Anil Dash suggests a way to monetize email. I believe he jests but it got me to thinking about the whole micropayment thing where attention is monetized and content will cost you.
Everyone I know complains that they can't keep up with their email and that responding to it takes too much time. And of course, this is the same justification a lot of people use for either not starting a weblog or for abandoning one.
However, lots of bloggers have found it's worth their while to update their sites if they put out a tip jar or PayPal link and get donations from their readers to subsidize the time they spend writing.
So why not have a message at the bottom of your outgoing email messages telling the recipient how much you're willing to bid for a timely response to the message? ("If you get me an answer on this in 8 hours, I'll PayPal you a dollar. 24 hours is worth 50 cents, and I'll give you a quarter for a reply any time in the next three days.")
It's micropayment mania!
Players are lining up to vie to become the player in the micropayment world. Where it will get interesting is when a new currency like frequent flyer miles gets created. People may not be willing to spend dollars, euros or pounds for micropayments but if you spent/earned points it would be a different story. A piece of content you want may not be worth $.25 to you but you might spent 2.5 points to access it. For those able to earn points as well as spend points it becomes an economy all it's own.
The economic benefit comes when credit card companies, hotels, conferences, software and hardware companies award points and accept points toward purchases. It's a way to expand the reach of the online micropublishing world.