Building an Open-Source Payment Hub for Independent Media¶
Some news outlets use paywalls. Others are experimenting with ways of asking readers to make a contribution or donate voluntarily, rather than forcing them to buy access to their stories.
taz, a cooperatively-owned independent newspaper in Berlin, has become a pioneer in the “pay-at-will” model over the last few years. taz benefits from nearly 9,500 donors who have signed up for one-off or recurring contributions. Supporters can donate an amount of their choice in almost any payment format: via their mobile phone, bank transfer, PayPal, or even using bitcoin or Flattr.
To put this payment platform on a better technological foundation, Sourcefabric and taz received a grant from the second round of awards given by the Google DNI Fund. The project has two main goals: first, to create an open-source payment hub that can be integrated with the front end of any news website, in order to facilitate the payment process for subscribers and donors. The second goal is to connect an open-source CRM system to the subscriber database, in order to help taz manage its customer relationships more effectively.
We are proud to partner with taz to create a more participatory and sustainable model for the future of journalism. Since this is an open-source project, the payment hub can benefit other independent news outlets who want to foster the spirit of pay-at-will instead of building more paywalls.