Idea for the taking by a willing developer

Hey everyone! Idea below which I don’t have the skills to code but I’d be happy to see anyone pick it up if there is interest. Happy to help in any way I can!

I periodically engage with “expert” / consulting platforms (IE: UpWork, Talmix, Avvnue, etc). In short someone with a need (IE: consulting / advisory, deck / doc review, etc) engages a 3rd party to provide those services either one time or on a rolling basis.

Typically the work is conducted within the platform through messaging systems, call systems, etc. Just about every platform restricts moving the discussion or work off-platform so getting web monetisation in via a plug-in likely wouldn’t work due to ToS.

Made me wonder if a stand alone plugin would work for consultants / advisors engaging with their direct clients?

  • Zoom plugin to process payments for the duration of the video call
  • WhatsApp / Telegram / etc plugin to process payments for the voice call (or text session with an on / off setting for once the advisory portion of the chat begins?)

I don’t know what kind of access the above mentioned platforms offer to 3rd party developers but Ill leave that for someone more suitable to comment on.

I engaged in these services from a business / startup advisory standpoint but I imagine it would be applicable to a broader audience (IE: a chef who wants to conduct classes via Zoom, a Yoga instructor conducting classes, etc).

A more complex version of the idea would be to replicate some of these “expert” platforms with doc / deck review functionality, call functionality, etc but the only real benefit of those platforms is client / "expert’ identification / networking and contracting. Otherwise they are rather clunky.

Looking forward to thoughts and comments!

Turns out there is a team working on something along these lines.


https://twitter.com/B1xGate

Im unfamiliar with them but if anyone wants to take up the project, might be worth speaking to them as well!

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Sounds like a good idea. It is fairly easy these days to “Roll your own” web conferencing platform as most of the heavy lifting is done by browsers themselves these days. E.g. a colleague recently created a virtual “bar” for lockdown socialising. So probably wouldn’t be too difficult technically to create a simple pay-for-expertise platform that allows you to video conference 1-to-1 with someone (accountant, guitar teacher, VC, etc)

-Matt

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Nice to see you here Matt :slight_smile: Cool re: lockdown “bar”! That’s a slippery slope into a VR discussion so I’ll leave that for another day together haha :slight_smile:

In terms of web monetised expertise, teaching, etc I wonder from a user standpoint if people want another platform or if they simply want the functionality on platforms they already use? New platform .v. Zoom and so on plugin badidslly?

For more full time consultants / Teachers / etc I suppose they have the customer base already whereas ad-hoc and freelancers may need the networking benefit of a structured platform.

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Hi Eric, Hessel here from Free Music Archive (one of the first GftW grantees).

So the idea is to come up with a pay per second mechanism, right? The moment when our video tooling makes the connection until I stop the client will be charged.

Some thoughts:

  • How will this change the social interaction between the client and the service provider? If you and I agree on a $300 hourly fee and we start with a chat, talk business and finish up with some social talk about how the kids are doing I expect you charge me for the business part not the rest. So how would you see this work? “Ok Hessel, it’s time to hit the payment tracker button now because from this moment we are going to talk business”. Something like that?

  • every user should be able to set the “price per second”, right? We need a flexible monetization model that knows how much to take from the client’s digital wallet. “one size fits all” will not work here.

  • disputes. What if I am not happy with your work during the billable seconds. Should there be a delay or payback option? Of course the lower the amount transferred the less problems I expect. If it’s just 1 or two dollars people will not bother to dispute (maybe give you a bad review) but it’s going to be 10, 20, 50 dollars?

  • tax / administration. We have used UpWork (Odesk) in the last decade and although the programmer, consultant, creative needs to sign up with UpWork and agree to pay his/her taxes I always wondered how more complicated deals (European consultant working for an American individual) work. This might involve local, state, federal taxes and probably a lot of stuff I don’t know about. So when building some monetization plugin, who will take the responsibility for this in your opinion? Maybe integrate a Merchant of Record to do all this work?

The above are just some initial thoughts. Hopefully you and other fans on this forum are willing to collaborate on finding the answers because I am interested to look at this in more detail.

Not difficult to see how this could have a positive impact on the monetization of knowledge of art, craftsmanship etc. Big thumbs up.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment! Also congratulations on receiving a grant!

Nice that you picked up on this thread as it’s actually the one I have been speaking further about with a development team recently. In terms of your comments, some thoughts below.

  1. Correct, that’s an accurate assessment. Turn it on / off essentially depending on where we are in the chat. Alternatively or in addition to I figure this could open up different ways of engaging clients. For example my “non WM” clients get the standard 1 hour session they are paying for but those who pay my standard fee + stream payments during the chat get for example an addition X number of minutes on the call. The latter is a bit tough to track and set with respect to a streaming rate but obviously not everyone is WM enabled at the moment and so I think finding a way to cater for both adds to the “why not both?” story instead of the “either / or” view that some have re: WM or not WM.

  2. 100%, one size does not fit all especially when talking about “expert domain” sessions, law firms, fitness instructors, etc. Im admittedly unaware of this is possible via ILP / Coil at the moment or rather how that setting works but its something that the dev team I am speaking to and I want to explore. Can it be set or does it require some kind of nifty integration with a tipping system? Hopefully just an adjustment system to keep it clean and flexible.

  3. Great question. I think this can go both ways. On the one hand existing systems that the aforementioned potential customer segments use have dispute functions but it typically requires some kind of platform operator / middleman engagement. Leaving this up to the participants would be ideal and eliminating the middleman is probably the ethos of this whole initiative but it can get tricky. Perhaps treat it as an add-on feature? IE: Two law firms engage in this concept, one offers the ability for “disputes / refunds” and that may be presented as a more compelling case on why I want to work with that firm instead of the other?

  4. Im based out of Singapore and when I have engaged foreign clients via those platforms its always been the responsibility of each partner (IE: I deal with my local tax requirements, they deal with theirs). I would view any handling of that as a problem to solve later on so as to keep things as simple as possible for now. Definitely worth exploring but perhaps once there is a bit more meat around the bone.

One big item that I am hoping to find a clean solution for is the actual on-boarding process and that is something that I imagine applies to a lot of individuals involved. How do you get the wallet (Uphold?) and Coil on-boarding to be smooth both for the enterprise “client” of this idea as well as the end-clients they are dealing with? Is there a clean way to address that or is there no way around manual engagement by both sides at the moment? It’s all early stage so the latter may be where we’re at for now but its something that I hope the ecosystem gives thought to as things progress.

Grateful for your thoughts and comments! More than happy to brainstorm together further and more than happy to see you get involved in whatever capacity you see as more viable!

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The team that I was speaking with and I have decided this is likely going to be too cumbersome to get off the ground at this stage of where the Coil / WM ecosystem is at.

Few factors contributing to that thought process.

If we’re looking at “domain expertise”, the cap of 0.36 USD per hour payout rate prohibits this addressing most or all of the fees associated with these kind of platforms. Also the case for medical services via teleconferencing, online fitness instructors, etc.

The solution we figured we could pursue here was some kind of a tipping mechanism but that seemed less than ideal for a couple of reasons.

  • More friction in uploading funds, tipping functionality, setting tipping amounts, etc
  • Requires some kind of pre-funding of the tipping wallet or escrow account which seems to defeat the point of streaming money as you consume

In addition to the above the API integration options with most of the more popular platforms (IE: domain expert platforms, Zoom, etc) are either non-existent or less than friendly.

Essentially we reached the conclusion that with the current limitations on what can be done, the ability to stream payments for more financially intensive services is likely premature. So the question was then do we keep looking at this out of a passion for the technology and ethos or do we drop it in search of something more practical?

Ultimately we decided on the latter. Some other ideas being floated around which we think will be a more realistic implementation of WM. Exploring further and may submit an application around.

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It is valuable to know the limitations right now. The possibilities are exciting, but we need to get more experimentation, play, hacking and network building before the tech is ready to handle bigger ideas like you suggest. Have you thought about how a lower stakes implementation along side of a more practical solution could look like? Like what if a goal was “20% of a projects revenue was driven by WM” along something more traditional/worth the return?

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Thanks for the reply!

For sure re: experimentation. I think a common misperception regarding a lot of this technology (outside of this forum and other more developer focused discussion groups) is how early stage it all is. The more tinkering the better!

In terms of the “20%” perspective, I’d agree there. I’m not sure WM within fitness / domain experts is meaningful enough of a difference maker for non-WM users to migrate over into the ecosystem but conceptually I think you’re 100% right. I don’t think it’s an “either / or” discussion but a “why not both?” in a lot of cases.

Where the discussions are currently leaning towards is figuring out a way for bloggers on Medium / other independent platforms to enable their content with WM without having to migrate over to the Coil blogging platform or other WM specific platforms. We’re trying to hash out whether that’s possible (APIs, frictionless UX, etc) but basically the idea is to can bring WM to creators where they exist and allow them to monetise content they already have as opposed to trying to evangelise them to migrate over to WM specific platforms … at least for now so that they can dip their toes in.

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