Announcing the official Coil Web Monetization WordPress plugin

We’re very pleased to announce the release of the Coil Web Monetization plugin to the official WordPress plugins repository. This plugin represents careful planning, thoughtful design and execution conducted in partnership between the Pragmatic and Coil teams.

Web Monetization is a JavaScript browser API which allows the creation of a payment stream from the user agent to the website. This proposed open web standard provides a new and open way for web users to send and receive micropayments and an intriguing alternative business model for the web.

The Coil Web Monetization plugin makes it easy for WordPress creators to monetize their content across the internet, and provides an alternative to advertising and site-by-site subscription models. Once enabled, Coil streams payments to the publisher’s wallet as Coil Members enjoy content, while preserving users’ privacy. Publishers and creators looking to maximize their revenue potential can also use the plugin to implement special features for members, including ad-free and premium content experiences.

Whilst the Web Monetization standard is exceptionally simple to implement (it’s just a meta tag added to a website), the Coil team recognised the importance of creating a WordPress plugin. The WordPress ecosystem, powering 36%+ of the top million websites, is an important target for adoption by any new web technology. The WordPress plugin had two distinct aims: the first was simply to ensure that any (self-hosted) WordPress site could implement Web Monetization without needing developer support. The second was to give content creators more granular controls about how and when Web Monetization was implemented.

Coil approached Pragmatic about the plugin build in the back end of 2019. There followed plenty of healthy discussion about the goals of the plugin, what a sensible v1 release looked like as a backlog and what might drop into a future roadmap. 

Today we’re pleased to announce the release of the plugin that was the eventual result of this collaboration, offering key features to content creators including the ability to:

  • add Web Monetization to every page or post of any WordPress site
  • set Web Monetization on a per-category basis
  • set Web Monetization on a per-page/post basis
  • set Web Monetization on a per-block basis (when using the Gutenberg page builder)

There are a number of sites (e.g. The Hard Times, BRCK blog, Wevolver blog) already using the plugin and we’re very grateful to our beta testers for being early adopters and providing valuable feedback along the way.

The Coil team have also open-sourced the Github repository for the plugin and invite the WordPress community to open issues or pull requests there.

From Pragmatic’s side, this has been one of the most exciting projects we’ve undertaken recently. Building a WordPress plugin is always fascinating as it usually represents an integration (always one of the riskiest and hardest things with software development). Working with a cutting-edge technology at the protocol and standard level is exhilarating. Collaborating with a team that is pushing such a technology forward with such a clear vision for the future of the web feels like an incredible privilege. Finally, helping to bring a technology to the WordPress ecosystem that could be transformative for us all has been a stimulating and exciting opportunity for the Pragmatic team.

“The Coil team is an intensely committed and visionary group of technologists dedicated to bringing a web-native business model to content creators and consumers. Where micropayment platforms and services have been trialled for the last thirty years, this is the first time that it’s been done in a way that is in harmony with the open web by leading with a protocol, standard and the ethos of encouraging a competitive ecosystem. We’re tremendously excited to see the WordPress community learn about, engage with and profit from web monetisation. We’d welcome any feedback on the plugin so we can help iterate it in line with the community’s needs.”

To trial the plugin, just download it from here and follow the installation instructions – it should take no more than ten minutes to get set up.

Micropayments - a comprehensive guide

If you’re interested in the history and current state of micropayments in general, Pragmatic have a free, comprehensive guide available here.

About Coil

Coil was founded in 2018 to build a better business model for the web. Coil makes it easy for creators to monetize their content across the internet, and provides an alternative to advertising and site-by-site subscription models. As members enjoy content, Coil uses a proposed open web standard called Web Monetization to stream micropayments to creators in real time. Coil is designed to support a variety of creators, developers and content platforms. In 2019, Coil, in collaboration with Mozilla and Creative Commons, launched the $100 million Grant for the Web to boost open, fair and inclusive standards and innovation in Web Monetization. Coil also invested $20 million in Imgur, the community-powered entertainment platform reaching 300 million people each month. For more information about Coil, please visit coil.com and follow on Twitter (@Coil). 

About Pragmatic

Founded in 2012, Pragmatic is a digital agency based in Brighton, UK. Pragmatic are specialists in WordPress, providing consultancy, design, production and support services to publishers and brands internationally.

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