A widespread business model for websites is to serve you ads based on data they collect about you. Those ads might be annoying and come at the cost of your personal privacy, but you get to browse the site for free. Of course, ad block is a thing - there’s your solution! Well, that’s certainly not ideal for the website, as that causes them to lose a source of revenue. You might feel a bit guilty - it’s not that you don’t want to support the website, you just really don’t need to see another ad about a toaster oven. Still, trading your personal data for content isn’t something you’re comfortable with.

Here’s a list of your requests:

  • Access to content
  • No annoying ads
  • No invasion of personal data
  • Support the website

Okay. Some good news - we can make this happen! How? Web Monetization.

Web Monetization allows you to stream micropayments (send tiny payments over time) directly to the website. The website can detect these payments and turn off the ads, and further enhance your website experience if they choose to do so. You get access to content without invasion of personal data, and you get to support the website directly through tiny payments over time. For more details on Web Monetization, check out the Web Monetization site and this interview with Stefan Thomas (Coil CEO).

Of course, Web Monetization isn’t an instant to solution to your ad woes. It’s still in its infancy, so it will take some time until it’s widely adopted.

@elliot and I continued our discussion for the Grant for the Web x DEV hackathon after writing our articles on our ideation process and our initial ideas. If you haven’t read them yet…SPOILER ALERT: we ditched all of our ideas (but we posted them on the Grant for the Web forum - thanks for the suggestion @cyberdees!). Feeling a bit disillusioned, we revisited what we wanted to achieve with this hackathon: help grow the community around Web Monetization. We think the first step towards this effort is to raise awareness and build understanding.

So, let’s build Akita! It’s a browser extension that gives you insight into your involvement with Web Monetization. Akita shows you your top visited sites, how much time you’re spending on them, and whether those sites are monetized or not.

If you’re looking to start supporting websites by streaming payment, you’ll have a good idea of which sites you can directly support through Web Monetization. If you’re already using a Web Monetization payment provider, Akita gives you insight into your contributions to the website by showing you the time spent on the site and the amount of payment streamed as a result.

As Web Monetization becomes more common on websites, you’ll be able to see the evolution through Akita, as your favourite sites join the Web Monetization community. All of the data collected about the user’s browsing and streamed payments is stored in local browser storage, so all of this information stays in the user’s hands.

Overall, our goal with Akita is to increase Web Monetization exposure and awareness, and to help people understand how Web Monetization fits in with their regular browsing. We want to give people who aren’t using a Web Monetization provider (e.g. Coil) a way to engage in payment streaming. As more Web Monetization providers pop up, users can choose providers that fit their needs based on the browsing data presented by Akita.

@elliot and I started working on Akita last week, so we’re still working on the implementation details and development. For a peek into the technical details of Akita, head over to his article: Hackathon Update: Breaking Our Idea Down Into Dog-Treat-Sized Tasks.

...and if you’re curious about where we’re at, check out our repo: esse-dev/akita.

High resolution emoji images in the cover photo are from here.