Drumbeat: ideas and proposals from Singapore

December 22, 2009 § 3 Comments

Another goal of our Singapore presentation challenge was to seek our potential Drumbeat projects. A big part of Drumbeat is inviting people to propose projects that make web better and more open — and then helping the most promising ideas succeed. The Singapore event was our first opportunity to see what kind of projects people might put on the Drumbeat table. Here are five of the eight ideas presented.

Idea #1. Free content hat tip system, presented by Preetam Rai. Click to watch as open video or use Flash version below.

Idea #2. Improving the open font library, presented by Jon Phillips. Click to watch as open video or use Flash version below.

Idea #3. Assisting bots in crawling the web better, presented by KahWee.

Idea #4. Better automated site maps, presented by U-Zyn Chua.

Idea #5. More intuitive web browsers, presented by Patipat Susumpow (Keng).

In all cases: great presentations and intriguing ideas. Some are very much about *using* technology to help people understand the web and make it more open. Others are much closer to building and improving the core technologies of the web itself. And interesting mix.

Given the Drumbeat focus on *using* (as opposed to building) technology to make web better, I’d be interested to know: which of the ideas about sound most Drumbeat-y to you? Are there projects that you’d be interested in backing or getting involved with when Drumbeat gets rolling in the new year?

§ 3 Responses to Drumbeat: ideas and proposals from Singapore

  • Atul Varma says:

    I think I’m a bit blurry on the distinction between using technology and building technology, since “building” almost always involves using technology that someone made. So I could be wrong here.

    I really like the idea of a “hat-tip” system. This might actually be the sort of thing that’s enabled by Mozilla’s exploration into identity; but there have simply been so many times when I wish I could’ve at the very least said “thanks” to someone who wrote a random page that I found helpful, but because there wasn’t any way to contact them or anything, it was nontrivially hard to do so. I mean, if there was just a button on my browser that donated 50 cents to the author of a web page, I have no idea how many times I’d use it. It’s kind of silly that authors have to “subsidize” their sites by putting irrelevant ads on it, when maybe if there was just an easier way to donate, they wouldn’t have to do that (and could perhaps even make a living off it, but I shouldn’t get ahead of myself).

    Exploring ways to say “thanks” could be fun, and it’s something that a lot of “rivals” to the web or “walled gardens” within the web make easy due to e.g. their centralized nature.

  • sieciobywatel says:

    That was amazing feeling, to read about Preetam’s ideas, as the same thoughts crossed my mind few days before this post was published (it was today when I’ve learned about Drumbeat project and this blog).

    Watching some firedancers on the streets I had been wondering why people are quite fast to throw money (including me) and they rarely tip artists on the web (including me, sadly).
    The difference lies in process, which is much more complicated when you pay on the web. It takes just few seconds, to dig out few coins and drop them to the hat, while to pay with paypal or other micropayment service, you need to click on the button/badge, login, confirm transaction. Doesn’t sound like rocket science, but feels much more official and cognitive load is much, much higher, while throwing a coin is just a casual activity. Can you imagine giving tip to street musician paying with your credit card? It just doesn’t feel right, does it?

    But of course online payment must be authorised, otherwise soon we would be scammed. When you want to give a tip, you need to confirm it…

    Or maybe you don’t? At least not at this exact money? 😀

    Thus my solution is somewhat different (it is luck I didn’t learn about Preetam’s idea before, and could develop it without being suggested):
    – when you meet content you want to award you click on the badge
    – site informs browser (or other software assigned to this action) about your wish to make a micropayment, sends it’s authorization and suggested tip and site owner’s service provider of choice
    – the browser displays to you suggested tip (if any) and your default tip value; you may confirm either of it, or increase/decrease it.
    – the browser sends information about payment to YOUR micropayment service provider (along with data about source site and it’s provider)
    – your micropayment provider puts your payment request into a pool

    No login required. Just two clicks for the user.
    But of course, no money has been transfered yet.

    When your pool grows up to a given value or payments hangs for a week or two, you are informed about confirmation request by your micropayment provider (email? jabber? browser request provider if enough tips is pending?).
    You login, review payment lists (revisit a site if in any doubts), review sums and balance. Confirm. Or not.

    With one login at the time of YOUR choice, you can gratify many. You do it when YOU are ready.

    – your micropayment provider passes your payments to other providers (can be few for different sites/creators you decided to tip);
    – micropayment providers transfer money to content creators

    It may sound a bit complicated, in fact it may be tricky to implement. But it will be so much easier for users. Just two clicks and you can browse to another site, without losing control on your money. Your money are safe, you can reject or modify payment any time before you confirm it. You are safe,no personal data revealed to strangers. It is possible to fake phishing site, but to fake your micropayment list, someone would have to stalk your every move. In fact it should be safer than using paypal or google checkout today.
    And you do not need to have few accounts for every micropayment provider you may meet on the web, payment details are resolved between your and other side’s service provider. A “tip” is negotiated between you and content creator. Service provider need to compete both for you and content creator, maybe some specialize in one side only, other try to serve both.

    Now, why Mozilla should take part in it? Because it is too important for the Web to be owned by any company. More effective micropayment can leverage monetization of free content a great deal. I don’t know if this idea will catch up, but if it does, it is going to make a real change. I wish this would not be owned by any company, but rahter become an open standard for payments on the Web. And payments stay decentralized yet more usable for users.

    I hope my input is going to push Preetam’s idea further and other can develop it and make it real.

  • […] happen in Brasil in March, with Europe following quickly in April. We also did some pilot events in Singapore and India late last […]

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