Cooperative Internet Pricing

Problem:  There's lots of "good stuff" of the web that is essentially funded as an act of charity by someone involved.   While charity is good for the soul, it's not a reliable way to fund an ongoing enterprise; particularly if a neat little hobby is suddenly massively popular, and the el-cheapo or free web space is suddenly a major drain on the benefactor.

Proposed partial solution:   Customers pay a fixed, voluntary, subcription to fund "good stuff" on the web.  Perhaps power users would subscribe for $5/mo, while occasional dialup users would kick in $1, the exact amounts are not important.    It is already the case that when you visit a web site, you present a token, your IP address, that identifies you.  Web sites would collect IP addresses, aggregated in daily (or hourly) chunks, and periodically present their list of IP addresses to a clearinghouse which would distribute your subscription fee proportionally to the sites you actually visited.

The Endusers: would like this scheme because they would know they were contributing to the sites they actually visit, and unlike other micropayment schemes, there are no hidden fees - your subscription is your total liability - essentially part of the fixed cost of internet access.

Web Sites: would like it because it would be essentially free money.  For the price of a trivial amount of bookkeeping, they get free money.  And they get to continue doing what they were doing anyway.

Fraud:  There's not too much room for fraud.   The most a site could obtain fraudulently, from any one customer, would be 100% of his miniscule subscription, and sites which tried to inflate their earnings by claiming more visits would stand out, and be subjected to scrutiny.  Since the clearinghouse would not have to give money to anyone they suspected of fraud (their agreement is with the customers, not the content providers),  there wouldn't be much point in trying to cheat.

comments/suggestions to:

my home page