Off to Slattery’s tomorrow night and I’m really looking forward to hearing Mark Pesce speak. I haven’t read any of his books – it’s really bloomin’ hard to find them – but I have listened to hyperpeople. All 40 minutes of it, several times through (there’s still bits I’m struggling with).
I would’ve paid for that content by the way. Ok, maybe not up front as I had always assumed the guru of VRML would be a geeky nerd who talks in a monotone. (Hmmm You’ve had to sit still and listen to that type too, admit it). But paying after listening? Or even during? Absolutely! I would’ve thrown, oh maybe a dollar or 2 in the pot.
But. Even if there had been a PayPal donation button on the screen, chances are I wouldn’t have bothered. Too hard. Paying by PayPal is the equivalent of seeing a gossip mag in a newsagency, putting it on the desk, scooting across 2 streets dodging traffic to the bank, lining up, getting a bank cheque for $1.20, paying the bank a small fee, running back… only by this time, another page errr store has caught your eye and you are off window shopping again.
Of course, Amazon’s 1-Click might’ve helped. But in spite of appeals, it looks as though that technology is locked up tight. DigiCash with its anonymity, seemed promising waaay back in ’94 to deliver but they took the wrong distribution approach.
So here’s the question I keep coming back to – why pay with real life cash? Virtual worlds are big enough and ugly enough to support their own currency. MMORPGS already do, and trades between virtual worlds are growing – but there is no lingua franca, no common koine. I know I’ve mentioned a New$Dollar or MicrosoftBuck, which would operate the same way the US Dollar does now, with other economies pegging to it. Then throw in a foreign exchange. Eventually one to the real world currencies. The problem is, this economic model which works so well in the real world, has a massive flaw. Google would immediately notice and exploit it, as is their wont. And then! finally! we’d have what is currently missing online – a nice viral, virtual, commoditized, stored value, medium of transmitting a unit of account. Which incidentally is what currency has always been – a pixel substitute for a goat, or wool, or apples, or whatever cavemen traded. Sheesh you know what I mean 🙂
Ah well. gtg … to the bank.