We've added payment options to our experimental Surfshare service for bloggers and news sites.
Tipping: If you visit a page you really enjoy, you can tip the blogger a small amount e.g. 25 cents to $5.00. Your tips will be aggregated on a regular billing statement. In fact, if you like this post, click the Leave a tip link in the right sidebar below Your Site Activity.
Larger contributions and Surfshare micropayments:
If you visit a Surfshare-enabled site regularly enough, you'll occasionally be reminded to support the site. View the popup shown below. Or, you can trigger the popup by visiting a number of pages on this site - or just click this link, or here or here.
1) You can authorize the site to be included in your Surfshare bill. Currently, one cent will be added to your bill for each story you read (unique stories, not visits).
2) You can choose to make a larger contribution to the site e.g. $5 - $100.
Both of these kinds of payments will be aggregated in the same monthly statement mentioned above.
3) You can choose to keep reading for free ... and we'll remind me you again at a later date.
Our goal is to give the user as much control over the process as possible. Users can cancel tips, donations and micropayments any time before paying their first bill. We hope to add more account and privacy options soon.
Disclaimers: Surfshare is an experimental service, still in alpha. We do not intend to collect any revenue from this service until 2010. Readers will have a chance to reset their balances up until we commence billing.
Is finding the news within the clutter of your Twitter stream harder each day?
Since many tweets don't include any news - and the ones that do don't include clear headlines or easily discernible URLs which might indicate its source, the SurfShare inbox sorts through your Twitter stream and displays the actual headlines of news stories in an easily readable form.
You can sort them by date or popularity. If multiple friends have tweeted the same story, they appear together.
As you read stories in your inbox, SurfShare tags ands them to your history so you can easily find them later.
You can also add your SurfShare Inbox RSS feed to your favorite feed reader e.g. Google Reader:
Please give it a try - but be patient with us as SurfShare remains in early alpha testing. Please share any bugs or feedback with jeff at newscloud dot com. Try the SurfShare Inbox. Bloggers, add SurfShare activity badges to your web site.
We've implemented a working prototype of some of the micropayment ideas that have been bounced around in blog postings between NewsCloud, Steve Outing and Nieman Labs. It's called SurfShare.
SurfShare provides an experimental sandbox for testing user interaction models and business rules around micropayment systems. You can see the technology in action on a handful of blogs and at the SurfShare site.
The activity widget gives the readers feedback on their activity on this site with links to their SurfShare history, which provides a searchable, auto-tagged listing of all the stories viewed on participating sites. Readers can also mark the page as a Favorite. The top stories widget provides a list of links to the site's most popular pages. More widgets and features are in development.
Keep in mind, SurfShare is a prototype for testing approaches to micropayments. At this early stage, we do not collect funds from readers or enforce metered limits. As Steve Outing writes, there are probably a number of different ways to implement such rules. We'll likely add some of these features soon. Steve has suggested that SurfShare be used to specifically study different approaches in an organized research effort - we concur.
Some variation of these models could provide a basis for future revenue for bloggers, news sites and other independent publishers. SurfShare does a good job of showing the potential of such systems:
It provides a simple way for bloggers and news publishers to measure
the reading habits of and provide feedback to individual readers
It's transparent for readers, tracking and benefits begin without any sign up
We'd very much appreciate your feedback on SurfShare. Post your comments here or email Jeff at newscloud dot com. As this technology is quite new and will change rapidly, check back here often for updates or follow us on twitter: @reifman, @surfsharenews, @newscloud.
SurfShare is alpha software.
SurfShare is not scaled for production
Reader activities are not yet synchronized across multiple computers, browsers and devices
No monetary integration exists at this time
Much more is possible than is implemented currently
Here's a brief excerpt of his analysis - full pdf download below:
The charge in Professor Hanson Hosein’s invitation to engage in Independent Study states “I’m looking for a couple of MCDM’ers to act as consultants for us to document the process of creating the site, and evaluate its effectiveness. Upon your recommendation, the MCDM and MediaSpace may elect to “adopt” the Facebook site at the end of the quarter, and keep it going as a UW Property (and as an example of a new business model).” In this paper on my Independent Study, I will attempt to analyze the creation, Spring Quarter execution, and potential of in:site from a business perspective. I also want to make a clear distinction up front. In my review with the students, Florangela Davila, and Jeff Reifman, on June 2, 2009, it was very clear that the educational mission was at the forefront. One student commented, “Remember, this was a class to develop us as modern journalists – we weren’t trying to run a business.”
In:site is, however, an excellent training ground for the use of multimedia in journalism, and arts & entertainment is a productive subject matter area for multimedia. I think it would be worthwhile to explore the possibility of adding the in:site application to the UW Daily as a new channel of distribution. The Daily is not yet on Facebook, it already has part of the staff dedicated to Arts & Entertainment, and this would provide a new multimedia outlet for UW related content. In addition, the Daily can use this social media application as a way of expanding beyond the traditional print and online models of student newspapers. Facebook presents the Daily with new opportunities for advertising revenue as well. I would be glad to work with you and the management of the Daily to entertain this idea.
"In:site was one of the most successful classes I have taken at the University of Washington. It is well known that the best learning is done through experience, and this class was filled with experiential learning. As journalism is continuing to find a growing niche online and popularity with multimedia content, this course tapped into the changing face of media. It gave a journalism student insight to not only writing on a deadline, but formatting their stories using html, marketing them through twitter or facebook, and implementing mixed media components directly into the site. In this sense, it broke down the traditional roles in a newsroom, as copy editor, layout design, marketing, technical help, reporter and photojournalist and allowed the students to develop skill sets in all of these areas of knowledge. Understanding every angle of producing an online publication trained them as true entrepreneurial journalists. I feel confident walking into my summer internship as an online reporter for a local paper, that I have gained all of the necessary skills to accurately report a story, have well produced multimedia content, and put it on the internet myself. - SarahJ
"Newscloud on Facebook is an excellent tool for students to learn about building online news communities." - LauraM
Today, we are releasing the summary of findings from Dr. Greenhow and her team which resulted from The Daily community, a Facebook news application published by the student newspaper covering the University of Minnesota.
Counter to the decline in young people’s (print‐based) reading for pleasure and traditional media
consumption is a noted increase in out‐of‐school online reading and writing through online fan fiction
and social network sites. Yet, according to the Pew research institute, over one third of people under
25 get no news on a daily basis. However, teens spend many hours a week online (a recent British
study said 31), particularly on Facebook ‐‐ the most‐trafficked social media site in the world. Facebook
has more than 250 million active members.
Can youth be persuaded to critically engage in news and conversation ‐‐ on Facebook? Can they feel a
sense of community? Furthermore, can their involvement translate into real‐world actions, or will it
consist solely of virtual activism? And, if we understood how young people prefer to manipulate,
produce and talk through information online, would that move us closer to understanding how to
develop successful media‐rich and educational environments?
Answering such questions is critical. If we hope to inform, educate and mobilize an engaged citizenry —
as the vision for not only the future of news industries but also for full participation in a 21st century democracy says we should — we need to make sharing news and experiences fit easily into teens' lives
and be easily tracked and observed to ensure success.
1. Correlations between visits to social network sites and visits to news Web sites, as well as other online behaviors, suggest the potential of integrating applications like The Daily into young people’s online social networking routines.
2. As a vehicle to express opinions, stay informed, and connect with a local community, social media publications like The Daily may have an advantage over traditional news sites.
3. Interest in The Daily application’s focal topic — University of Minnesota community issues — increased. Daily users mostly used the application for what it was intended, namely, to engage them in campus-related issues.
4. The Daily application attracted a base of users who were already active in the community. The profile for these users and the high rate of viral invites, suggest that social media publications such as The Daily might not only attract “influentials,” but that these highly connected individuals will also invite their friends.
5. Examination of digital literacy practices reveals Daily users engaged in scanning stories rather than reading in full. Users participated in a range of non-school online reading and writing activities via social network sites, suggesting the potential for future applications.