The good news: Apocamon Episode 3: Attack of the Locusts is out now at Electric Sheep.

The bad news: he's gone some combination of "broke" and "crazy", and started using a micropayment system, so you have to entrust your personal info to some third party before you can read it.

Micropayments suck, and Lore from Brunching Shuttlecocks has a very good explanation of why. But I guess his bandwidth bills suck more...

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20 Responses:

  1. scosol says:

    Hmmm weird- IIRC e-sheep.com is hosted at Saturn-5-

    I know Steve who runs it and my understanding is that it's a sort-of co-op hosting deal- so bandwidth shouldn't be an issue-

    Also- My company is currently working with BitPass (the micropayment provider)- they seem to have some good ideas and are looking at things in a realistic manner. For the most part, I agree with the Brunching Shuttlecocks article, but the Bitpass stuff still has use for DRM/piracy prevention.
    (But that's a whole other can of worms entirely) :)

  2. ciphergoth says:

    Hmm, I agree with all of Lore's article, but I'm not sure that what it says is that "Micropayments suck" or even that it really strongly contradicts what McCloud says.

    • jwz says:

      Well, it says "micropayments suck if you want anyone to actually read your work." It depends on your goals: readers, or money. Pick one.

      • ciphergoth says:

        I think it says "Prepare to be very disappointed when you find out what fraction of those reading what you do actually give a damn about it".

        Pick one The thing is that readers actually *cost* money. Only a fraction of the people who read Apocamon 1 will read 3, but if the money keeps e-sheep online then it will have been worth it.

        • jwz says:

          There's a big difference between "give a damn about" and "love so much that you're willing to submit to some halfassed e-commerce mess, with associated risk, tracking, and spam."

          I know all about readers costing money, please. "Webcaster", remember?

          I think selling swag is a much better way of paying the bills than micropayments. Micropayment systems are too much of a pain in the ass, but I'll buy the t-shirt.

          Amusingly, Patrick says "CafePress has forbidden me from selling anymore Apocamon merchandise until I secure a release from Nintendo (!)"

          So now that Apocamon shirt I have is a collectors' item or something. Too bad the shirts CafePress makes look like they're ten years old after only three washings.

          • greyhame says:

            Of course, Lore recommends PayPal in his (otherwise very good) article, and that's not a much better halfassed e-commerce mess than micropayments are.

            • jwz says:

              To me, a site that uses PayPal instead of credit cards is saying, "I don't have my shit sufficiently together to get a merchant account, so you should by no means trust me with your money."

              • fxl says:

                The start up costs for most merchant card processing companies is a pretty high barrier of entry to most people. In the long run, the costs per transaction ARE cheaper, but only if you can get past that $2k startup, and the D&B ratings and such.

                Where as, someone can start with PayPall instantly. I think most have the goal of moving up in the world and using a better solution (And that solution somehow not being a Verisign product, or worse).

                • jonabbey says:

                  And it is more convenient for me the consumer to be able to just click the PayPal icon and enter my password than it would be to have to register my credit card info with yet another small site, with who knows what kind of security hygiene.

              • Is this to suggest that we should trust PayPal without money and personal information?

                'cause, uh, not really. Especially.

                • jwz says:

                  Um, no, that was exactly my point. I don't trust PayPal at all, and anyone who uses PayPal is so totally ghetto that I don't trust them either.

  3. jonabbey says:

    Well, I've chipped in about $20 to Patrick over the last year or so to encourage him to make with the 3rd Apocamon.. paying $3.00 from my PayPal account to get registered with the micropayment service so I can pay Patrick a quarter to get to read his stuff doesn't hurt financially, given how much I love his Apocamon stuff, but it does hurt from a convenience standpoint.

    Short of swag-whoring, he's stuck with the PBS/NPR problem, really, and that's hard to do when you don't have hundreds of thousands of people to beg with periodic fund drives who don't have anywhere else worthwhile to go on the dial.

    I do like the concept of Micropayments, and it seems like the drastically lowered marginal cost of shipping web content around should make it possible, but then again I'm the type to send a guy $20 on a voluntary basis on the hope I might get to pay him a quarter later on to see more of his stuff.

    • jwz says:

      I just think micropayments are totally lame, even if they could be made to work conveniently (which I'm not at all convinced is even possible, without some massively Big Brotherized infrastructure.)

      I'd much rather pay $NN/month for HBO than $N/movie; I'd much rather pay $NN/month for NNN "free" phone minutes than pay by the second. Even if paying per bit turns out to be cheaper than the flat rate, it's just psychologically irritating to have to micro-manage your own behavior at that fine-grained a scale.

      I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way, given the way the phone billing systems are going, and given that PPV cable channels seem to only be really successful for one-time sporting events.

  4. So he can experiment with comics all he likes, but he can't experiment with payment systems for comics? That doesn't seem very fair.

  5. zompist says:

    Curiously, I asked Lore this week about how much his bandwidth bills suck. He says he's paying about $400 a month in bandwidth, and gets half of that back from ads.

  6. insomnia says:

    Micropayments do suck. Fortunately, direct linking to files does not.