A new vision for online media... - Spotpass
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June 3, 2021
2 min read

A new vision for online media...

We have all experienced it. Or at least some version of it.

You click a link or get sent a link to an interesting article only to be greeted by a paywall and a subscription offer from the publisher. And no matter how special that offer is, you’re just not interested in subscribing today.

So you move on, disappointed that you couldn’t read that one little article. And so does the publisher, who missed out on the big prize of adding a new subscriber, but still gets to keep the fraction of a cent it made from the advertising impression it served you.

It’s a pretty crummy situation for everyone. But what’s the alternative?

In May 2020, three people came together to create one.

  • Garry Duursma, a card payments zealot;
  • Mark Lillywhite, a telco billing systems maestro; and
  • Doug Howe, a travel and transit card master.

Their vision was Spotpass, the fast and frictionless way to read paid content and support your favourite publishers for under 99c.

For Garry, a self-confessed “payments geek” micropayments were the perfect solution:

“Micropayments had been tried before, but there was always friction for the consumer and the publisher. With the advancement in digital payments technology, I knew it could be done much better. When I met Mark, it was clear he had the skill and energy to take this on, and together, we could build the low friction, low cost solution every digital publisher and online reader was looking for.”

Mark had been working on telecommunications billing systems for over twenty years and knew a thing or two about high volume, low value billing. He co-founded Ballarat NetConnect, one of regional Australia’s first ISPs, and founded an automated billing system called Inomial. With all that experience and a passion for online content, Mark was determined to change the payment experience and support content producers in the process:

“Being a voracious reader and growing up on the internet, I wanted a way to enjoy paid content quickly, affordably and without having to give away my private data. I also wanted to give publishers a tool to accept direct contributions from their readers so if they liked something they read, they could support it.”

Empowering people to consume the content they wanted, when they wanted, at scale, was something that resonated with Doug. After helping to bring the pay-as-you-go model to Australia with Mastercard, he was part of the executive team that delivered the Opal Card for Transport for NSW - a low friction, low cost model that changed the lives of millions of commuters.

“Bringing the option to pay as you go with Apple Pay, Google Pay or any contactless bank card on the transport network was a real game changer. The key was ensuring that the customer experience was super low friction, low cost and fast. When Garry & Mark first talked about bringing a similar experience to content, I instantly knew how it could be delivered, and how we could apply a similar model to online media.”

The alternative that publishers and readers have been looking for is now well and truly on its way - Spotpass is ready to revolutionise payments on the web.