June 14, 2024
Mozilla and Creative Commons want to reimagine the internet without ads, and they have $100M to do it
“The business models of the web are broken and toxic, and we need to identify new ways to support creators and to reward creativity,” says Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, in a statement.
“The business models of the web are broken and toxic, and we need to identify new ways to support creators and to reward creativity,” says Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, in a statement.

Funding online content with small consumer payments rather than intrusive and privacy-compromising ads has for years been a goal for many internet theorists and publishers.

“We’re at a point where it’s clear there’s kinds of negative side effects for people and even for democracy of the data-driven ad economy that funds the internet,” says Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation.

Now, Mozilla, Creative Commons, and a new micropayment startup have announced a $100 million grant program to finally bring that dream to fruition. The program, called Grant for the Web, will give roughly $20 million per year for five years to content sites, open source infrastructure developers, and others building around Web Monetization, a proposed browser standard for micropayments.

“When we started Coil, Coil was essentially the first Web Monetization provider,” says founder and CEO Stefan Thomas. Coil users pay a fixed monthly fee that’s distributed among sites they visit that have Web Monetization enabled, such as the web development site CSS-Tricks, based on how long they visit the sites. The underlying technology supports other providers routing user funding as well.

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