The following document was released in 1995 to explain the Pay Per View system for use with contemporary electronic payment systems.

Frequently Asked Questions about PPV

What are pay-per-view documents?

Pay-per-view documents are documents that a merchant makes available at a cost. When a user clicks on a link to a normal document, that document is presented to the user free of charge.

When a user clicks on a link to a pay-per-view document, the server retrieves not the document itself, but a preview of the document, which contains

Upon reading this free preview, the user can either decide not to purchase the document (in which case he or she is under no obligation), or to pay for the document. After verification of the transaction, the document is passed to the user.

Why pay-per-view documents?

Currently, all documents available on the WWW are free (to whoever can access them). This accounts for a large volume; nevertheless, there is doubtless much more that would be made available if only there were some way to charge for it. This is the motivation behind pay-per-view documents.

In fact, some of these documents are being made available at a price---just not on the WWW. For instance, many TV news programs invite viewers to purchase a transcript of the just-viewed program. Viewers are often reluctant to buy the transcripts, however, because

Pay-per-view documents remove both of these obstacles. Payment is as simple as clicking a button and entering a password---and the payoff is instant gratification.

Ease of use means customers will make more purchases. This fact, along with the drastically lower overhead of providing the documents, will drive the price of documents down, producing still more business.

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