Am in the midst of reading You Are Not A Gadget still and I think that I have been poked. There is a value to the mobile web server in respect to owning your web creative space, but it has been very hard to monetize. Maybe this can work.
The way a mobile web server works is that while you control your content, the gateway is controlled by an external entity (in my case, the folks at iFMW). What you do on that sever is up to you, but you are provided a content management system and some tools to get you started. Or, you can be like me and craft your own kind of solution based on another approach or idea. You will want to learn some manner of design or programming to take best advantage of it.
Problem is, there is no financial benefit to be a gateway. Unless traffic and expression become the valued properties. Now, there can be some incentive if the person(s) using the mobile web server are connected to another kind of social network through this (think Diaspora). Or, we can look at a solution where between the gateway provider and the user, there is some incentive shared based on how often a user’s site is hit. Let’s say that if under 5000 hits per month (including all pages, but not bots), that the user is charged something like $5. If they are extra popular, and getting in the area of maybe 50,000 hits per month, maybe the terms change to giving the user credit of $5 per 5000 hits – until it is pretty much a wash for both.
The gateway owner has a financial inventive to make sure that any use of the gateway doesn’t overwhelm their ability to provide consistent service. The user has incentive to be active in creating a space that promotes activity in consumption or interaction. These work together.
And if this were done right, I could see some users getting very savvy with the mobile web server, RSS, and features like REST to literally turn their motions with a mobile into an opportunity to either get a lower cost out of it, but also gives the provider a means to also aggregate some of that same information to improve that web server offering.
Can I foresee paying the developer of the mobile web server? Yes. But it would make more sense that the developer and mobile carrier had an arrangement where that was hidden from me. The carrier or developer offered me the product, and after some trial period to see what my traffic and developmental costs would be, I would be offered a contract, and additional incentives to increase traffic and my ability to express whatever it is that I am serving.
So if I am the developer of the mobile web service (application, gateway, and any dev tools), my pitch becomes that I have a unique product that people will pay for given your level of service offers a certain level of quality (uptime). For the user, I become the self directed owner of a publishing space where it is to my best interests to keep people coming to this site, and eventually turn the drawing of traffic into a barter opportunity for myself to literally not have to pay that aspect of my bill anymore since the traffic pays for it for me.
Can it work? I think so. But there are questions that I need to answer. Yes, this puts a strain on people and carriers, but this is better than waiting for ad revenue or some patron to come along to make a generous donation – we become enabled by the work of developers who should be compensated, and by our own hands at pushing the creative button.