Freedom & ease of use, a story about Cleeng

A few weeks ago, Cleeng launched its public beta through a WordPress plugin, which is now being used by a growing number of publishers.
As we try to make it one of the leading solution for content monetization, I wanted to share with you the reasons why I joined Cleeng.
Prior to Cleeng, I worked for a European publishing powerhouse for many years; and one of our main challenge was the difficult balance between content quality and advertising.

Let me explain:..
For most of the online publishers, the business model is based on advertising.  Provided that you have a large audience and many salespeople… you can sell a lot advertising. The great thing is: The bigger you are, the easier it gets and the more you sell.
So you strive to build up your audience by producing more and more content with the goal to sell and deliver more and more advertising. And life is pretty simple.

But if you want to maintain your usual content quality, you need to widen the topics you’re covering and increase your production volume, hence to gather more editors and manpower. And here comes the point, where the incremental advertising revenue driven by the audience increase does not cover the content production costs.

So what would you do at that stage?
You can keep your business flat, or reduce your content production cost by either producing content overseas and by trying to increase the user generated content. Unfortunately, you will must probably run into the situation where  this does not match the production level you’re expecting or worse: it does not match you quality requirement.
Which in turn impacts negatively your image, audience and long term… your business.

And now comes the real question, so-called the 1 billion dollar question.

How can I link direct revenue to the quality of my content?”

And this is where Gilles, the founder of Cleeng, came to me with a great and bright idea about content monetization as an alternative to paywall.
We knew that the issues about content monetization were not about the capacity of the readers to pay for good content, but about the many barriers they meet on their way: Long term commitment, painful user experience, multi subscription…

So we knew what to fight, we just had not found the right way to do it.

He then took the menu from our table at the restaurant, showed me the specials and said: “What if, in a page, you would be able to hide this part between two tags?
You still deliver the page, with advertising, partnerships… but this part that you do want to see because it’s specific to you is hidden. And you allow the users to pay pennies to read it, when they want to read it”.
The approach seemed brilliant to me from the publisher perspective: keep the content inside the page, and “protect” only the part you want with micro payments enabled; all your content or just the value added part….You decide.

Content monetization being at the center of all publishers’ concerns, we hear a lot about paywall, metered wall, micro payments and the recent launch of Google OnePass. Gilles’ idea is a brilliant and innovative solution, yet simple, the result of what look like to be the key to success. Freedom and ease of use for the readers.

A simple way in
In recent years, the success of a certain music store has demonstrated that the One click sign on and one click buying are now a standard.
Cleeng has then been built like this, you cannot shorten the sign-up more than we did, A click on an OpenID button (Facebook, Google, Yahoo) or an email and a password and you’re done, you’re in.
First purchase is on us. The user can then credit his account to keep on using Cleeng.
It’s almost as easy for the publishers: download and install one of our plugins and you’re ready to generate money in less than 10 minutes.

A commitment free solution
Nowadays, we’re reading many things accessible from a overwhelming range of sources available on the Internet. But we cannot subscribe to every single one, even if we acknowledge the value of some sources and we know those content producers need to make a living out of this.
It doesn’t mean there is no loyalty anymore, it means the offer has exploded and we need to preserve our freedom to choose. Especially for topics we’re looking at only from time to time.
This is why Cleeng features a single account working with all publishers with a central wallet. We can spend wherever we want, whenever we want. No commitment, no hassle.

A good user experience
Not only Cleeng allow you to be in control and to pay for what you need.., but it also offers many features to bring a complete user experience and facilitate the access to the content you have purchased.

This means Cleeng will keep the purchased content in a central and personal library accessible from any connected device allowing you to manage your purchased contents.

We’ll also offer a unique way to share the content with friends and colleagues through the social networks (Twitter, Facebook…) while earning some credits doing so.

Ease of use, constraint free, we believe we’ve broken every single barrier on the road to quality content monetization, if we’re ready to pay for it. Those last years have showed us that we are, you are, I am. If content is worth it.

Cleeng is just trying to make it easier for everyone, and this is why I joined!