Take Back Your Blog! Just sprinkle notifications and cryptocurrency...
It’s a sentiment shared by both readers and writers of blogs: no one is happy with the state of online blogs today. Readers are disgusted by advertising technology that inhibits the joy of reading. Writers are overwhelmed by the technology requirements in and also must resort to more and more tricks to simply survive by writing. Novel attemps to resolve this (like my favorite, Medium) are out there, but let’s face it, it is still a quagmire when it comes to finding a happy middle where writers are properly compensated and readers aren’t left feeling manipulated.
But, we know the potential is there for exceptional writing to work for both the readers and the writers. As a writer and reader myself, I know we can solve this problem. Four years ago when I built Teddy Hyde (the one-handed, no compromise Jekyll blog editor for Android), I was (and still am) so excited about Jekyll blogs: they are simple, easy to manage, easy to change, and let me get into the flow of writing. Jekyll blog still have the tendency to quickly devolve into a “Hyde” character for even experts who use it; TeddyHyde.com was an attempt to make it easy to provision new Jekyll blogs and it helped a few of you with that. But, as all creative types know, the real work is in raising and adapting and supporting the thing you built, not starting it, so there was more work to be done.
Today I want to announce support for two interesting new additions to TeddyHyde.com: native notifications direct to your readers, and cryptocurrency micro-contributions.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are the alternative to heavy, bloated native applications. PWAs offer many novel benefits, the most exciting of which is native notification subscriptions. Getting PWAs properly configured (especially ServiceWorkers) can be complicated and error prone. Now on https://admin.teddyhyde.com, when you create a new blog, it will automatically be configured so that visitors to your blog will be asked to subscribe to notifications. When you make a new post, they will automatically be notified of that post via a notification on their mobile device or laptop. The great thing is that if you didn’t understand a word of the technical details of the last paragraph, you don’t have to: it just works for you and your users. This all works with your Jekyll blog hosted on GitHub, but coming soon it will be possible for any blog to layer this technology into it so you can focus on your writing.
Second, all new TeddyHyde blogs offer in-browser native cryptocurrency micro-contribution support. That’s a mouthful, indeed! To break it down, this means all TeddyHyde blogs make it easy for your readers to contribute small amounts (~$0.10 USD, for example) in exchange for reading posts on your blog. Blog posts are hidden until the contribution is processed (this is not a pay-it-later donation request) and contributions complete in seconds. If a reader is not willing to contribute, you can show them an advertisement hosted directly inside your blog, which means you don’t have to worry about ad-blockers. This works in all mobile and desktop browsers (without the need for browser plugin or specialized browser install for your users). TeddyHyde creates an environment for your readers to manage an ethereum public/private keypair on their device. Transactions are signed on device and the private keys never leave the browser context and never pass over the network. Again, if you understood nothing about the technical details of this last paragraph, it is no problem: just know you can collect micro-contributions from your readers without anyone knowing anything about cryptocurrencies (other than how to buy a small amount at an exchange like Coinbase).
If you want to see what this looks like, take a look at the reference blog https://poetry.teddyhyde.io and click on any of the posts. During the beta you can actually make transactions without having ether in your account. If you proceed to setting up your account you will be granted a small amount of Ether on the testnet. If you want to participate in the beta as an author, head over to https://admin.teddyhyde.com. You will need to login using your GitHub account and after loggin in, a new blog will be created for you automatically. You can register any other blogs (like WordPress) and add cryptocurrency micro-contribution support in just a few lines of code. Please do submit feedback for any issues or questions you have. Note that all transactions during the beta will happen on the Ropsten test network, meaning no real Ether is exchanged, so there is no risk to try it out.
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