BuyerFox (previously SafarFee, before that Internet Exploiter) is a custom web browser for Mac OS X built on Webkit. Read about it below.

PreyWall is a series of concentric what ifs. It asks: what if all the web were ownable, what if all content lived behind a paywall, and what if erecting a paywall were as easy as clicking on a button? BuyerFox is a custom web browser that allows anyone using it to erect a paywall around any unclaimed site.

The system's frontend works a bit like Monopoly. Everyone starts with $2000 and receives a daily allowance of $20. When you start up BuyerFox, it will prompt you to login (or to create a username and password if you're a first-time user). If you arrive at an unclaimed site, a "claim it" button appears next to the navigation bar.

If you claim the site, you'll be prompted to choose a monetization model (one-time access, monthly subscription, lifetime) and a price. The model and price you choose will determine both your daily maintenance costs and what any subsequent visitors to the site will be prompted to pay to view it. The proportion of revenue from any site that goes towards its maintenance shrinks as the number of visitors grows. If, on the other hand, there are too few visitors, maintenance costs may exceed a site's revenue altogether. You can also claim a site and make it free, which incurs an initial fee but generates small per visitor revenue.

If you arrive at a claimed site, you're invited to meet the owner's payment terms or browse elsewhere. If you run out of money, your browsing is finished for the day. Additionally, if you can't meet your daily maintenance costs, all the sites under your control revert back to the public domain.

The system's backend tabulates each user's claims and payments, tracking and tabulating price and monetization model tweaks. Each user has access to his or her own data in addition to a systemwide statistics aggregator. I have access to everything. I expect that the system will break and need frequent tune-ups, and it's my hope that if/when it reaches equilibrium, we'll have a semi-accurate picture of how a paid web will look.

The goal of PreyWall is to see what happens when charging for content becomes the norm. The workings and rules of the system (which I readily admit are already colored by my assumptions and prejudices regarding online behavior) can be changed without having to change the browser. I expect to have a working alpha version by the end of the month. You'll be able to download it right here!