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How Penny Per Page Might Work


There are many, many Web sites that started out as a hobby and then made it big. What made them big is a process called resonance. When a Web site resonates, it can grow a very large audience very quickly. Resonance comes from normal human behavior. People tend to do two things when they find a Web site they like: They tend to come back, and they tend to tell their friends. The retention and expansion of audience is resonance.

Napster, of course, is the poster child for resonance. When people found Napster there was a huge probability that they'd come back, and a huge probability that they'd tell their friends and that their friends would come back. So Napster went from zero to 50 million visitors per month in something like six months.

The Web allows any individual or business on the planet to create a Web site and reach a worldwide audience. Anyone can create something, upload it to the Web, and the entire world can see it. Any 10-year-old can learn the technology, and anyone with a computer has the tools, so there is no barrier to entry. At no time in the history of the world has there been this sort of freedom of speech or this sort of worldwide voice for this many individuals. The access and potential is virtually unlimited; resonance then picks the winners.

The Web allows true individual publishing and planet-spanning distribution. What is missing right now is any way for an individual or business to derive value from an innovative Web idea. With a penny per page, we would have a self-propagating combination of business and creativity: instant publishing with instant revenue for any individual who can access the Web.

Under the penny-per-page model, millions of businesses and individuals can try millions of ideas, and if they are successful they will directly and immediately benefit. They do not have to seek venture capital. They do not have to experiment with and invent convoluted business models. They do not have to hire large sales forces to sell ads.

What this means is that the richness and diversity of content and services on the Web will explode. In the process, individual people and businesses will, for the first time, be able to directly benefit from their work. A person with a great idea will be able to make a significant amount of money almost instantly because of resonance.