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The era of rampant free content on the web may be coming to an end, at least if classified service Edgeio has its way. The Palo Alto based corporation has announced the preview launch of the first distributed “paid content” platform. Music downloads, videos, articles, and virtually any other type of content on the internet can now become a new source of revenue for creators. The exciting aspect of the platform is the ease in which it can be implemented. A content creator will not need an e-commerce or billing system, as Edgeio takes care of both. A person or business interested in charging for their content need simply contact Edgeio about their interests and the necessary client-side code will be provided to get things going. This paid content platform brings about a new, strictly digital, form of classified ad that Edgeio calls a “transactional classified.” The initial goal of these classified ads will be to facilitate the distribution of digital content such as audio, video, text, tickets, and other forms of content. Edgeio intends to have three primary user categories: # Publishers that have free, ad supported websites and wish to publish paid articles alongside their free ones. This would appeal to publishers or enterprise-oriented bloggers with highly targeted or technical readerships where there is a demand for their research. # Publishers with subscription-only websites that wish to broaden readership by releasing content that can be purchased on a per-item basis. # Publishers of paid digital content that is mainly available through one or more centralized stores online. Digital Music downloads, research reports, videos and tickets fall under this category. These publishers will be able to turn the enthusiasts for their products into points of sale. Keith Teare, Edgeio’s founder and CEO put it this way: “We have two customers for whom we work to make this possible. First a content creator who has content that they would like to sell and have distributed [...] Second a publisher, whose main goal is to add revenue to their web site [...] Any web site in the world can now become a point of sale for the things they are passionate about.” Edgeio receives 20 percent of transaction revenue, leaving 80 percent to the publisher and any other affiliates. A pretty sweet deal for a service that could let you profit from virtually any content you create. To learn more about this exciting new system, visit the edgeio website. While there is hope that Edgeio may have finally solved the micropayment problem, one must wonder if this offering from Edgeio is any more compelling than what is already available from PayPal. As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on paid content platforms. Let us know what you think.