The Dish Daily, an online publication focused on technology and entrepreneurship, has partnered with BitWall to launch its Twitter "paywall," allowing readers to view articles after they tweet a link to their followers.
"We're using social media, particularly Twitter, as a means of payment, kind of creating a social currency," says Nic Meliones, cofounder of BitWall, a micropayments provider. "Twitter is the main medium for people to discover content."
In this way, readers promote publishers, bringing the content to a wider audience. If the readers do not have a Twitter account or would prefer not to tweet about what they're reading, they can opt out and instead BitWall posts an advertisement they must view for several seconds.
"BitWall is a way to engage our audience but not scare them away with a new paywall," says Meaghan Clark, senior editor at The Dish Daily.
The Dish Daily has a little more than 20,000 readers a month and hopes the social paywall will drastically increase the readership, Clark says.
The advertisement will be specific to the publisher or blogger. For example, if a consumer decides not to tweet what they're reading on The Dish Daily, the publication's generic advertisement with its Facebook and Twitter link will appear. If the consumer is a resident of California, an ad will appear promoting the job fair The Dish Daily is hosting.
BitWall also provides content monetization through Bitcoin, with pay-per-article or pay-per-day models. BitWall creates a customizable pop-up box that appears when readers click to view content.
If readers don't have Bitcoin, they are prompted to create a Coinbase account, a Bitcoin wallet that allows users to buy the digital currency through its service. The Coinbase account can then be linked to a user's BitWall account.
The Dish Daily is the first publisher to implement the Twitter paywall, and BitWall isn't charging for its use. BitWall is still deciding whether to charge a monthly fee to use its service or whether to share revenue with its customers, Meliones says.
More than 80 publishers and bloggers have signed up for BitWall's service, but some of those may not have fully implemented it yet, he says.