I joined my first atypical social platform at 15 years old. Its name was Bubblews, and the goal was to share personal views, educational content and pics to gain likes, follows and comments.
Earnings were incredibly high, up to 1 cent per like and 1 to 3 cents per comment. The general strategy was to write 10 post per day totalling 100 likes per post, with the daily earnings spanning from 10$ to 30$ (based on the number of comments per post).
Those amounts were unrealistic. Bubblews earned 100% of its income through ads, and even 7 years ago ads didn't pay that much. Their remuneration system was based on the assumption that only a small portion of users would request their money, and when too many people asked for their reward the platform shut down.
After Bubblews, a lot of ads-based content distribution platforms tried to lure users into writing for them to earn pennies, and now the new players in this arena are crypto-based social networks and content distribution platforms. But the game has changed... it now CAN make sense to write on this platform, but as of today 99% of them are useless.
At least, they're useless for the general public and for people that work on social networks like myself. Let me explain why.
1) No one cares about privacy
I talked about this topic a lot of times, included on Minds (see here) - aka the place where white suprematists and nazis have fun sharing death threats and random insults guarding themselves with the "freedom of speech" and "anonimity".
We, as humans, showed multiple times we couldn't care less about privacy. I'm a fairly savvy internet user, yet I'm sure any experienced hacker could easily break into my system and steal my digital identity.
I own over 600 internet accounts, and there's no way I can control my security on each one of them every day. If I can't control threats, I can't control my privacy on that system.
For what I know, 300 of those apps may share informations with the Chinese Government. And honestly, there's nothing I can do to fight this war, because stealing my data is the only way those 600 apps could exist.
Most decentralized social networks think users care about privacy because they are way too knowledgeable about the risks associated with a lack of security online. But the great majority of the internet population subscribe to platforms to relieve their anxiety, enjoy themselves, and share joyful time with their friends and family.
So yes, continue advertising by enforcing great privacy protection. I'm totally in favour of more privacy controls, even though I'm a digital marketer. But please don't think having a privacy-focused social network or blogging platform should be the main selling point of a company.
Minds, Yours, and dozens of other social networks always focused on privacy alone, and none of them ever shaked the market.
2) Sharing content is easy for everyone, everywhere
Even though I love Hive (ex. Steem) and several other social platforms based on crypto-rewards, I have to admit their marketing can be improved. They relate most of their declared advantages to privacy (see  of this post) and the ability to share content on the blockchain.
The assumption that most people don't have the ability to post online in 2020 is... wrong.
Sure, people under a monarchy are limited in their freedom of speech and press, hence a platform like Hive can help them elude the government ruling and write freely.
But most early adopters are not from poor countries where dictators rise. They're from the USA, the richest nation on Earth, and from European countries, which are the happiest on the planet.
A little percentage may come from India and China, two enormous country with limitations of speech, but they're still able to use a VPN and elude the rules. If they can understand what a crypto-decentralized social network is, they can use a VPN.
That being said, we can all agree a standard early adopter of blockchain based social networks can totally publish:
- audio files
on the internet, without the help of the blockchain or new social and distribution platforms.
All new social hits, like TikTok, give users the ability to create new formats that were previously reserved to richer people. Making videos with famous songs as background music and reaching 1+ billion people doing so was unheard of 3 years ago.
Not 30 years ago. THREE years ago.
Platforms like Publish0x can't provide incredible new content formats, because they need huge budgets to do so. But they can do what the third point of this article is about: be useful.
3) They don't give value to users' time
The third point is the most important one, and I want to focus on this.
Since we already said the great majority of early adopters, the only one that would try a platform like publish0x, steem, hive, minds, ecc before mainstream adoption, are from rich countries or growing nations.
On Minds, even top users make around 5 to 10$ per month. Earning more than 10$ per month is insanely hard on platforms like Bitchute, Steemit, Brave, and all the new social networks or content distribution platforms.
10$ is what I spend if I buy a pizza in my country.
Do you really think a standard user would invest countless hours of its time writing quality articles, sharing insightful comments, liking and reading other members' contributions for a pizza per month?
You can earn 10$ by standing in front of a famous building saying you need them to buy cigarettes.
To earn serious money (the medium monthly net profit for rich countries is about 1400 to 1800€) you need to appeal to every single member of the named community (hivers, steemers, minds users, eccetera). You have to become the biggest influencer on the platform.
This could take months, if not years if the platform is new, and could consume up to 5-6 hours per day.
Since blockchain social networks should differ from social networks like Instagram and Facebook, their usefulness is measured by comparing the ability to monetize quality content on them vs mainstream social networks.
A normal user would need between 4 to 12 months to reach a decent audience on Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube. While earning his audience, he could earn pennies via affiliate marketing, sponsored videos and micro-influencer marketing. He would also earn dollars or fiat currency, not crypto currencies that he would then need to exchange on multiple platforms and store in a super-secure wallet.
That's why 99% of "new" blockchain social networks are useless. Because they focus on privacy, the ability to post content and obvious stuff forgetting the ACTUAL reason people want to move away from social networks: they abuse their time and don't give them any real direct opportunity.
We live in a capitalistic world. Opportunity = Money. The main focus of every new platform should be letting people monetize their content in as many ways as possible, by giving each new user the possibility to make a bigger amount of money here vs mainstream media with decent following.
Everyone can reack 10k followers on Instagram, 2-3k youtube subscribers and that would be enough to earn 300$ per month. The founder of Minds doesn't earn that much from his content on the platform (at least on public record).
I think a blockchain-based social network can say it's been successful when most of its userbase (readers-only) earn a small amount of money (5 to 10% of medium wage in that country), a great chunk earn a part time income (45 to 55% of medium wage in that country) and consistent users that blog, comment, interact and help the communities earn a full time income (100% of medium wage in that country).
In case of publish0x,
- 70% of users will likely post once. Those users earn by reading only, and should* be able to reward their time with 5 to 10% of 1400€, so in this example either 70 or 140€. Every single person I know would join a social that pays them 70€ every month to read quality articles, even for several hours each day;
- 20% of users will likely publish once a month or when they feel like it, actively engage in the community and spend several hours daily on this platform. If they spend 5 to 7 hours per day reading comment, writing comments, and writing posts from time to time, they are basically working part time for the wellbeing of publish0x, and they should* earn about 50% of 1400€, so 700€;
- 10% of users will likely publish on a consistent schedule, interact all day long with the community, create groups, share tutorials, do live events to promote publish0x and increase the average engagement of the entire platform. They will likely invest in tokens, share their work on other platforms to lure people into publish0x and increase the community value, numbers and total spending. They should* be able to do this as their full time job.
*when I say "should", I don't mean those figures are calculated over complex calculus. I simply can't think of a better way to describe the proportion I think should go to each user based on his contribution towards the community, starting from "pay for your netflix, thank you!" to "wow, please work for us full time".
Why I told you all of this
I'm here because Scott Cunningham inspired me to go outside of my comfort zone, write more English articles on decentralized platforms, and study new coins. And also... because I love the concept behind Publish0x and the community. I read insightful comments, amazing articles and great discussions here.
To be honest, I can't see this as a scalable mechanism if we reach millions of authors and expand the content formats. I don't see how the team behind this amazing platform can continue to pay about 0.01$ for each user that reads a post for millions of posts, videos and audios every day.
But for now, they're balancing stuff out greatly. They got that we need a verification process to be sure only real people write real articles, and they have a real support channel - no discord channels or other stuff like that.
I told you all of this because I decided to write consistently on here and Hive to show myself I can improve my English AND to share the best things I know with you.
This post was not intended to discredit other decentralized platform, but to share a outsider opinion about why most of these new platforms never take off the early adopters level.
They always focus on unmaterial needs, but if we want people to fully engage and build a decentralized, self-sustained, crypto-based economy we need to give them the freedom to do this. And they won't be able to provide their best knowledge here if they're stuck working in a call center to pay their rent.
Let me know your thoughts on this in the comment!