Sugar and Spice and all that's Nice
With some frogs and snails and puppy dog tails
I just finished this new Cinnamon post:
Wow, what can I say? I certainly wasn't any sort of proponent for the web-monetization schemes of the past, but oddly enough, following the implosion of freenode, one of the former staff members who helped me to move and get my projects migrated with fully registered status to LiberaChat was a big supporter of Coil.
Coil? What's that? Web monetization? He doesn't seem like the type to embrace some flippant... hm...
I bit down hard, why? Why would he be so head first into yet another plan to disrespect privacy when he was all about the opposite?
So I signed up for Coil – it was kinda weird, with all this convoluted GlobalID thing that you had to navigate and all, which I'm still not convinced of its use case, and there didn't seem to be a way to avoid setting it up without a phone, but it was necessary to bridge the gap to Interledger protocol and I also wanted a kewl Uphold.com account/debit card, and convenient way to spend/receive/send crypto in the process (via XRP).
I found a rag tag website equivalent of those old roomatefinders services, complete with late 90's UX like something out of a 3 day HTML course, and low and behold, a desktop way to do that GlobalID thing and verify with an email address instead of a phone number – Finally!
The Uphold KYC was simple, straight-forward, and predictably modern, and a few minutes later I had what still might end up being a useless GlobalID and a really kewl Debit card from Uphold on its way to me in the mail.
I've used Uphold semi-regularly, and not because I need to, but more of a fun thing, or quick way to move a little crypto onto a card to use at a retail store.
Oh, yeah, and this Coil thing that following a bit of research appeared to have like, maybe ten websites with no market, and that was sad because after reading up quite thoroughly, it really did appear to be a great model in this era of walled gardens in your face every time you click on a newsworthy item in your search results – a phenomenon so offensive that the EFF actually released a plugin to block all walled garden websites from your searches – You go girl! FSF and EFF FTW w00t.
I did the Coil thing on a couple of my sites. Easy enough, add a meta tag and poof! done. Nothing. Sad. A few months go by and same same. Sad.
And so, like so many other novel initiatives that aren't actually predicated upon stealing from you (like Faceplant, Twatter, InstaSPAM, etc.), I forgot about the krufty lines of code in those couple of sites. Someday I'll stumble upon them, rummage through my documentation and go, “Oh yeah, I remember that Coil thing! Too bad it didn't amount to anything.”
And I'll remove the code and forget all about it. Like you've forgotten about the purple gorilla that you couldn't get off of your Windows 98 desktop no matter what you tried to do about it, except for when it didn't want to be there, or Klippy, the dancing paperclip that offered little in the way of actual help – but it was something you could watch when your box labored for more than a seconds trying to open that PowerPoint presentation.
After a while I got into a regular usage cycle just to exercise my Uphold card. Send 10 bucks worth of XRP to it, convert it to cash, and buy a six pack of beer and a candy bar, or fund it with $10 from a credit card real quick so I can send a little XRP to some DEX for a funky trash token that is absurd, and then send those to my friends as goofy gifts to clutter their Tronlink wallets. Nothing especially of real utility, although you could Hodl custodial BTC and a myriad of others and swap 'em into cash really quickly whenever you wanted to go out on a dinner date.
If nothing else, the Uphold card is a good way to siphon off your crypto income from transactions where you sold stuffs to people, put it into an intermediary custodial account and let it sit while you waited for a time to use it as walking around money – without the fuss that some exchanges entail.
I started noticing these tiny, incremental transactions after a while and couldn't glean what was going on though. After a while, they became more frequent. I mean, like a penny or three cents, and pretty soon the pattern emerged to coincide with some articles I had written that had a lot of readership – What? could it be that mainspring thing I deployed months back? What was that called.... Coil! That's it! Coil.com!
It was indeed.
I decided to burrow into a kdbx file and find that interledger stuff that was so irrelevant and grab that meta-tag and begin a little copypasta cuisine. Whoa... Now I've got a pretty steady stream of pennies, nickels dimes, and even quarters coming in all the time....
Hey this is pretty kewl :)
And it actually hasn't been that long. Sometimes a good idea is just a good idea and it has to propagate and age a bit – like a good Kentucky straight bourbon.
Now, I like to write, spread the poison of my warped ethics all around the playground, and edjumacate, and inform, and clarify why I believe a certain way, or prevent someone from making the stupid mistakes I did by explaining how I should have done it.
I didn't write most of those items to cha ching, but there's seriously enough there to buy a sandwich for lunch here and there. I mean, I've written articles and nada, for a long time, and then something happens and it starts getting readership. I dunno why half the time, but here's the deal I'm a big FOSSie, a proponent of the open source model in general, and when I do something I like to doc it, like a good sysadmin, and I also like to clean that up a bit and share that – sometimes even release scripts for other lazy fuckers like me.
I've made part of a career by eradicating Windows and proprietary software in favor of FOSS. Early adopter of Linux, even working with it back in 1992. Whenever I deploy for a business, I make sure the principal knows how much the license would have been had I used Microsoft and other proprietary closed source software, My labor being about the same regardless, they're running free software that is actually better than the encumbered alternative, so I require the customer to donate to the developers or project each year. I never tell the customer how much, I just make it clear the money they would have paid.
I think that's a good ethical approach. So now there's all these people out there unbeknownst to any of us who they actually are, paying five bucks a month just on the off chance they'll land on a web page where someone who writes an article has this FOSS spirit, and now, it's starting to show...
So then everything sat for a while and then, I get a notification that Coil Blogs is being EOLed, and I had to move my existing blogs to Write.as or lose them. I didn't even know I would get a year of free pro service until a few minutes ago.
I also stumbled upon Cinnamon – That's right here where we are now! And of course there's much more.
Pretty much everything I publish is licensed CC-BY-SA 4.0 and so my interledger address I got from Coil and Uphold is used for my HackerNoon and Dev.To writings as well....
Okay stop. How many is that so far? Cinnamon, Write.as, Dev.To, and HackerNoon – all monetized at 36 cents an hour of reading time. That may not sound like a lot, but I've also monetized other infra that I self-host – websites, etc., too numerous to mention at this juncture.
It has all become a way to “Passively monetize my efforts for things I publish that are otherwise free anyway – so people who that money comes from are full on, opt-in, paying 5 bucks a month (never any more than that) to support hundreds of thousands of Coil web monetized sites.