View Full Version : Bitpass

07-07-2004, 11:00 PM
I have been looking at a service called Bitpass http://bitpass.com and wonder if anyone has used it or knows of it.

It is a way to charge small amounts of money for access to content on a site. A person can charge as little a a penny if they wanted to. Spenders create an account and then add money to it in as little as $3.00 dollar increments and then can access your content by logging in and using the "pass". It looks like it may be a good solution for sites that have something to offer that is not high dollar where regular card fees would make it impossible to offer the service.

I would be interested in hearing others thoughts on it and thought there may be some out there that could take advantage of such a service.

07-08-2004, 07:05 AM
There's been ideas like this floating around for years, and they haven't yet taken off. The main problem is that it requires the user to do so much work -- sign up with some unknown third party, pay a downpayment, then use the pass. Far too many obstacles for most people, unless they *really* like your content! The general rule for shopping is the fewer barriers to access, the better.

I think that alternative approaches work better. The site Macintouch does a combination of donation, and an Amazon affiliate store (which works for them, since they are a tech site). I've also seen people give free access to some content online, but then ask you to pay to subscribe to an email newsletter, or password protected area of the site. None of these are perfect for everyone - you have to match your revenue method to your content model.


07-08-2004, 07:48 AM
Yes I agree with you that the process of signing up with the third party service can be an obstacle for many. I do think that if you are planning on a full line of services that the better solution would be to use your own shopping cart or set up. Of course the draw back there is that you do have to still find a way to process the payments by CC card which can get a bit expensive for someone whos' main focus may not be commerce.

I went ahead and took the plunge and started an account with them. For those who may be thinking about it you can put your premium directory in /var/www/ and if you are using the php version it goes in /var/www/html/ . That is the set up I used and it does work with an IP based WH account. Didn't try it on any of my name based accounts but do not think that should make any difference.

I think alot depends on how comfortable you can make your users with the third party company. If you can detail the service and what it may take to get signed up then I think it may work well. Even with a shopping cart you have to go through the process of signing up and supply information. I think also that if they find that they other companies that use the service may be of interest to them it is an added incentive to buy the pass. Once they have bought the pass they can use at any of the other sites wich means they do not have to sign up again to gain access elsewhere.

I am still not 100% sold on the idea and the documentation on the Bitpass site is a bit weak but since it is not costing me any large outlay of money I figure it is worth a try.

07-25-2004, 06:34 AM
I wanted to find out what was being said about BitPass on the web and see if I could find more info. I did a search and came up with a couple links I thought others may be interested in reading.

Misunderstanding Micropayments (http://www.scottmccloud.com/home/essays/2003-09-micros/micros.html) by Scott McCloud 9/11/03 is a response to Clay Shirky's article Fame vs Fortune: Micropayments and Free Content (http://shirky.com/writings/fame_vs_fortune.html). I think both are worth reading to give some insight on the concepts of Micropayments if you are not familiar with them.

There was a post on waxy.org http://www.waxy.org/archive/2003/10/13/paypal_c.shtml 10/13/2003 that was posted when PayPal temporarily froze BitPas's account.

One thing I liked about BitPass was that it was easy to sign up for and had no sign up fees or monthly fees. The interface between their site and your own is simple and does not require much work on the Webmasters side.

I think this is something worth keeping and eye on and again if you are selling a large amount of products this is not the way to go. If you happen to be an artist or hobbyist then this could be something worth your time. If you happen to be a not for profit or even want to set up a simple Donation link to help support your site BitPass has that option without setting a full blown account with another service.

07-26-2004, 01:02 AM
Great links Shaun, thanks for them.