Tapping into micropayments, ten cents at a time

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Batemans Bay, the coastal haunt of many well-to-do Canberrans, has been picked by Fairfax Media to trial a new paywall technology.

Sydney-based start-up Tapview - founded by developers James Jansson, Alexey Feigin and Jordan Rastrick - is behind the pay-per-article approach which it aims to turn into a universal content access system.

Currently visitors to Australian publisher Fairfax Media's Batemans Bay Post/Moruya News and a sister publication in Ulladulla are offered subscriptions for $1 a week using Tapview's system, with ten-cent "instant access" to articles having been enabled and subsequently withdrawn.

Business Insider Australia, which is published by Fairfax's Allure Media unit, says two of the Australian group's regional newspapers - the Post and the Milton Ulladulla Times - are trialling the technology. Per-article charging "was enabled" on the Milton Ulladulla title but withdrawn "for undisclosed reasons".

Jansson envisages Tapview as a universal system, available everywhere, and believes the idea will catch on from region to region. He told Business Insider it would be hard to say no to "thousands of registered credit card users who are ready to pay".

Key to the concept is collecting readers' credit card and contact information, and the company says the micropayment system can be the first step to a conventional subscription: "Heavier PPV users under Tapview can trigger tailored subscription offers based on reader behaviour or target payment levels," it says. "Tapview manages subscription acquisition, access and renewal."

The Fairfax sites offer the option to cancel at any time, with the first 30 days free, "redeemable once".

Launched in 2015, Tapview had initial support from a NSW state government programme and then seed and private investment funding. Among members of its advisory board is news media industry veteran Chris Pash, who spent 17 years with AAP, as well as time with Factiva and Dow Jones, and is listed as an editor with Business Insider.

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