Archive for the ‘Ecommerce’ Category

Sell Downloads: Why it Works

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
Lisa Cremer asked:

There has been a lot of buzz about the freeconomy. As a results, you might wonder whether it still makes sense to sell downloads or other kinds of digital content. I feel it does, here are some arguments.

Why online content can be sold

The free philosophy is based on the idea that somewhere at the end of the line, you are going to sell something. This can be premium content just as well.

Micropayments are becoming more popular.

Today, people more often buy digital goods. Such as iTunes music, H&M clothing in the Sims game, or Radiohead’s latest album In Rainbows.

Google Adwords doesn’t work so well for smaller, specialized sites. However, it’s harder to get a free version of specialized content than of popular music, so buying this kind of content makes more sense.

Many people are starting to **** advertising more than paying a small fee.

People who like your work won’t mind supporting you a little.

Selling content does not mean a subscription based model

Maybe you’re thinking: selling content, is that not something The Wall Street Journal once tried (and failed)?

Well, yes and no. They used a subscription based model. I feel this probably isn’t the easiest way to sell content.

A subscription model creates quite a high barrier for a consumer to give buying content a try (lets say $30 a month).

That is why I feel that it is very important to try and make this barrier considerably lower. A consumer pays per post, I suggest a model where a blog posts about eigth articles for free and sells two special articles for a small amount, such as $0.50.

The barriers to buy content then are:

Do I get value for my money?

Since there are eight free articles available, a consumer can alreay see if he values the blog’s expertise.

Do I waste my money?

Since the purchase price is low (in our example $0.50 instead of $30) this risk is not so great.

Is buying content easy?

Credit card purchases are often experienced as quite difficult. However, buying content is quite easy with PayPal and Checkout, and it’s very easy with the Oronjo wallet.

How easy is it to find a new alternative?

This greatly depends of the (specialized) expertise of the blog and is correlated with the costs of content / ease of transaction (meaning: the lower the fee and the easier the transaction, the less likely a customer is to start searching for a free alternative).


In short

It is not a question whether  it makes sense to sell downloads or other kinds of digital content. It is a question of how. Experiments in the future we either too soon or did not use the right approach.

Fortunately, new services are arriving, which will prove that selling downloads makes a lot of sense, even in the freeconomy.


Lisa Cremer is marketing manager at, a free service to sell downloads.

What Digital Downloads Can you Sell on a Website?

Sunday, May 31st, 2009
Dan Parks Sydow asked:

Modern website builders make it fast and easy for even a novice computer user to set up an online store. With your own web store you can sell just about anything online. You can sell tangible goods - items you ship to buyers such as collectibles, crafts, stamps and coins. Or you can sell intangible products - electronic files available for downloading such as e-books, videos, digital photos, and music files. Most online stores sell only shippable products. If you would like to stand out from the crowd, try to think of a type of downloadable file to sell online. In this article I will provide you with several examples of downloadable files you might choose to sell. Based on your own areas of interests or expertise, you may be able to think of other download files you can sell.

When it comes to electronic media, “a file is a file.” That means you can sell any type of file including videos (avi, mp4, mpg), music (mp3, wav, aiff), text (doc, txt), pictures and graphics (gif, jpg, bmp), Adobe Acrobat (pdf), programs (exe) and more.

What files should you sell? That depends on your hobbies, interests, or line of work. The following are several ideas of downloadable items you might consider selling from your website.

Authors - Want to be an author? Write a pamphlet, manual, or book on a topic you know well. Save it as a Microsoft Word file (doc) or Adobe Acrobat file (pdf) and sell it online. What to write about? Whatever you know or do best. Write a “How To” manual about cooking, photography, sewing, drawing, painting, woodworking, exercising, dieting, self-help, or computer programming.

Musicians - A local band with no label does not have many options for selling their songs. You cannot sell your songs through iTunes, and producing and distributing a CD on your own is expensive. You can, however, record your songs in a popular music format (such as mp3), then sell the songs from your website. Sell them individually, or bundle several songs together in a zip file to sell for a higher price. You can even include lyrics (as a Microsoft Word file) and/or digital photos of the band (as jpg files) in the bundle.

Photographers - There are stock photography selling sites that let you upload your photos, then pay you 25 cents to one dollar per download sale. Why not upload as few or as many of your photos as you want to your own website and set the price per photo you want?

Trainers - If you know a topic well enough to train others, then you certainly know enough about that subject to write a training manual, tutorial, or educational courseware and save it as a Microsoft Word file (doc) or Adobe Acrobat file (pdf). Supplement your training income by selling these files online.

e-Book Distributors - The Internet offers thousands of e-books written by other people - e-books to which you can freely or cheaply obtain the rights to redistribute. Upload as many as you want, add your profit margin to the price of each, and make money from the work of others.

Resellers - The Internet is a rich resource for royalty free files such as clip art and other images, website templates, and more. Gather it up, bundle it in an archive files (zip) and sell the packages from your website.

Software Developers - If you are a programmer who has developed a program, consider uploading your application to your website, set the price, and start making money from your many hours of programming.

In summary, either give some thought as to what you do best and turn that interest into a file, or search the Internet for existing, royalty-free files, and upload the results to your own website and start making money!