How to sell access to articles on a news website?
March 2, 2010 8:54 AM   Subscribe

My magazine wants to sell small-scale online access: day passes, week passes, month passes, maybe per-article, etc. What web services exist to facilitate this process?

We want to experiment with selling online-only access, maybe providing access to an article for 25¢ or letting folks pay $5 to read all they want for 30 days. Currently folks can read some articles for free, and they can read the first half of any article, but after that they've got to pony up $32 for a year-long print subscription. There's no in-between.

Our ideal solution for this would be totally outsourced—some third-party system with a payment process and an authentication API. A customer clicks on the "one-month pass" link, enters their credit card number, and they're passed back to our site. Our site uses the third party's API to say "hey, is this guy authenticated to read this?" and the API says "yes" or "no." (This, of course, is precisely what a whole lot of media outlets are debating switching to right now.)

But a pretty good runner-up is something like Amazon Flexible Payments System, which has no concept of users or authentication, but just handles the payment process. That would make possible small transactions without us losing our shirt on transaction fees, and has the distinct benefit of being a quick and trusted process, since so many people have Amazon accounts. We'd just maintain our own database of who has paid for what.

Has anybody been down this road? Any suggestions for services to consider, or services best ignored?
posted by waldo to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Mod note: Link removed. You're welcome to link to it in your profile, but sticking it in the question here feels too much like a gratuitous plug when it's not vital to the question.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:35 AM on March 2, 2010

If you've got someone super web-savvy on your team, Joomla or Mambo + Community Builder Subscriptions may fit your bill.
posted by Galen at 12:12 PM on March 2, 2010

Drupal with Ubercart can do this.
posted by jdfan at 8:41 AM on March 3, 2010

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