Google's giving website administrators the ability to monetize their sites using a new kind of paywall: pay-per-page purchases. According to the Google Wallet for Web Content website (which, fear not, isn't behind a premium-priced barrier), the service "is an experiment to see if users will be prepared to pay for individual web pages if the buying process is sufficiently easy."
Pages that use the service can give readers a free sample to give them a taste of the content, then restrict access to the rest of the piece unless the reader plunks down some change via their Google Wallet.
Google has taken steps to ensure the obvious potential pitfalls of the Wallet for Web Content program have been plugged. Readers have a 30 minute grace period to request a refund if the content wasn't what they were expecting, while Google will be actively monitoring reader refunds to ensure less-than-scrupulous types don't try to claim constant refunds in order to access premium content for free. To keep website operators honest, only freely available content will be indexed by Google's search spiders.
Additionally, Google suggests websites keep content prices below $1; if a website operator wants to sell an article for more than that or doesn't like the idea of issuing refunds, the company gently nudges them towards Google Wallet's digital goods and games program.
Oxford University Press, Peachpit and DK are already onboard and offering premium content for the experiment. Website owners that want to get in on the experimental monetization action can sign up at the Google Wallet for Web Content website.