for, go to and your first two tibs are on Tibit!”

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Carl Beetham
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