Copyright, 2002, Newshare Corp. All Rights Reserved.
Q: What is the relationship between Newshare Corp. and Clickshare Service Corp.? A: Newshare Corp. began development of the Clickshare technology in 1994. In 1997, it turned over development and ownership of the Clickshare Service to a new company, Clickshare Service Corp., in which it retains a small interest. Newshare is a licensee of the Clickshare technology for use in its business of helping news and other content vendors to share customer and content.
Does a Clickshare-at-Newshare user have to "log in" (enter password) for each web site visited.
A: No. And that is one of the key consumer-friendly features of Clickshare(sm). The system allows you to purchase information from any Clickshare-enabled website with one ID, one-account ease, without having to re-enter credit-card or personal information.
Q: You call Clickshare a "service," not a network. Why? A: The Clickshare Service is not a network (implying a physical infrastructure), but rather a network protocol (software) which operates across a physical network employing TCP/IP and HTTP. The Internet is such a network.
The Clickshare protocol provides a suite of services to publishers who adopt it. These include universal, one-ID registration, session-based user validation, optional user profiling (to support personalization and demographic-data collection) and user-access verification (the latter supporting per-query, per page or per "click" billing).
The Clickshare(SM) protocol permits owners of proprietary content to offer it via the Internet. Clickshare customers can obtain and pay for it readily; non-Clickshare users will be unable to view the content unless they first enroll and arrange a form of payment.
But as important, Clickshare users are free to use the vast FREE resources of the Internet seamlessly and even jump back and forth between free and PAID resources without difficulty. And Clickshare Content Providers (such as Newshare Corp.) may provide a mix of chargable and free content on their web sites -- some of it open to the general Internet user and some open only to Newshare users.
In this sense, Clickshare is not a technology network but a loose affiliation of content providers for billing purposes only. It has been described as a system enabling "billable hypertext links."
Q: Is there anything else out there like Clickshare? A: Not that we know of. Unlike a relationship with a proprietary network or online service, each Clickshare Service Provider maintains and controls the primary relationship with the end user as well as the look and feel of content provided. Clickshare's role is as a back-room authentication and payment facilitator and, optionally, as a context-provider for Clickshare-enabled content of other unrelated Publishing Members. This later service -- the brokering of content in a unique, value-added context, which is provided by the Newshare Syndicate.
Q: How much does it cost for a content provider to become a part of the Clickshare system? A: Clickshare Service Corp. licenses its technology and service directly to content providers. For more information email email@example.com. Newshare Corp. operates as a value-added reseller of the Clickshare Service to publishers and audience owners who prefer to allow Newshare to retail their content and manage their customer relationships.
Q: How does Newshare Corp. make money on an ongoing basis? A: Newshare Corp. makes money in two ways. First, the contract between Newshare and each affiliate permits Newshare to deduct a transaction fee from the value of each unit of "clicked" information it retails with The Clickshare Service. Second, Newshare charges affiliate fees based upon the type of services it provides.
Thus, Newshare's form of compensation is a transaction fee which is a percentage of "click fees," Newshare ultimately makes money when content providers sell content. That creates an incentive for Newshare Corp. to help its members to sell content. It is a classic broker relationship.
Q: Exactly how is a consumer user charged for his reading, viewing or listening? A: Clickshare is WWW-based. A user clicks to the home page of his Clickshare Service Provider, which might be a newspaper, a publisher, telco, or ISP, as examples. The Service Provider operates an Internet server equipped with Clickshare enhancements. After logging in once at the user's home-base Clickshare Service Provider -- Newshare Corp. for example -- the user can make subsequent purchases of premium content from any other Clickshare-enabled website globally and pay for it with one bill from Newshare Corp.
At the end of the month, his access is totaled and if the value of his "clicks" exceeds his basic monthly fee to his local/topic-specific Service Provider, (if he isn't registered at Newshare Corp. or a Newshare affiliate) he pays extra. If it is less, he pays only a basic fee set by his own Service Provider. The only billing and payment relationship at the consumer level is between user and his Clickshare Content Provider.
It is similar to a bank credit card. You pay once for all your purchases to your card-issuing bank. But there's an added twist -- a Clickshare Service Provider such as Newshare Corp. can also be a retailer of information. So at the end of a payment period, Newshare or another Clickshare Service Provider may have a net credit with the Clickshare Service or a net debit, depending which number is higher: The wholesale value of what its end users have purchased, vs. the wholesale value of the content it has sold.
Q: Can a content provider enroll now in the Newshare system? What are the benefits? A: Yes. Newshare Corp. is enrolling affiliates now. For information about how to join, email firstname.lastname@example.org. There are several benefits to enrollment:
This can be customized. Among solutions:
In each case, Newshare only receives transaction fees when content is sold in behalf of the affiliate. This way, Newshare Corp. preserves the INDEPENDENCE of publishers -- shouldering a share of the financial RISKS -- yet establishes a framework for SHARING of information and users among publishers and content providers.
Q: Do users get to approve each information purchase?
The Clickshare technology provides a "price query threshhold feature." The default setting causes a "pop-up" box to come up each time a consumer clicks on a chargeable resource. The box shows the price of the resource and provides "radio" buttons for the consumer to click "yes" to buy or "no" to decline. To streamline the user experience, the Clicksahre query-threshhold feature permits a consumer to pre-set a preference which will eliminate the pop-up box for purchases below a certain price.
Q: Do Clickshare Service Providers or their users have the right to download and publish (in print) Clickshare-enabled materials? A: Absolutely not. Neither Newshare nor the Clickshare technology are intended to be used for royalty settlement for conventional print publishing. Rather, it is a system for simple, fast use of valuable, copyrighted material on a one-time, non-commercial basis by individuals. If a newspaper wishes to print a piece of Clickshare-enabled content, it must obtain copyright in a conventional fashion from the original owner. Newshare might facilitate this process manually as a service through a partner.
Q: How is the user "billed" for the reading or other use of Clickshare-enabled materials?
Records of these accesses and charges will be provided by the Clickshare(SM) service to the Clickshare Service Provider who enrolled the user and bills the user. The Service Provider -- Newshare or others -- take this data and feed it to whatever billing engine they wishes to use to bill their own members. Clickshare Service Corp. provides this service, as do other vendors. Newshare Corp. provides it where its affiliate prefers to have Newshare handle the complete customer relationship.
Q: Do affiliates who join Newshare have to also rename their digital publications to include the Newshare brand in the title? A: No, unless they wish to be designated as a Newshare lead topic- or geographic-specific partner and then only the name, or tagline, of their electronic product should feature the Newshare brand. Newshare believes that information consumers rely upon a recognizable brand to assure them of ease-of-use, quality and accuracy. The phrase "newshare" conveys more precisely than any existing word the concept our service enables. Since the objective is to attract the most number of users to Newshare-enabled content as opposed to some other service's content, a recognizable brand is essential. That is Newshare, a registered servicemark of Newshare Corp.
However, many publishers may prefer to maintain their own brand's identity and will therefore use only the Clickshare(sm) technology through a direct relationship with Clickshare Service Corp.
Q: Will Newshare affiliates be under any obligation to link their consumer users to the content of the Newshare Syndicate or other Newshare affiliates? A: Not at all. However, an affiliate who wishes to obtain additional revenue at no incremental cost would be well advised to "send" its users to Newshare and to fellow affiliates and Clickshare Content Providers for content the affiliate does not provide locally or topically. Then when its users "click" on fellow member content, they (the originating affiliate) receives a referral fee for enabling that "click."
Q: So the only content benefit to affiliated publishers is having access to material to use, which may or may not meet their needs or standards? A: The aim of Newshare is not primarily to provide content for traditional publishing; it is to provide a reliable, one-stop resource (and more particularly a ONE BILL resource) for consumers to find and obtain topic- and geographic-specific, time-sensitive information via the Internet. Newshare and its Affiliate Members ENABLE this process, and are financially rewarded as a result, through royalties on their own works and commissions or markups for the sale to their users of other publishers' works.
Q: Will you guarantee the accuracy of Newshare-affiliate information? A: Newshare cannot guarantee -- in a liability sense -- the accuracy of the copyrighted content of its affiliates any more than a newspaper can guarantee the accuracy of all of its syndicated content. Newshare affiliates are obligated to meet a set of Customer Service Objectives, which will include standards of professionalism and care for the accuracy of their content. Affiliates who do not meet these objective standards will not received extended contracts in Newshare membership.
Q: Who is among Newshare's affiliates? A: Affiliates have not been announced yet.
Q: What else is a Newshare affiliate obligated to do? A: If you are developing content that involves breaking news or "scoops" of any kind you will, by signing the Publishing Member agreement, have one very specific obligation -- to make that news available on a timely basis via the Clickshare technology and the Newshare context and personalization system. You are not surrendering your copyright -- if it is a hot story, and millions of people "click" to it on your server, you make millions of pennies. So this creates an obvious incentive to ALERT the Newshare community to the existence of your story so users will FIND it and READ IT.
Q: How many "clicks" equals one piece of content. Are all pieces of content valued equally for this purpose?
A: "Click" is shorthand for a Universal Resource Locator (URL) request in HTTP format. Most Clickshare Service users access information by the "click" of a keyboard accessory called a "mouse." So one click of the mouse is one page of HTTP material. This turns out to be a highly flexible way of charging for information, both from the user and publisher perspective. Using Clickshare(sm), the publisher can supply text, pictures or sound in response to a user's URL request. And the publisher can apply free-market principles in determining how much information to supply in response to a click and what it should cost.
The Clickshare user makes informed judgements about which information to "click" on based upon its value in terms of price, length or format. When the price is right, the user makes a purchase.
Early application of The Clickshare Service has begun to establish a "market" for the value of typical information sought. Our expectation is that this will create a self-organizing mechanism for content providers to regulate pricing by the type, quality and quantity of resource served in response to a URL; and for users to make content-purchase decisions on the same basis. If they find a content provider serves up minimal pages for 25 cents a pop, they won't click back again.
Q: What about charging different prices to different users and for different types of information?
No problem. Embedded in the Clickshare protocol is the ability to delinate "page classes" which have different monetary values. This permits a content affiliate, for example, to have "tiers" of service. One tier might be free content open to the public. The next "tier" might be content open at no charge solely to Clickshare-enabled users. Another "tier" might be open to the Service Provider's own local users for a monthly flat subscription fee -- and charged "by the click" to remote Clickshare users. And a final tier might be charged to all users, but at a different price depending whether the user is local or remote. Since any web server running Clickshare technology can identify the "class" of an incoming user, it can price-differentiate its service to that user.
A: Clickshare, a transaction platform for digital-content commerce and privacy-protected single-signon and user management, is available to anyone who wants to enroll as content or service provider and abide by the terms of the service agreement.
Newshare, the Internet's first news broker/collaborative, is a content-and-context-building service. It allows independent content providers to promote the exchange of chargeable information among their user groups by acting as a "reference librarian" of Internet news resources. Newshare affiliates may be awarded territorial or subject-specific exclusivity for the use of the Newshare name and service concepts. Newshare affiliation is by invitation only and reviewed on a periodic basis. Each affiliate must have the editorial "commitment to excellence" required for affiliation with the Newshare brand.
Q: In a sense, isn't the Internet today like the U.S. telephone system just after the turn of the century?
Yes. Think of the Internet protocol -- the language computers speak across the Internet -- as a common transfer mechanism for data much as copper wires were a common transfer mechanism for voice in 1911. Everyone knew how to string to wires and make a phone connection after Alexander Graham Bell. But then how did you link together all those wires in a seamless grid such as we have today? And especially, how did you bill for all those calls that went from local telco to local telco to local "telco"?
In that era the answer was that the small companies first affiliated with the Bell System as franchisees and eventually were bought up and combined into AT&T. AT&T then developed a billing "standard" which by the 1960s made obsolete the need to have operators take billing information for a long-distance call. Ultimately AT&T was broken up, but the billing "standards" remain among AT&T, Sprint, MCI and the Baby Bells. Thus you can direct-dial a call across many networks and have the charges show up on one bill at the end of the month.
So Internet protocol for transferring information is like the copper wires. But like the early days of the phone system, no one has adopted, or even proposed prior to Clickshare(sm), a billing standard for the transfer of information on the Internet measured other than by time or by bulk subscription. Clickshare is such a standard.
Q: Has Clickshare been positioned as a "pay per click" service? Don't consumers have an aversion to paying for things on a nickel-and-dime basis?
A: Yes, and no. While Clickshare DOES enable payment "by the click," Clickshare Service Corp. has found that most publishers still elect to provide their home-base users with a suite of information on a monthly subscription or "bulk" basis. However, any universal system of digital information exchange will have to value information "by the click" and provide for background settlement among publishers "by the click" if it is to function in a practical sense.
So, Clickshare enables metered access to individual resources, but this does not infer that consumers must be billed that way. In most other media -- the telephone and cable networks come immediately to mind -- there are a variety of charging mechanisms and marketing strategies. But information is not like a sack of flour, a commodity where each grain is identical to the next. So it is not logical to think that it will be sold that way so long as there is another way to sell it.
In addition, whether consumers will resist paying for information when its value is measured in pennies rather than dimes or quarters is not yet documented, since prior to Clickshare and the Internet there was no economical way to sell information in that price range on a point-to-point, rather than broadcast, basis.
Finally, it is very well documented that specialized consumers will happily "pay per query" for some types of information. Examples include some types of business and professional information, exclusive and analytical reports and information in some way personalized to the consumer's interests.
There is considerable academic and business-school interest in the
concept of "bundling" of software, physical and digital goods. The initial
research suggests that the bundling of products for a single price is more
lucrative for the supplier than selling discrete items.
Q: How would a publisher
use Clickshare and NOT charge its subscribers "by the click"?
Q: How would a publisher use Clickshare and NOT charge its subscribers "by the click"?
A: Clickshare works in background to "transport" information about the value of a page access between the publisher (who gets a royalty), the referring home-base of the user (who gets a referral commission, sort of like being paid for creating a link). Whether the user's home-base Service Provider bills that user per-click is another story. What has to happen for the system to function is that the content-originator gets a royalty-by-the-click and the referring publisher gets a commission-by-the-click.
A newspaper publisher, for example, may decide that its Clickshare-enabled users can get all-they-can-eat surfing of Clickshare(sm) resources costing less than 50 cents per click for a flat fee of $15 a month on top of their basic $4.95 local-website subscription charge. Then the publisher would do a calculus to make sure that ON AVERAGE the extra $15 would cover the typical surfing charges. Maybe they would figure they would be paying out royalties and our transaction fees adding up to an average of $13 a month, so they pocket $2 per user.
In this scenario, the user has purchased "bulk access" to Clickshare resources, so should be free of that sense of paying "by the click."
This is the way we use telephone service, in some respects. Some telcos offer "metered" local service, but give you a preset amount of "message units" per month which you "use or lose." Clickshare(sm) could operate the same way. Our point is that these are marketing considerations for a local- or topic-specific Publishing Member, not for Newshare Corp. Our entire strategy is based upon empowering the publisher to control the user relationship.