help for publishers

Frequently-asked questions

I'm interested! How do I learn more about signing my publication up as a bit˘ents partner?

bitcents is just starting out (and we're still a very small company!) so unfortunately we can't offer open sign-ups yet, but we'll work as fast as we can to get you set up. Please fill out this form, and a member of our partnerships team will be in touch with you soon.

Who should use bitcents?

Online publishers of all sizes and types can benefit from partnering with bitcents. But as with any change to user experience on your site, the decision should be considered carefully, based on the type of content you produce and the particulars of your audience.

Your content will affect the feasibility of adopting a paid revenue model. As micropayments become more widely used, we'll better understand the market. But some types of content will more easily embrace the shift than others. Local news, news for a particular trade or industry, scholarly publications, and other niche content all remain scarce. On the other hand, syndicated content and widely-available national or international news are plentiful. Many sites, of course, offer content that falls into different categories, and bitcents allows them to create pricing models that reflect those differences.

You should also give careful thought to your audience, who should be your first priority. We hope you'll partner with bitcents because it provides long-term benefit to your readers. Estimates vary, but many seem to agree that online advertising becomes a sustainable revenue stream when a site has around 2 million unique visitors per month. For many local, niche and industry sites, that number is far out of reach. In such cases, bitcents is a perfect solution.

How does bitcents work?

bitcents provides a standard way for consumers to pay for content they read online. Consumers log in once, and their account is debited whenever they visit a priced page on the site of a bitcents publisher partner. Each publisher sets the price for its content, and is paid directly by bitcents monthly.

What if I already have my own online subscription system?

We can work with you to integrate bitcents alongside your current paywall system. By integrating bitcents, you'll benefit from casual traffic in addition to your regular subscribers. We'll even work with you to determine pricing levels that optimize the value for both your regular subscribers and the new readers bitcents will bring you.

Why shouldn't I develop my own paywall?

Paywalls make life difficult for consumers. With so many sites on the web today, the thresh-hold for wooing a new subscriber is very high. Paywalls also make it more difficult for potential new readers to discover and read your content. bitcents allows you to earn revenue from your content while minimizing the inconvenience to your current and future readers.

How do I integrate bitcents?

Integration can be as easy as adding a few lines of code to your story pages and adding two php files to your site. We're happy to work with your webmaster team to make sure integration is a smooth process.

But won't integrating bitcents weaken my relationship with my readers?

No, not at all. As you can see on our demo site, after registering, your readers interact with bitcents through your site, which means your brand remains their primary contact. Because bitcents is building a network of partners, though, you can benefit from the traffic of new or casual readers as well.

What is a subscriber network?

bitcents is a payment platform. In addition to partnering with publishers, bitcents also partners with subscriber networks. Developer-built subscriber networks charge users for their consumption and can provide users with innovative additional services--whether that's new tools for sharing or discovering news or creative delivery methods, such as mobile or collated physical copies. That innovation is the reason you give bitcents readers a limited license for personal use of content in any form for three months after paying for that specific content.

I'm already a publisher partner. Can I also start my own subscriber network?

Yes, but there are certain restrictions. Your subscriber network must make its relationship with a publisher clear, and as a publisher you cannot treat traffic from your subscriber network any differently than you treat other bitcents traffic. In addition, your subscriber network and publisher accounts will be billed and paid separately, and your subscriber network must meet the same requirements as other subscriber networks.

How much can I charge for stories?

You can charge whatever you like, as long as your prices are accurately represented in your published schedule of prices. You can even charge different prices for different types of content, or a different price for new and old stories. You can also change prices, but any price increase must be publicized on your schedule of prices for at least two weeks prior to the change taking effect.

You should give careful thought to setting your prices, and we at bitcents encourage you to aim for long-term sustainability in the prices you set. Remember that news micropayments are still very new to consumers, and publishers who overcharge risk alienating current readers and deterring future traffic.

How much does bitcents cost?

Our processing fees are low because we're committed to making news micropayments a viable long-term revenue stream for online publishers. Current processing fees are $0.002 + 8% (one-fifth of a US cent plus eight per cent). The $0.002 goes to bitcents, while the subscriber network keeps the 8%.

Effective rates:
If you charge 1˘ per story, the transaction fee rate is 28%.
At 3˘ per story, the transaction fee rate drops to 14.66%.
At 5˘ per story, the transaction fee rate is 12%.
At 25˘ per story, the transaction fee rate is 8.8%.

How do I know you won't gouge me by raising prices once I've integrated?

We're committed to making news micropayments a viable revenue stream for you as a publisher. We won't increase our fees, and we would actually like to decrease fees as our business matures.

Why do I have to price my content in US dollars?

Consumers are interested in reading the best content on the web, regardless of where it comes from. A universal pricing mechanism makes it easier for a consumer to understand the cost of a story. Since we're an American company and since most people know the value of a US dollar relative to their local currency, we settled on USD. We are exploring creative solutions that would allow charging in other currencies without sacrificing simplicity for the end user, and subscriber networks are welcome to charge users in any currency, but the networks themselves will be billed in dollars.

Does bitcents or the bitcents system claim any intellectual property rights over my content?

No, we don't. Upon payment for particular content, you agree to allow the paying user a limited license for personal consumption of that content in any form or medium for three months from the date of initial purchase. As a corollary to that license, you authorize the user's subscriber network to provide them with personal access to that content in other forms or media (e.g by email, through specific devices, or via email). The license does not affect your intellectual or property rights and does not permit the user to republish or distribute your material to others.

When do I get paid?

Publishers are paid on the first (US) business day after the 10th of each month for the previous month's usage. If you go live as a partner after the 15th of the month, you will receive your first payment in the second month after integration.

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