Pay-the-Buyer Advertising

New Ad Model

Paybuyer is the world's first search engine for products and services that enables advertisers to pay imminent buyers meaningful amounts of money to visit webpages and call before purchases.

This website, a search engine for local services, is a pilot, a proof-of-concept implementation.

In the Paybuyer model, advertisers pay searchers with electronic lottery tickets (probabilistic payments) that have an explicit value and are valid only if the recipients are buyers.

This simple model, which resembles a sweepstakes, can be a breakthrough. Below we explain its fundamental advantages over current ad models and then describe how it works.

Two Paradigm Shifts

The Paybuyer search model combines two potential paradigm shifts in the world of advertising.

One, the model enables advertisers to pay buyers and only buyers, as in a rebate. Crucially, though, the payments are not rebates; they are just for attention. A buyer can be paid by multiple advertisers before a purchase with no obligation to purchase from any advertiser.

Two, the model uses verification-based targeting (a novel concept).

Currently, almost all the ads you're exposed to are placed in front of you by prediction-based targeting systems that seek to identify potential buyers. Facebook's and Google's predictive AI's might record that you've viewed pages about surfing and then serve you ads about surfboards. But, those AI's can't guarantee you're going to buy a surfboard soon.

By contrast, Paybuyer lets advertisers select imminent buyer targets, say, people who are going to buy surfboards in the next 30 days. It delivers ads + conditional payments to searchers who claim they're going to buy surfboards in the next 30 days. Then, 31 days after delivering an ad to a searcher, Paybuyer probabilistically verifies whether the searcher bought or not and ensures that advertisers only pay for the attention of verified buyer targets.

Verification-Based Targeting Is More Accurate Than Prediction-Based

Verification-based pay-the-buyer targeting is far more accurate than current targeting methods (contextual, behavioral, demographic, geo, and search) because they're prediction-based. They increase the probability that an advertiser will reach a buyer, "the right person at the right place at the right time." But, prediction is only a guess. Verification is a guarantee.

Paying Searchers When They're Valuable Enough to Pay

Many payment-for-attention ad models have been tried. All have all missed a critical fact: the only time advertisers can pay people much for their attention is when those people are ready to buy what the advertisers sell. In that rare, brief period of time, prospects are worth the most, by far, and advertisers can often pay them multiple dollars to visit websites and call.

Past and present pay-ad models, like Bing Rewards, Brave Attention Tokens, Invisibly, and AllAdvantage, don't/didn't identify buyers, so their payments to users are/were trivial.

The Paybuyer model is very different:

  1. it lets users tell advertisers when they're ready-to-buy a particular product or service.
  2. it lets advertisers pay those briefly valuable users real money for their attention.
  3. it verifies that only real buyers get paid.

How Does It Work?

Paybuyer asks a user what she plans to buy and lets advertisers who sell that product or service pay her conditionally for visiting their webpages and calling.

The condition is this: the payment is only valid if, after she clicks on an advertiser's link, she buys what she said she was planning to buy, from the advertiser or from a competitor.

However, she is not paid conditionally with cash. Instead, she is paid with an electronic lottery ticket that has an explicit expected value and cash prize.

This form of payment, probabilistic payment, is the most efficient micropayment method known.

The key to the model is this: only buyers with winning tickets can collect the prize money.

Imagine Sally says she's going to buy plumbing services and finds Roto-Rooter's link on Paybuyer. She clicks on the link and, for going to, is credited with an electronic lottery ticket that has an expected value of $.50.

31 days later, the result of the ticket is revealed, WINNER or LOSER.

Now, if Sally's ticket is a LOSER, it becomes worth $0.

If her ticket is a WINNER, and she was not a buyer, it is worth $0.

If her ticket is a WINNER, and she was a real buyer who hired a plumber, she can submit proof-of-purchase to collect the ticket's cash prize, its payoff.

Only winning tickets lead to proof of purchase and a cash payment to a buyer.

Why Not Verify Every Purchase? Why Probabilistic Payment and Verification?

Currently, there's no way to verify most purchases without having buyers submit a copy of their receipt. And, most people don't want to submit proof of purchase in order to collect 50¢ or $1 or some other small amount. Also, labor is involved in checking the proof of purchase.

Hence, the Paybuyer model verifies probabilistically, which is hyper-efficient, and uses probabilistic payments so that the prize amounts are enough to make it worthwhile for buyers to submit proof of purchase.

The pilot version of Paybuyer uses a Double-or-Nothing game to determine prize amounts, but in the future, users will just enter the prize they want.

How Much Will Advertisers Pay Buyers? Why Start At 50¢?

If the Paybuyer model achieves success, it's not clear how much buyers will be paid per purchase. The range of possibilities is wide.

Since multiple advertisers can pay a buyer for her attention, buyers should receive a significant total attention-payment per purchase in many markets, from 2.5%-25% of a purchase amount.

In some markets the individual attention-payments might be quite small, yet still create an efficient communications channel between advertisers and buyers that is preferable to the high-cost channels created by today's dominant ad platforms and e-marketplaces.

This alpha version of Paybuyer starts at 50¢ per website visit from a real buyer because 50¢ is 90%-99% less than the rate charged by Google for comparable service search terms. The goal is to sign up a critical mass of advertisers. After that, payments will probably rise.