March 23, 2016
The uncomfortable world of asking for money on the internet
As an old Marketing guy, I've always been fascinated by what nowadays is called "monetizing". That is, asking for money for something on the internet.
Everyone loves free stuff. I've worked hard for my money and I resent having to give it away. Speaking for myself, I have always disliked paying for parking, and since I live in Arizona I've never experienced a "toll booth", the thought of which just kind of makes me crazy. If I go to a website that requires me to pay a fee, I click away. At the end of YouTube videos, when the sale pitch starts, or there's a request for a donation, I go watch another video.
But doing all of this free stuff does cost me money. I have to pay for this computer, the internet access, the electricity that runs it, the coffee that I drink in order to keep my eyes open so early in the morning. The list goes on and on. And it always makes me think of people who are creating stuff on the internet, and how they finance it.
So I think of the stuff that people are happy to pay for. I think of sporting events, where people pay for tickets, pay for parking (!), pay for meals, etc. Whenever I see someone walking by in public wearing something that has the logo of their favorite team, I know that they are happy to pay for that stuff, happy to support their team. So, it's not the paying for things that people dislike, it's paying for things that they don't want to pay for. You know, like taxes.
When I taught Graphic Design, I used to joke that I wanted to put a tip jar on my desk. Of course, that's ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I was well paid, and a few dollars in a fishbowl was such a goofy idea that it just tickled my sense of humor. Who tips a teacher? Well, no one does. Teachers are paid through tuition, and taxes.
My High School art teacher gave me one of the best lessons in economics that I've ever had. He told us that if someone complimented one of your drawings, offer to sell it to them. I started doing this in High School. No, not for big money, but for a candy bar, or something like that. You know, something of value. And it started for me with the uncomfortable world of asking for money. I did get candy bars, and eventually a career in Graphic Design, but there's a risk there - people will be surprised. They may resent your asking for money. But if they think you're worth it, they'll support you.
Posted by Brad Hall