[microformats-discuss] Proposal: rel="payment"

Joshua Kinberg jkinberg at gmail.com
Tue Jul 19 22:13:04 PDT 2005

I am new to this list and wanted to float out an idea for comments...

I am one of the developers of FireANT (http://GetFireANT.com), a media
aggregator and RSS reader geared primarily toward videoblogs.

Peter Van Dijk of MeFeedia.com (another videoblog aggregator), Jay
Dedman (my partner on FireANT), and I were thinking a few nights ago
about how we could develop a way for blog content creators
(specifically videobloggers, but the idea is more general) to
potentially get paid for their work. I think we came up with a great


Blog authors could include a link to a payment URL in their blog
entries using this syntax:

<a href="http://blahblah/payme.html" rel="payment">Pay Me</a>

The payment URL could link to a PayPal page, BitPass, DropCash, or
some other payment method... maybe even a page with your mailing
address so someone could send a check the old fashioned way. Heck, it
could be a page that let's you donate to a "save the whales"
foundation, or to your Cafe Press store. That part is up to the author
to set up a payment URL that works for them.

Aggregators like FireANT, MeFeedia, and others could support this by
displaying a "payment button" that links to the specified payment URL
if the rel="payment" syntax is discovered within the RSS item level
<description> or <content:encoded> elements.

This is simple and flexible, and I think will be easy for blog authors
to implement.

However, an XML namespace would be a better and more elegant solution
and easier for aggregators to handle. If blog authors begin using
something like rel="payment" now, it will create a nice foundation for
evangelizing the namespace and getting support from blog software
developers and RSS/ATOM folks.

So I wanted to throw out the idea for comments to see what you think
and explore how we might be able to work together.

For more background, see Jay's post on the subject:

Also, see how MeFeedia has already implemented support for rel="payment":

Let's open the discussion.

A few things to note:

- This is not payment as a form of restricted access. It is an
optional payment after the fact of downloading. Perhaps it is more
like a "donation" but we felt "payment" was a more general term.

- This should not entail lock-in to a specific payment protocol (i.e.
PayPal), and is not mediated through any one source (e.g. iTunes Music
Store). Flexibility is good.

- I think an XML namespace for this concept should likely be both
channel level and item level. A user may want to track click-through's
per item to see where payments are coming from. Another use case might
be a blog entry about a specific fundraising campaign (e.g. Tsunami
Relief Fund). Or, perhaps a product review would include an affilliate
link to a URL where the reader can purchase that product.

Of course, the ever-present-and-unchanging "tip jar" link in the blog
sidebar could be placed in the channel level. Again, flexibility is

I will begin drafting up a proposal spec for a namespace soon and
welcome your comments and suggestions.

Best regards,
Joshua Kinberg


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