Monday, March 28, 2005

Micropayments add to people power

I guess this trend is now clear to me from behind my radar here at Lifesized. Two posts this week hammered home an important fact. People are starting to gain control over their income and how they spend it in new ways. Micropayments being now more and more accessible allows for people to buy in to new services they feel are worth the cost and also send money to friends. Here is a post from OhMyNews English edition on micropayments.

1. Rapid growth of micropayments. Although micropayments have met with skepticism in the past, much of that criticism was directed at paying for content, not services. Even in Korea, efforts to sell content haven't met with much success: It's services and products (even if only virtual) that people are willing to spend their hard-earned dimes on. A recent survey by Peppercoin and Ipsos-Insight revealed that from October 2003 to September 2004, the number of Americans who bought something online for $2 or less grew from 4 million to 14 million-figures that indicate Americans are growing more comfortable with micropayments. Expect this slice of the U.S. online market to explode well beyond iTunes.

........and a recent dutch development.

2. "Bill" (dutch) created by Dutch SNS bank with Microsoft,
LogicaCMG and payments specialist, Ogone, is to allow micropayments between people of up to 500 euro from MSN messenger accounts. They charge 3 euro per transaction. The plan is to sign up webshops for businesses to this new environment. It is also a "buddybanking" solution where people can easily send each other money. This targets the roughly 4,7 million dutch MSN account holders. This system is not really so much anything to do with micropaytments on second view. If each transactions costs 3 euro then it is beyond the micropayment threshold. I think more than anything it is a new format of money which we will be tracking to see how it evolves.

In the US there are a number of players working in this field, most notably Bitpass. One of my buddies, Gerry of PixelJump, based in NYC, is working on the mobile version for this service. Not sure where it is as right now. If any of you read anything on this subject please post in the comments as i am interested in getting a total refresh on where micropaytments are at, globally.

3. And then there is zopa equalizing the playing field. Click to hear a podcast with Zopa founders