Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Poynter Institute posts detailed case study of Rutland Herald’s use of Clickshare

Posted on: September 4th, 2013 by wdensmore No Comments

The Poynter Institute has posted a detailed case study on use by the family-owned Rutland Herald, Barre-Times Argus and related publications of Clickshare’s user-authentication, site-access control, and metered-access services. The article emphasizes the flexiblity of the service in a market where the Mitchell family competes with high-quality, free websites. It includes details of financial and traffic numbers.

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Norfolk, Va., daily adopts Clickshare technology to manage iPad subscriptions; Clickshare passes 3 million registered users

Posted on: December 13th, 2010 by Bill Densmore No Comments

AMHERST, Mass., Dec. 13, 2010 – Clickshare Service Corp., a provider of user registration, authentication, access control and e-commerce services, today announced that The Virginian-Pilot newspaper has selected Clickshare as the payments vendor for its iPad app. The Virginian-Pilot, the flagship newspaper of Landmark Media Enterprises, has already deployed the system, which enables payments to flow directly from consumers to the publisher, eliminating the current wait for Apple to enable content subscriptions through its iTunes store.

“The main reason that we’re doing this is to make The Pilot available to other mediums,” said Danielle Rodier, The Pilot’s circulation marketing manager. “It’s really important for us to diversify how we get information out to the public.”

The new iPad tablet app has several advantages over other payments and subscription management systems: By eliminating the wait for Apple to enable content subscriptions through its iTunes store, it also eliminates any fees Apple may charge in that service; and, it provides the publisher direct access to customer data.

Besides this new service, Clickshare has been providing its online subscription management solution to the Virginian-Pilot since March of 2008, controlling access to its digital edition (PilotOnline) under a “Freemium” approach which allows print subscribers free access to premium content while charging web-only customers. Expanding on that history, The Virginian-Pilot is one of the first daily newspapers to use Apple’s popular tablet computer/e-reader as a platform to deliver content.

In addition to Landmark Media Enterprises, Clickshare’s clients include The New York Times Company, Crain Communications, The McClatchy Company, A.H. Belo, Journal Register Company, Sun-Times Media, the Rutland Herald and a number of independently-owned newspapers along with other websites, magazines and government entities.

With the addition of the Virginian-Pilot, the combined circulation of Clickshare-serviced newspapers, magazines and trade publications has now passed the 2 million mark, including 1.3 million in daily newspaper circulation and 775,000 in trade publications. In all, Clickshare has surpassed the 3-million mark for registered accounts.

Mobilizing its service tools, and responding to the needs of its clients during the last 15 years, Clickshare has implemented and provided all of the various options being considered by daily newspapers currently exploring paid content solutions, including metered access, variable-term subscriptions, per-item or “daypass” pricing, and ecommerce payments for merchandise sales.

Ultimately, the company envisions sharing of news and other content within a network of affiliated Clickshare-enabled websites, providing free or reduced rate access to registered customers, while charging for access to non-customers.

Clickshare’s suite of paid content tools allows publishers to control access to content based on:

  • user type (including geographic location, device in use or the affiliations or known attributes of the user);
  • content type (including premium content, email services, commenting rights or viewing a preview rather than a full content item);
  • payment type (content can be sold by subscription or per click, charged per event, by hours, day, week, month or year); or
  • bundled packages (publishers can sell content in bundled packages which can include print, web, mobile or tablet services).

Clickshare has integrated with numerous content management solutions including Saxotech Online, Olive Software, Tecnavia, DTI, Handmark and Drupal.

In order to grow their businesses in the new Internet era, daily newspapers have been exploring paid various approaches to and requirements for content solutions, including metered access, variable-term subscriptions, per-item or “daypass” pricing, and ecommerce payments for merchandise sales. All these capabilities are included in the current Clickshare platform:

  • Metered access – allows access to specific number of pages with gradual messages leading to registration and payment requests. Clickshare allows publishers to establish all of the threshold variables and parameters.
  • Subscriptions for any type of term (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.)
  • IP-number-based access control — this is designed to allow global access in enterprise solutions such as master subscriptions for businesses or colleges.
  • Multi-seat subscriptions — this allows master and subsidiary accounts for enterprise or family solutions
  • Automatic renewal option for credit card payments
  • Daypass pricing, or other limited-duration access
  • Token pack — redeemable tokens for day or article access
  • Free trials — limited-duration free access for registered customers
  • Special pricing for different customer categories , such as print, geographic, etc.
  • Newspapers In Education (NIE) access
  • Voluntary payments or donations, or membership models
  • Event registration and e-commerce payments for merchandise sales

About Clickshare

Clickshare Service Corp., based in Amherst, Massachusetts, has been providing user registration, authentication, access control and e-commerce services to web and print publishers for more than 10 years, registering over 3.3 million accounts.  Clickshare was formed in 1997, raised $2.9 million in equity capital through 2001, and has operated on revenues since. Shareholders include the University of Massachusetts, venture investors, PeopleSoft founder David Duffield and former publishing executives of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader and Philadelphia Inquirer. More information on Clickshare may be found at:  www.clickshare.com.

Clickshare awarded patent for system that could reduce need for central “big brother” databases or multiple user accounts

Posted on: December 10th, 2013 by wdensmore No Comments

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AMHERST, Mass., Dec. 10, 2013  – A Massachusetts company has patented a system that it says could reduce the need for large, central databases of user names and accounts – a key emerging privacy challenge – while also reducing the need for users to have to have multiple online accounts.

The U.S. Patent Office on Tuesday issued U.S. patent No. 8,606,719, “System for Management of Alternatively Priced Transactions on Network,” (PDF) to Clickshare Service Corp. The company already has a related patent for a “System for Management Payments on a Network – Four or More Parties,” and has been working on the service since at least 1997.

The key innovation, the company said, is a system which both authenticates users across multiple independent web services, and allows users to choose among multiple home-base registrars. The patent also describes methods for allowing the sharing of user preferences, and real-time, variable pricing of digital content.

“Our technology gives consumers control over who sees personal information, and creates the potential for publishers to conveniently share content and users across networks which permit variable pricing and service offerings,” said Richard Lerner, CEO.

The Amherst-based company provides online registration, subscription, access control and billing services for millions of customers of newspaper and other information-publishing websites.

In a key privacy aspect, the sharing system works when the consumer users are known to information-publishing websites — and the system itself — only by a unique number. Only the user’s chosen home base (required for account reconciliation) associates the number with a person, and even then, need not know which content the user purchases.

Under the system patented by Clickshare, a person can have an account at one website, and purchase information, manage identity information, and get paid for advertising viewing at multiple other websites without having to repeatedly register or pass around name or unique identity information.

Unlike services such as iTunes or Facebook Connect, users of a Clickshare system would be able to choose their “home base” yet have a single account that works at multiple sites without repeated registration.

”There has been no Internet-based customer management system for payments or demographic tracking which did not require the creation of a massive, central names database, raising difficult marketing, partnering and privacy issues,” says Bill Densmore, founder of Clickshare. “Clickshare’s patented approach leaves customer ownership distributed among participating partners, and can put significant privacy control in consumer hands.”

Clickshare said it continues to explore with its dozens of publishing clients applications for the technology.

The patent covers  a system which manages and controls user accounts, payments and anonymous access to Internet websites where there are four parties involved. The four parties are the consumer user, the consumer’s home-base website (where the consumer has an account and profile information), one or more information or service-vending websites where the consumer wishes to view or purchase, and a system website where the parties can authenticate, aggregate, transfer and share usage and billing data across the system. The new patent expands protection for the system first described by Clickshare in U.S. Patent No. 7,324,972 issue Jan. 29, 2008.

ABOUT CLICKSHARE

Clickshare has been providing services such as user registration, authentication, access control, subscription management, “per-click” purchasing, event ticket sales and online print subscription capture for the newspaper and media industries for over 10 years, registering over six million accounts.  The Clickshare System supports many models including traditional purchasing, B-to-B applications such as tracking and payment for advertising click-throughs, reliable exchange of consumer information, federated authentication and management of loyalty programs.

Some of Clickshare’s customers  include:

  • Boston Globe Media Partners (at Worcester, Mass.)
  • BH Media (Berkshire Hathaway) at The Omaha World-Herald
  • Sun-Times Media
  • Crain Communications Inc.

Clickshare was formed in 1997, is privately owned. It raised $2.9 million in initial equity capital through 2001, and has operated on revenues since. Shareholders include the University of Massachusetts, venture investors, PeopleSoft founder David Duffield and former publishing executives of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader and Philadelphia Inquirer.

Contacts
For Clickshare:
Edward Bride, 413-442-7718
[Ed@edbride-pr.com]

On Jan. 29, 2008, Clickshare was awarded (http://tinyurl.com/2wtlpu) U.S. Patent No. 7,324,972 for “Managing transactions on a network: four or more parties.” (Initial announcement: http://tinyurl.com/2ukwj4) The patent covers Clickshare’s federated authentication, transaction and personalization news and advertising social network.

Two case studies: Metered, multiplatform subscriptions using Clickshare

Posted on: February 12th, 2012 by wdensmore No Comments

Two New England dailies provide case studies of how they are adding revenue after adding systems for metered subscription access to their websites in this recording of a New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) panel. The Feb. 11, 2012 session in Boston opens with Richard Lerner, CEO of Clickshare Service Corp., and continues with John Winn Miller, publisher of the Concord (N.H.) Monitor and Gary Farrugia, CEO and publisher of The Day, of New London, Conn.   Download the MP3 podcast to listen to the discussion and follow along with the presentation links below, courtesy of NENPA. (70MB, 1 hour, 12 mins.) Farrugia’s presentation broadly covers the paper’s strategy for becoming a digital-data media service for the region’s businesses and citizens.

New London [Conn.] Day launches Clickshare-powered multiplatform subscription service with “passport” to discounts

Posted on: September 14th, 2011 by Bill Densmore No Comments

The Day, of New London, Conn.,  went live with a multi-platform print and digital subscription service and membership program powered by Clickshare Service Corp. The new membership program offers unlimited access to its website, theday.com, including its premium online and mobile content.

“We take great pride in the quality journalism we provide to the communities we serve. We’ve spent nearly a decade building and establishing theday.com as a brand. That’s what is driving us to put a price on our growing digital platform,” said Gary Farrugia, The Day’s publisher.

The membership program, which ranges in price per month from $9.99 to $22.99 for top-of-the-line Platinum service, will begin on Wednesday, September 14. Current home delivery subscribers to The Day are automatically members in the new program once they complete their registration at theday.com. Non-member visitors to theday.com will be allowed up to 10 “premium” staff-written articles or features each month. Only members will be allowed commenting privileges on stories at theday.com.

As part of the new membership model, The Day also introduced a new members-only rewards program, The Day Passport, which includes rewards, events, and giveaways to local businesses, entertainment venues, and cultural institutions.

“We are shifting from an address-based print subscription model to a user-based content access model, whereby those who join will enjoy our award-winning products in all the forms that we publish them, as well as additional benefits and privileges,” said Daniel L. Williams, Director of Audience Development.

The Day’s introduction was covered by News & Technology  and by Poynter.com.

An early Clickshare user hits a 225-year milestone in Massachustts

Posted on: September 6th, 2011 by Bill Densmore No Comments

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — The Daily Hampshire Gazette, a pioneer at using Clickshare’s subscription services to control access to its website, is 225 years old this month — one of the oldest continuously published newspapers in America. The paper provides this self portrait.

Emedia Vitals post recounts Concord Monitor “metered” experience

Posted on: September 2nd, 2011 by Bill Densmore No Comments

Writer Ellie Behling of the website emedia vitals posted a wrapup describing how four different U.S. dailies are using metered-access subscription systems on their websites. One of them featured in the Aug. 30, 2011 post was the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, a Clickshare client.


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Quoting from the post:

“John Winn Miller, publisher of The Concord Monitor, which launched a metered paywall in May, also found it was important to look for the best practices from what other papers wrere doing and be rigorous about having data for every opinion.

“It might sound obvious, but it can’t be overlooked: Publishers have to offer readers something worth paying for before they even think about putting up a paywall.

“The Concord Monitor, for instance, rolled out a complete redesign of its website shortly before the paywall, focusing on a more usable design and better local content. The paper also only puts local copy behind the paywall, since readers can’t get that type of content elsewhere.

“Miller noted that he was initially wary about reader acceptance of a paywall; after all, the statewide newspaper the Monitor competes with isn’t behind a paywall. ‘Typically if you’re in a competitive market you’re afraid to do anything,’ he said. Largely because of the newspaper’s research and preparation, the Monitor went forward with the paywall and the newspaper is enjoying a year-over-year online revenue boost.

Reports from the front: Three mid-sized papers describe their experience

Posted on: May 29th, 2011 by wdensmore No Comments

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Executives of three mid-sized papers offered field reports on charging for online content during a session at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) at the Missouri School of Journalism. The April 26, 2011 session — involving papers in Missouri, Georgia and Oklahoma — is now archived as a video stream at the RJI website. In addition, Nieman Lab blog reporter Justin Ellis was in Columbia for the sessions and he’s written a summary, with links.  The video is on a page with more than 15 other video frames. Click on the main page, then scroll down to the No. 11 frame to launch and watch the session, entitled: “Reports from the Field on Paid Content.”
The papers covered are the Columbia [Mo.] Tribune, the Augusta [Ga.] Chronicle, and the Tulsa [Okla.] World.

Originating the idea of the “digital calling card” — a 1996 talk

Posted on: March 15th, 2011 by wdensmore No Comments

It was in 1996 that the author of this post first used in a major public forum the phrase “digital calling card” — in a speech at Hershey, Penn.  Reading the text of that speech 14 years later, it’s amazing how much of it remains relevant today.  Here’s the part that referred to the “Digital Calling Card”(SM) technology:

Here’s a graphical depiction of how Clickshare works. Think of Publisher A as an Atlanta newspaper and Publisher B as a Boston newspaper. And imagine for a moment that both of these papers have web sites and that in each case they enroll users for $5 a month and allow their own users “all you can eat” access to basic news resources for that price. Now lets suppose a baseball fanatic in Atlanta wants to read a Red Sox pregame workup and finds a link to the Boston newspaper’s story at the Atlanta web site. Click . . . the reader goes to the Boston site. But here the Boston server, in the present world, says “Sorry, access prohibited please subscribe.” The user, faced with paying $5 for one article and starting a second ongoing $5 a month relationship just skips the article and the Boston paper loses a sale.

Now consider if both newspapers were running Clickshare Web Server Software and were Clickshare Publishing Members. Repeat the scenario. Now the Atlanta readers request goes out with a digital calling card. And that card, read by the Boston server, says, “This user is a Clickshare enabled user and has an account at the Atlanta Clickshare member.” The Globe sells the article for, say, 10 cents at wholesale. The reader gets his article with no additional password or challenge. At settlement time, Clickshare Corp. applies a 10 cent charge to the Atlanta newspaper’s clearing account and pays the Boston newspaper 8 cents, keeping 2 cents as a transaction fee. The Atlanta newspaper to charge its user whatever it wishes. It could pass along the 10 cents, apply a 20% retail markup to 12 cents, or bundle the Boston story as part of a premium subscription package. Clickshare does not set pricing at the user level because it doesn’t own the user the home base publisher does.

A similar reference to the “digital calling card” technology appears in a later piece: “TV in the ’50s, the ‘net in the ’90s: Three examples of real-world clicking, and why per-click will work in the Clickshare System.”

From 1998: About the “Digital Calling Card” technology

Posted on: March 14th, 2011 by wdensmore No Comments

Clickshare seeks partners for patent-pending
micropayments and user-managment technology

cross posted from: http://www.newshare.com/News/tvs_sale.html

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Oct. 13, 1998 — Clickshare Service Corp. is seeking strategic allies, equity investors and licensees to participate in the commercialization of its patent-pending Internet subscription, microbilling and distributed user- management system.

“We are aggressively seeking partnerships with one or more technology companies, publishers and audience owners such as banks and ISPs to me the Clickshare technology rapidly into the marketplace,” said said Bill Densmore, co-founder of Clickshare.

A six-month prototype demonstration of the Token Validation Service technology involved nearly 2,000 users. Marketed as the Clickshare Service, TVS was tested with three publishers: The American Reporter, Studio Briefing and The Christian Science Monitor.

Clickshare is now seeking a patent for TVS. “We believe the service constitutes a novel application of technology to the problem of how to make the Internet commercially viable,” said Densmore.

So far, consumer web publishers have tried to become profitable on advertising alone. Increasingly, they are viewing micropayments and personalized information delivery as essential to boosting revenues — but few sites have actually ramped up such services.

“We regard TVS as a vital service — because it offers an infrastructure for tagging and identifying Internet users for a variety of purposes — as required for Internet information commerce to become mainstream,” said Densmore. “There are many publishers and equity partners who have looked at what we have and may want to play a role in bringing it to market.”

About the Clickshare Service (TVS)
Clickshare is a client-server based, distributed user-management system for Internet commerce. It enables aggregation of content subscriptions, micropayments, audience measurement by identified user, personalization using a “reverse cookie” approach and Web-site access control. Clickshare employs “Digital Calling Card (SM)” technology which allows users to view and purchase information at multiple, independent web sites using a single ID and password. It enables sale of information “by the click” down to 10 cents per item. TVS requires no special end-user software. More information about TVS may be found at: http://www.clickshare.com/. “Clickshare” is a registered servicemark of Clickshare Service Corp.

Parsing Apple’s policy on in-app iPad subscriptions — see blog

Posted on: February 15th, 2011 by wdensmore No Comments

For months, news publishers have been debating whether Apple will allow them to maintain their subscriber account relationships when the publishers start launching “apps” which run on the iPad. Today Apple spoke in what seems to be fairly clear language. For details, read Bill Densmore’s opinion on the Clickshare user blog.