Comedian Louis C.K. made big news a few years back by letting people download his show and asking for a voluntary $5 donation. No DRM. No gates. No middlemen.
What made this so remarkable was not how successful it was — generating over a million dollars in one week — but how simple it was. Two links: one to the download and one to Paypal.
It brings to mind for me e-commerce friction. If you put obstacles in the way, you create friction. Enough obstacles and there’s enough friction to come to a stand-still.
How many times have you been sucked into a cycle of obstacles in trying to make a simple transaction… trying to remember your password, having it sent to you, having to change it, trying to figure out a new password that meets the demands of the system… who can possible care to own something that requires going through all that.
Instead, here’s a link and you can send me (via Paypal) $5 if you like it. He didn’t have to build anything. Didn’t have to deal with any interface issues. He could manage this entire process via his blog.
The next time a consultant want $1.5 million to create an e-commerce system, ask yourself if the Louis C.K. Model will work for you instead.