YouTube will let some users charge for rentals

YouTube's fledgling movie rental program will soon be taking an interesting twist: some content owners will soon be able to use a "self service" tool to charge for access to their videos, product manager Hunter Walk said this week in an interview with MediaPost.

Few details are currently available--none about revenue sharing, none regarding what kind of flexibility content owners will have over pricing, and no final timetable--but it's an interesting move on behalf of YouTube parent company Google, as it competes with Apple and Netflix for the growing online-video rental market.

YouTube first delved into … Read more

Facebook, PayPal green-light payment partnership

Here's another one of Facebook's gradual moves into the e-commerce world: The company announced Thursday a "strategic relationship" with eBay-owned payment system PayPal to make its technology available for the purchase of self-service ads as well as the Facebook Credits currency.

"We want to give the people who use Facebook, as well as advertisers and developers, a fast and trusted way to pay across our service," Dan Levy, director of payment operations at Facebook, said in a release. "As our business has grown, offering local methods of payment has become increasingly important for … Read more

Facebook looking to beef up e-commerce team

Facebook is turning up the heat on becoming a big player in the online payments world, according to a couple of job postings for a new "Facebook Payment Operations" team that recently appeared on its site.

The social network is seeking a "Payment Operations Strategist" to "work cross-functionally with the Product and Engineering teams to design tools and systems to serve our hundreds of millions of users and our ever-growing base of advertisers," as well as a risk management specialist to be based in its Dublin, Ireland, office to handle billing, payment, and security … Read more

Mobile payment service Zong expands to subscriptions

Mobile payment start-up Zong is extending its product to include subscription-based services, the company announced Tuesday.

Gaming site OMGPOP and News Corp.-owned photo-sharing site Photobucket have signed on as launch partners.

So here's what this means: instead of entering credit card billing information, subscribers to OMGPOP and Photobucket can bill their subscriptions directly to their phone bills by entering their cell phone numbers and then responding to a confirmation code. Previously, the Zong service could only be used for one-at-a-time micropayments rather than subscription-based services.

With Zong's new development, which is currently available only on U.S. … Read more

BOL 1060: PigeonNet beats DSL in South Africa

A 4GB file can traverse 60 miles in 2 hours by pigeon, but that gets you only 4 percent of the file over the South African Internet. We also keep you up to date on new Android phones from Motorola as well as open-source map info from TomTom.

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Motorola’s Android phone at Mobilize http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-10344891-265.html?

Obligatory Apple recap http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10348169-37.html http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/in-qa-steve-jobs-snipes-at-amazon-and-praises-ice-cream/ http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/09/09/somebody-has-to-say-it-its-time-for-itunes-lite/Read more

Google moves toward micropayments for newspapers

With micropayments and transaction platforms a buzzworthy sector of the Web right now, it's no surprise that Google would want to get in on the game.

But Mountain View's pitch is a little bit different: the payment platform it plans to build, according to Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab, is geared toward newspapers that want to charge for digital content.

Google's plans are detailed in a document the company sent to the Newspaper Association for America. The document, a response to a query from the association, also requested more information pertaining to paid-content models.

"While currently … Read more

Facebook calls for payment platform testers

Facebook posted a set of small announcements on its developer blog Wednesday, most notably a call for alpha testers for the virtual currency platform that it's finally launching after much speculation.

"We are currently conducting an alpha test in which select applications can accept Facebook Credits from users," the post wrote. "Our 250 million users can now buy Facebook Credits in 15 currencies and we believe that, as Facebook Credits become more broadly available on Platform, they will meaningfully improve developer monetization and provide a great experience for users."

Interested developers are encouraged to contact … Read more

The platform should be making more than Facebook--for now

You'd think, based on what the blogosphere is saying about dual sets of numbers in Advertising Age and VentureBeat, that Facebook has a new reason to freak out about revenues. Namely, signs point to the fact that the third-party developer platform that Facebook launched two years ago now collectively makes more money than the social network itself.

Well, of course it does.

From some of the headlines, you'd think that it were some sort of Silicon Valley equivalent of humans creating robots that eventually outstrip them in intelligence. While it's sort of amusing to think about Facebook … Read more

Wall Street Journal plans micropayments model

The Wall Street Journal is expected to begin charging nonsubscribers micropayments for access to individual articles, according to a report Sunday in The Financial Times.

Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of the Journal, told The Financial Times that "a sophisticated micropayments service" will launch this autumn. The system would charge small fees to occasional users who may not be willing to pay more than $100 a year for a subscription to WSJ.com, Thomson said.

The Journal is one of the few large daily newspapers still managing to charge for online content. The New … Read more

Google bringing pay-per-view to YouTube

So far, YouTube has been a free, advertising-supported service, but Google plans to build payment mechanisms into its video-sharing site.

"With respect to how it'll get monetized, our first priority is on the advertising side. We do expect over time to see micropayments and other forms of subscription models coming as well," said Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt after the company reported first-quarter profits Thursday. "We'll be announcing additional things in that area literally very, very soon."

The change in tactics will mark a new era for Google's attempt to make money from … Read more