The guy who helped bring you Crate, a dead simple file-sharing service, are now testing something called Gumroad, a way to ask folks to pay for downloads. The site is very basic – you enter a URL, a price, and share the link. Users are asked for a credit card number (don’t buy that, it’s just this) to buy the item and sellers pay 5% plus 30 cents for each sale.
The system is aimed at ad hoc sales and the seller protections are nearly non-existent. The download link isn’t obfuscated. Instead it’s hidden until Gumroad shows it to you after your purchase. There is nothing stopping folks from, say, sharing the download link later with friends and family. However, like Louis CK’s experiment, this site assumes humans are good, kind, and honest – a fatal assumption in many cases.
There are plenty of ways to deliver content. This is simply the next step in the equation – monetizing said content to everyone’s benefit. I could see Dropbox, for example, adding a “Pay Me For This” link and making a lot of money in the process, but I suspect they don’t want to sully the overall file sharing experience with financial transactions.
Gumroad makes sense. There are plenty of things I’d love to sell if I had the option – early access to podcasts, naked photos of myself, etc. – if I only had the means to do it quickly and easily. By making sales as simple as clicking one button, Gumroad opens up a vista of opportunity in the world of simple micropayments.