Seeking to be the iTunes of the Bitcoin world, a new digital goods marketplace has recently appeared at coindl.com. While the idea of selling digital goods is nothing new, with sites like bitcoinservice.co.uk and BitWillet having been around for many months now, Coindl seeks to provide a more professional alternative.
The service stands out compared to the existing alternatives in a few ways. First, it has a much cleaner interface, giving users a way to look through everything that is sold on the site. Second, while previous services were little more than minimalistic pay-to-download storage boxes, Coindl intends to put an effort into SEO, marketing as well as “first class support for buyers and sellers”. What is the price for all this? A 20% commission; although compared to the 30% that most competing services charge this is nevertheless comparatively cheap. Also, however, the site differs from its predecessors in that it plants significant hurdles for sellers, requiring a registration process involving the seller providing an extended array of personal information and signing a sales agreement before being able to publish any content.
The service intends to attract high-quality content and help Bitcoin enter the mainstream, so the motivation to add increased hurdles for sellers is understandable. So far, there are a few songs and ringtones offered for sale, as well as some icons, wallpapers and even a Bitcoin-themed CSS template for 0.199 BTC. While the more restrictive seller registration policy and the high fees will turn off many, as Bitcoin users are used to instant hassle-free registration and fees ten times lower than those available in the mainstream world, the ease of use and marketing that the service provides nevertheless has the chance to go a long way toward legitimizing Bitcoin as the go-to currency for digital goods. If mainstream independent digital content producers can be convinced to sell their products on Coindl as well as Amazon, Android’s App Store or whatever other service they choose, the 10% difference in fees may convince many digital media consumers to undertake the hassle of buying bitcoins as a sort of “digital media gift card” in order to save a few dollars and help their favorite authors and artists gain a few dollars more. Thus, the opportunity is there for Coindl to finally bring microtransactions to the masses and achieve the success of Bitmit, the centerpiece of Bitcoin auctions with nearly 1000 products for sale, or even BitInstant, a Bitcoin-based money transfer facilitator that is receiving significant business helping people avoid costly international money transfer fees and delays as we speak.
Will they succeed? Unfortunately, just like all new businesses entering the Bitcoin economy, we can only wait and see.