I just received an email from a new outfit called Fiction Arcade, which said:
I went to their site and read their FAQ and Terms & Conditions. They appear to be similar to Smashwords. Sort of. Authors upload short stories and set the price based on tokens. Authors cannot give away stories, nor can they set a price higher than four tokens. Readers pay 25 cents (US) for a token. The author receives 20 cents for each token "minus all applicable taxes, processing fees, transactions fees and all other applicable fees."Fiction Arcade an innovative venture aimed at boosting the popularity and profitability of short fiction. It integrates the crowd-sourced nature of sites like YouTube (anyone can upload and promote their work) with the inexpensive, a la carte sales approach of sites like iTunes (stories are priced under a dollar), and then combines this with a 50% story preview system (just enough to hook readers without giving away the best bits) and the exponential word-of-mouth potential of social media.
I searched the site and found nothing on much those taxes and fees might run. I also note that according to their terms, Fiction Arcade reserves the right to change the value of a token whenever they like, without any warning. And they have all kinds of warning clauses about violating terms, which means you have your account canceled and you lose all accrued sales.
All in all, their site does not leave me with warm fuzzy feelings. The token system seems overly complicated. The stories are only available through them, and it's not clear what formats are available. I also came across a story that was listed as public domain, but the author only died last year.
I replied to their email with a number of questions. I'll post their answers here when they reply.