Sure, Tinypass–the innovative paywall system with a modest name and big ambitions–made headlines recently as the backbone for superblogger Andrew Sullivan’s pioneering embrace of editorial independence. But while all eyes are on which big media enterprise will next have the temerity to actually charge for its content, the real source of Tinypass’s growth–and the new future of the Internet–may come from the Long Tail. That means smaller operations like innovative hairstylists, cupcake makers, and tattoo artists (the list is infinite) that produce content people all over the world want. How do they grow their businesses beyond local markets? By creating video/text/audio content that people will pay for. It works a little bit like eBay, without the physical goods.
So while people considering the future of paid-content schemes wait for, say, the Huffington Post to charge like the New York Times, and while the Huffpost thinks hell if I’m going to alienate my readers–I’ll scrap for the advertising that’s left, Mikey Mike at Tattoo Dreams says show me the money (and I’ll show you my stuff). Tinypass describes itself as “a powerful e-commerce platform that helps sites charge for access to content.” That’s simple broad inclusive thinking, just right for what’s next. Mr. Sullivan will do very well, we’re sure. And so might Huffpost if it decides to go that way. But have you seen what Shirley is doing with cupcakes in Mendocino? Or Raquel’s new extreme ‘do in Buckhead? You’ve just got to see. You have to. By the way, that’ll be a dollar.