This literally stopped me in my tracks. It’s Blendle and I’d never heard of it until I browsed newspaper topics on Medium. Then, this week, the app makers announced they were running a beta test in the United States.
It’s an app, that began in the Netherlands, that claims to give consumers a single news source that will (could, anyway) act as a paywall for every publisher in the country. Is this the holy grail? Take a look at this YouTube explanation and see what you think.
To me, the biggest stumbling block to having consumers pay for news they want online is not the payment itself, but rather the hassle inherent in doing using it. You have to register and make payments to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Sierra Vista Herald. Then, dang it, it turns out the story you want right now is in the Houston Chronicle!
But what if you registered on this one app, linked it to your online wallet (think your Starbucks or iTunes accounts) and were free to read anything, any time? Blendle says it will include all those things that are recommended by your social network, by celebrities, by me on The Kicker. You only pay for what you click on. You might not pay for an online subscription to 15 newspapers, but maybe you would go for this.
Blendle founder Alexander Klopping explains what might be the coolest feature: …
Users always pay a price per article (set by the publisher), but are also able to refund their money if they don’t deem the article worthy after reading it (a fair use policy applies). It’s a pretty cool function that greatly increases the amount of money spent on journalism in the beta.
There are a lot of questions, obviously. How does Blendle sign up everyone? Will it be available to the smallest newspapers? What about bloggers? Are there concerns about security and privacy?) But I’m anxious to see where this goes.