About Web Monetization at RustFest Global
At RustFest Global we are experimenting with Web Monetization, a fairly new web standard that aims to make supporting creators easier. As part of this, you can join our experiment and help us distribute several thousand dollars among our speakers and artists to support them and in compensation for their hard work. Read on for details, and if you have feedback please send it our way: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Web Monetization? #
Web Monetization intends to make it straightforward for creators to share their content online and get paid for it, without the need of intrusive and privacy-hostile ads and tracking. The privacy-preseving operation is a key feature, to quote Coil:
We started Coil because we wanted a way for content creators to get paid without needing to rely on intrusive advertising that fails to respect users' privacy.
But Web Monetization itself is not a product (of Coil, or anyone else in particular) it is a nascent open standard that aims to build an ecosystem
On a technical level, Web Monetization is an "interoperable platform for streaming micropayments on the Web" and is focused on building a large ecosystem where you can use your Web Monetization payment provider to support creators all across the Web. While it can be confusing in the context of the "RustFest conference stream" (in which we mean the audio/video content), "streaming" in the case of Web Monetization means "giving tiny fractions of money to a creator whose content you are consuming" (more about this below).
Web Monetization, if you squint at it somewhat resembles services like Flattr or Patreon, but it's not exactly the same (see the link for more details on why). While all this is still a very young technology, prominent websites are already starting to experiment with it: CSS-Tricks uses it to provide an ad-free experience to their visitors, while the dev.to community makes it possible for writers to get paid for their blogposts on the website (again, without the need for obtrusive ads and tracking).
At RustFest we use the technology a bit differently, read on to learn about our approach!
Why does RustFest care about Web Monetization? #
One of the "classic" ways to utilize Web Monetization is to provide some "bonus content" when someone with a subscription visits the website of a creator and consumes their content. Another approach is to provide extra perks to a "Web-Monetized" visitor (such as an ad-free experience as above).
At RustFest we already don't have ads on the website, our conference stream is already available for free and we have ticket sales and sponsorships to cover our costs. On the other hand we do have creators we want to support: our speakers and artists! Traditional conferences were already quite bad at giving their speakers the right incentives, support and, well, paying them for their work—and this has seemingly gotten even worse for online events. Web Monetization gives us an opportunity to give back to the very people who make our conference amazing (and, well, a conference in the first place).
We have also applied and successfully received grant funding from the Grant for the Web program to experiment with Web Monetization at our conference and build our own conference platform that not only makes experimentation like this possible, but will also be released as open source after the conference to help others wanting to host their own events, define their own rules. Learn more about "Waasabi", our conference platform on Open Collective.
Why should I care about Web Monetization? #
In a general sense, Web Monetization is a real honest effort trying to fix the Web's broken monetization model that is currently built on tracking, endless rivers of advertising and giant centralized, opaque platforms. It gives individual creators a fighting chance to not be at the mercy of these exploitative practices if they ever want to be paid for their work.
From a RustFest perspective, by simply taking on our provided free trial you are supporting the speakers and artists who put hours of work into their talks and audio-visual entertainment. While we do offer various perks to our speakers, and pay our artists a fair fee we think this is a great way to show appreciation to the people who make RustFest a (great) conference in the first place.
One more important detail: due to the fact that RustFest's (fairly unique) Replay feature also supports Web Monetization, our speakers and artists get to monetize the long tail of their performance! This means, that anyone who watches the talks anytime, if they have an active Web Monetization subscription, they contribute streaming funds (and can give tips!) all the same.
How can I use Web Monetization? #
As an attendee you will need to register a Coil membership account (you may use the Free Trial provided below!). Unfortunately (due to it being a rather young technology) Web Monetization is not supported in all browsers by default, but you can install a plugin (webextension) to start using it today while the browser ecosystem catches up!
What happens when I have a membership & the plugin installed? #
Your membership comes with $5 of "distributable funds" every month. Coil uses these funds to pay creators whenever you visit their website a tiiiny amount of money every second you spend there! In RustFest's case this means that once you have activated your subscription and extension, for any talk that you watch in your web browser Coil sends a bit of money to the speaker who presents the talk. The same goes for entertainment - you watch the show, your subscription pays the bill! :)
If you have used the Trial Codes offered below, you will have access to another feature: tipping! Your trial code comes with an extra 5 dollars of "tipping budget" — you can use these funds to give extra tips to the speaker or artist you are watching! Just open your extension and click "Tip this creator $1!" to throw a coin of appreciation at the presenter of the currently playing content! If you run out of tipping budget you can top up and continue handing out tips to your heart's content — but your streaming payments will stay at the same rate.
Free Trial #
Thanks to Coil's generous sponsorship we now have a couple hundred free trial subscriptions to give away! The coupons are available to anyone with a ticket — no matter how much (or even if) you have paid for one!
You can claim your coupon code in the "Freebies" section after logging into our conference experience at watch.rustfest.global. Please note that we have a limited number of coupon codes which are given out on a first-come-first-served basis (you will receive a note on the Freebies page if all freebies have been claimed) so be quick!
You will need to register a Coil account if you don't already have one:
- If you are registering a new account, after signup & email address confirmation you will be asked for credit card details — you can leave this empty for now and use your coupon code in the "Have promo code?" field. After clicking "Apply" you should be redirected to the home page and in Settings :arrow_right: Membership you should be able to verify that your 1-month free subscription and $5 tipping balance is activated.
- If you already have a Coil account, just go to your Membership Settings and Redeem the coupon code you have received, after the page reloads you should have an extra month of free subscription and 5 extra dollars of tipping balance!
If you run into issues just drop us an email at email@example.com, and you will probably see Coil folks floating about in the conference chat, too.
What if I want to support a talk/creator more? #
Well first of all, everyone's contribution adds up! If every RustFest attendee watched one of the 25-minute talks the presenter would receive over $100 in streaming payments! But there is more: our sponsor, Coil has made the preview of a new feature available to our attendees which allows you to tip a creator! They even went ahead and set everyone up with a $5 "tip balance" that you can use from the Coil extension or Puma browser to show some extra appreciation for the currently playing content!
All in all, our attendees have the power to distribute several thousand dollars worth of streaming payments and tips to our creators, and we think this is a fantastic way to compensate creators for the work they have put into their acts. 🎉
But I care about my privacy and don't want to be tracked! #
Amazing! We completely agree on that one!
Us, the organizers of RustFest care deeply about protecting the data of our attendees — there's no ads or tracking scripts here, heck, we even built our own conference platform (in part) to reduce our attendee's exposure to big corporate giants gulping up their personal and behavioral data while using their e.g. video service.
Believe us when we say, if Web Monetization didn't live up to our high standards and expectations around data privacy, we wouldn't be using, much less recommending it!
Here's the most important things you need to know from Coil's documentation:
- Creators (speakers, etc.) don't know who they received funds/tips from
- Coil doesn't know who you are giving your money to, either!
- Not even Us (Waasabi/RustFest) know who you stream payments to (or even if you do)
We are planning to ask the speakers about their experience with Web Monetization, but that is voluntary feedback provided to help us evaluate our experimentation.
If you still have concerns we recommend this detailed and slightly technical article by Coil's CTO about the inner workings of what makes it possible for Web Monetization to preserve user anonymity. Also if you are concerned about the extension, it is open source.
I still have an issue with this — can I opt out? #
You don't have to, if you don't use Web Monetization (e.g. do not use a supporting browser or extension) absolutely nothing happens. That is to say, you need to opt in by choosing to use these Web Monetization (creating a member account, getting a subscription, installing the extension) to support our creators—our speakers and artists. If you do this, while you watch the content your extension uses your subscription to pay the creator a small amount of money. If you don't, nothing happens, the meta information that would instruct the extension to start payments remains unread (as there is no extension to process it).
If you have strong feelings against Web Monetization we encourage you to send us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org! As we mentioned, we are still experimenting with these technologies in an effort to make online events more sustainable for everyone involved — and if you have thoughts about this, we would like to hear them!
I am a speaker/artist, and I want to opt out of Web Monetizing my presentation #
Web Monetization for all our creators (speakers, artists) is completely optional. All our creators should have received information on registering a Web Monetization-enabled wallet and sent us their payment pointers. For creators who have not shared their payment pointers with us we are not able to set the pointer up during the session and thus it won't be monetized.
Web Monetization sounds interesting, but what happens after the conference? #
All our access pass holders are able to access every single talk and performance through their registration for 3 months after the conference. For creators who have shared their payment pointer with us all talk replays remain Web Monetized! This means that you might receive funds for your presentation even months after the conference date!
Any attendees who have used the provided Coil coupons, the trial subscription comes with a month-long subscription and $5 pre-paid tipping budget included. After the free trial, you will need to choose if you want to continue supporting creators around the internet using Web Monetization: in this case you will need to purchase a paid subscription. If you end up with remaining tip budget after the conference, there are tons of sites and developers out there who are already webmonetized, and you might be surpised to see on how many sites your extension would light up, telling you that the person whose website you are visiting is getting paid.