Adding Web Monetization to your site using Coil

by @edent | , , | 3 comments | 550 words | Read ~192 times.

Recently, my blog was featured on Coil's list of monetised content. I'd like to take a little time to explain what Web Monetisation is, how to get set up with it, and what my thoughts are.


Stick this line in the <head> of your HTML page.

<meta name="monetization" content="$">

That's it.

You should replace my uphold address with your own. Unless you want me to get paid for your work.

What is web monetisation

This is a draft specification for seamless payments on the web.

This gives a website visitor a few ways to pay to use a website.

  1. Passive payment. You load your browser up with, say £5 per month. Your browser works out which sites your spent your time on, then splits the fiver between them.
  2. Active payment. You visit a website and hit a paywall. You can tell the browser to pay for it - rather than going through an arduous payments process.

There's a lot more to it than that - obviously - but that'll do as a brief explanation.

Get Started As A Creator

I was asked to beta test Coil - so that's what this section will focus on.

They have a pretty simple guide to getting started. In theory, you can choose a variety of payment providers. I went with Uphold because they don't require you to use a shitty pseudo-currency based on half-baked Blockchain tech. You can get your money in pounds, pesos, paʻanga, or most other world currencies.

Uphold, like any reputable financial institution, has to perform a Know Your Customer check. The usual thing of sending in copies of your ID and proving you are who you claim. Nothing too arduous.

Once you have an "Interledger Payments" address - $ - you can use it to start receiving payments from visitors.

Coil has a range of plugins for things like WordPress, and can even connect your YouTube and Twitch accounts to enable monetisation there.


We need a better way to pay for the web - because advertising sucks. At best it is boorish and irrelevant interruptions. At worst it is... well, look around you.

Unfortunately, as popular as my blog is, I quite often get notifications like this:
A payment of a single penny.
I know every penny helps - but that's a bit ridiculous!

It's a chicken-and-egg problem. But I think it's important that content creators take the first step. Start putting the meta elements on your pages now. Get the content and infrastructure there, and wait for consumers to catch up.

Coil could do with a bit more fine grained detail on where payments are coming from. It would be useful for me to know which of my pages performs best, or whether payments have come from YouTube or Twitch. But it is early days - I'm excited to see how it develops.

So, get started now with Web Monetisation - and perhaps we can rid the web of the scourge of advertising.

3 thoughts on “Adding Web Monetization to your site using Coil

  1. Rob says:

    I love the idea, but without mass adoption it’s likely not going to pay too well for as long as the majority of users are using chrome, safari, m$ edge (or whatever it’s currently called) and the owners of those browsers don’t adopt.

    Most casual web users won’t passively install extensions (some will) but most will just carry on as is unless incentivised to do so.

    Publishers who use adnetworks are often wedded to the revenue stream and the adnetwork controllers are hardly going to get behind a thing that leads to less adoption of their ad code.

    If big newspapers got together and pushed for it in combo with regulatory assistance of sorts then maybe.

    I hate using ads but generally, people are tight as bats and won’t pay for content. The moment you put up a paywall or add exclusivity in some way, many will simply hit the back button and go search for what they need elsewhere.

    Subscription models, as I believe you pointed out in an earlier post, end up becoming a thing where upon review you realise you’ve 10’s of the buggers and they’re costing you a fortune.

  2. Hey, nice article. You have to use different payment pointers if you want to see where it comes from. It's a privacy feature that you have no information where payments come from.

  3. Marcus Downing says:

    I've had emails from PayPal in the past saying: "User X has donated $0.01. After fees, that's $0.00." Setting aside the question of why somebody wanted to donate a single cent, it's a bit dispiriting to see 0% of a donation reach me.

    When I tried adverts, I found that the revenue generated was basically nil. I may have loyal followers, but I don't produce the many thousands of impressions needed to generate useful ad revenue. Plus it felt yucky and diluted my message, so I got rid of them.

    When I tried an obscure donation system - Flattr, which seems a lot like Coil - I found that not many people used it or knew what it was. People aren't eager to load up real dollars on a fuzzy "we'll pay people proportionally" system. People like a clear transaction: I'm paying this person this amount of money for this product or service. Even when donating for no tangible reward, they want a clear sense of where their money is going.

    What's worked for me is Patreon. It's making real money for me - not enough to rival my day job, but enough to help. People know what Patreon is, they understand how it works, so they trust it.

    There's a strong network effect in donations. The big names - Kickstarter, Patreon, PayPal - are considered trustworthy. They do take a substantial cut, but that's the price of anything.

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