Doing My Bit To Help Build the Web Monetization Community


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@sharonwangsharon

open source dev + working on projects to help make the internet a better place

I first came across Web Monetization in the Grant for the Web x DEV.to hackathon a few months ago. Elliot and I had been itching to create something together, so we were on the lookout for hackathons that piqued our interests.

When I read the description of the Grant for the Web x DEV.to hackathon, I felt really excited about trying to build something in the online monetization space, particularly because openness, inclusivity and privacy were some of the key values of the Web Monetization community.

I personally get quite annoyed by ads, so finding out that Web Monetization is an alternative monetization model to ads was a big deal for me. This opportunity to work on building a healthier digital monetization space was something I was thrilled to take on.

Elliot and I spent a good chunk of time ideating for the hackathon, as well as researching Web Monetization to try to get a decent understanding of this new concept. Here are a few blog posts on our process:

We ended up building Akita, a browser extension that gives you insight into your involvement with Web Monetization. Feel free to check it out, fork it, install it, open an issue, help us improve it…we’d love for you to get involved!

It’s still in development, but we hope to put it out on extension/add-on stores. Overall, our goal with Akita is to increase Web Monetization exposure and awareness, and to help people understand how Web Monetization fits in with their regular browsing.

We want to give people who aren’t using a Web Monetization provider a way to engage in payment streaming. As more Web Monetization providers pop up, users can choose providers that fit their needs based on the browsing data presented by Akita.

We submitted an application to Grant for the Web for our work with Akita and further efforts in the Web Monetization space. Through Grant for the Web office hours and community calls, as well as forum discussions, we felt a real sense of connection to the community behind Web Monetization.

We’ve also built up a ton of appreciation for all the innovation and effort going on behind the scenes to build up a better monetization model for the web. It just feels really great to be a part of this movement and community.

Recently, Elliot and I participated in Betahack Let’s Fix the Internet, a hackathon centered around innovation in the internet health space. For this hackathon, we decided to continue building in the Web Monetization space, this time focusing on online creators.

We built ‘A Web Monetization Story‘, a website that seeks to help creators understand how simple it is to enable Web Monetization on their own sites. The story of Auden and Chicken aims to engage users and help them relate to — and understand the purpose of — Web Monetization. It includes a simple drag-and-drop tutorial to show the basic steps needed to get Web Monetization running on a site.

We want to make the tutorial easy and fun, and ensure it is easily understood by those who are less technical. If you’re interested in how we built it, feel free to check out the repo.

If you do try out Akita or ‘A Web Monetization Story‘ and want to share your feedback, please reach out to us! We’re happy to field comments, questions, suggestions, thoughts — we want to hear from you. There’s a survey link at the end of ‘A Web Monetization Story‘ that we’d really appreciate you filling out, if you end up checking it out 🙂

Overall, it’s been really illuminating seeing the various efforts put forth by individuals and organizations to build a better internet. The internet’s an awesome place, but there’s things we can make even better — more flexible, inclusive and open.

So far, Elliot and I have been building and learning in the Web Monetization space. It’s an emerging concept and technology that we feel upholds important values and has potential to change digital monetization for the better.

At the end of the day, it just feels good to be part of the “internet health” movement. I’m glad that we can contribute our thoughts and help make progress in the space through our projects and community involvement.

Our contributions are even more fulfilling when people enjoy our projects and find them helpful. We’ll be scurrying around in the Web Monetization community, so come find us!

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