In-Depth Thoughts on Q&A Session with Patricia C. and Ben Sharafian
Patricia C. is a good friend of mine and it has been a privilege to interact with her over the past few months thanks to the Web Monetization provider and blogging platform, Coil.com. Even though she lives in Portugal and I in Cleveland, we share a bond as we are both passionate content creators and love being involved in the Web Monetization movement taking place around the world as we speak.
Although I know Patricia like a sister, I am not as familiar with Ben Sharafian, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Coil. Fortunately, Ben was gracious enough to spend 30 minutes with Patricia talking about Coil and answering pertinent questions related to Coil's current status in addition to future projections for the project as a whole.
What I would like to do in this article is provide my thoughts as a huge proponent and supporter of Web Monetization, regarding some of the comments and answers Ben provided during the Q&A session with Patricia. The 2 of them covered a lot of ground in the 30 minutes they spent together. I will not be covering everything in this article so be sure to check out Patricia's video interview as well.
Let's get started...
We have a really awesome set of early adopters
The first question Patricia asked Ben was in regards to the vision of Coil and where he imagines it in 1-2 years. He said that Coil from the start has been working to solve problems within the web such as intrusive ads and data collection, creating a new standard for Web Monetization. At the end of his answer, he stated, we have a really awesome set of early adopters which is cool.
My take: To hear Ben state that he thinks the current set of early adopters is really awesome is exciting because it means we are on the right track with the type of content us as creators are producing. To me it means that he enjoys seeing what we as early adopters are doing which only serves as huge encouragement moving forward. It's neat to think that the CTO of Coil himself is proud to have such a great group of creators publishing on the platform.
We're working on more ways to support creators
Patricia's question asked what the Coil team is working on right now that will be implemented in the future. One thing Ben mentioned was they are working on more ways to support creators such as tips and also the Grant for the Web initiative so that creators keep making great content while Web Monetization is in the beginning stages.
My take: Hearing Ben's answer on this topic gets me really excited because it gives myself and other creators the confidence we need to keep moving forward using the Coil content platform and the technology it brings to the table for external websites. Knowing that the team has creators set as a high priority is particularly exciting and gives us that extra spark to continue knowing that the work we are putting in now will be well worth it far into the future.
We probably won't be leaving the beta stage in 2020
Patricia asked Ben if Coil is planning to leave the beta stage in 2020 and he responded by saying that they probably won't be leaving the beta stage this year. The reason for Coil to remain in beta is because the team doesn't consider the site to be a finished product just yet. The beta tag is kept on the site to let people know that there are continual improvements being made.
My take: I am perfectly OK with Coil staying in beta for as long as it needs to. For those committed to the success of Coil, it is important to understand that great things take time and there is no need to rush the creation of a brand new ecosystem. The fact is that forward progress is being made and momentum is building. It is an honor to participate in the beta testing stage as we watch Coil make gradual changes leading towards a finished product.
In 2020 we want to start giving out the first grants
When asked about Grant for the Web and what is expected to happen in 2020, Ben says that in 2020 they want to start giving out the first grants. Reasoning behind this is because creators sometimes need upfront capital to create Web Monetized content in the first place as opposed to waiting for the streaming payments to flow in from Coil subscribers.
My take: The grant initiative makes total sense and serves as an important step to progress Web Monetization in a big way. Without creators gaining the neccessary funding to consistently create high-quality, Web-Monetized content, the ecosystem will not grow in an efficient manner. I feel that 2020 will be a jump-start year for Web Monetization as a result of Grant for the Web stepping in and releasing grant money to creators.
We have been expanding the browser support of Coil
A question was asked about the Web Monetization status with Chrome implementation and other browser support. Ben said that native implementations are still in the works due to the lengthy process, but that they have been expanding the extension capabilities. The Coil extension now works on Microsoft Edge and continuing to move forward on the mobile browser, Puma.
My take: I can't imagine how much man-power and hours it takes to work with browser vendors to get native support of Coil's Web Monetization standard. The fact that forward progress is being made on the extension side of the equation speaks volumes for what the team has been hard at work on for months now. Obviously native support is the best case scenario, but great things take time and I myself am extremely happy and appreciative that we have extensions to work with currently.
We want the resources for creators to get more information about how their content is doing.
Another question asked was this... Are you planning on making analytics available for creators? Ben stated that Coil would give creators tools to see if their content is what Web Monetization providers are looking for, similar to how Google releases analytics that let website owners know how they could improve on certain areas of their sites to maximize SEO and other metrics. All this keeping in mind the privacy of the consumers as the Coil analytics would not include sensitive information of users.
My take: I personally cannot wait for an analytics feature to hit the scene. But, I also think that this feature is not one that will be implemented in the near future as the Coil team has bigger fish to fry in terms of growing the Web Monetization ecosystem. Analytics are on the radar, but the blip is a ways out at sea at the moment. It's encouraging to know that Coil does indeed want creators to receive more information on how their content is performing. All in due time.
With more content, that gives compelling reasons for subscribers to get on board.
One of the last questions Patricia asked was if Coil has plans to bring more creators and subscribers to the platform? Ben said that right now they are working on bringing more creators on board first that can add value to potential subscribers in the future. Using partnerships such as Imgur and initiatives such as Grant for the Web to supply the ecosystem with more content will give subscribers a compelling reason to get on board.
My take: Using the creators first approach is honestly the only strategy that makes sense. Subscribers will not sign up if there is nothing in it for them to consume on a regular basis. To put it in perspective, imagine signing up for Netflix and paying them $15 per month and you only have access to 1 movie and 2 TV shows. In fact, Netflix and other streaming services are constantly stepping up their game to attract new members such as original movie and original TV show content. It is important to have the end user in mind when creating a new paradigm and expecting it to succeed.
Patricia did a great job asking Ben those questions. You can view the original article / video here on Patricia's blog page. It is a privilege to have Patricia on the front lines interviewing leading minds who are building out the Web Monetization ecosystem. Huge thank you to Ben Sharafian as well for taking the time out of his busy schedule to meet with Patricia.
Thank you for reading.
A fun adventure with my son...
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