Having spent a considerable amount of time creating content online, I’ve tried a lot of different things just to see if they’d work. Most didn’t, some did, and some never will. One of the many things that I’ve tried in a variety of formats is revenue sharing. I’ve never found a revenue-sharing model that works.
For instance, Yahoo! once had a thing called Voices. Content creators could write about whatever they wanted and earn revenue based on how many reads, clicks, etc. each of their articles received. The most I ever received for an article was something like $3 and some change. They’re now defunct.
When I first heard of Steemit, I thought it an interesting concept, but I was skeptical. The platform didn’t bill itself as a revenue-sharing website, and it still doesn’t. The reason is quite simple. It’s not. Although, users are able to earn from their content through author and curation rewards. The difference is that content creators don’t “share” in any revenue because Steemit doesn’t sell anything to generate revenue to be shared. Rather, content creators generate content, which generates “currency,” which in turn is then distributed among the various parties that play a part in that content creation and curation. Clever idea if there ever was one.
As it turns out, Steemit is more than just a clever idea. It’s one of the most popular blockchains in existence. In fact, last month, according to U.today, Steemit had more traffic than Binance and Ripple (although I’m a little curious as to why Bitcoin and Ethereum aren’t mentioned).
You know what else is interesting? In third place, right behind Binance, is LBRY.io. I’d never even heard of that one until I read about it yesterday.
The interesting thing about Steemit having more traffic than Binance in the month of October is that last month is the month that Steem Monsters officially started hosting tournaments. Within the first 15 days of tournament play, game players fought in over 200,000 matches. Of course, I can’t help but wonder how many new Steemians have joined the platform just to play the game.
That aside notwithstanding, let’s move on to a weightier topic. There’s something to be said for first to market. We can all celebrate Steemit’s head start on the competition. Nevertheless, we should be aware that there is competition (and more is on the way). Those readers who are old enough will remember a little site called MySpace, which preceded Facebook, but where is it now? No one talks about it any more, and for good reason. Just look at it:
What are they trying to be? Who is the audience?
It wouldn’t surprise me to wake up one day to a news headline informing us that MySpace is being taken off line. It’s got to be Rupert Murdoch’s biggest mistake.
So what happened to MySpace? In a word, they were bested by some upstart called Facebook. Ironically, 11 months after Murdoch purchased MySpace, it became the most trafficked website on the Web, even beating Google. But two years later, Facebook overtook it. MySpace has been in steady decline since.
We can talk about all the factors that led to MySpace’s sudden and inevitable death, and debate who killed it, but the fact is, the site lost to the competition. One of the major reasons why is the competition was just better (despite Facebook’s many drawbacks, it’s still far superior to MySpace).
Getting back to Steemit, there is some growing competition. Trybe (affiliate link) has already gone live and users are generating content by the hour, including yours truly.
I like Trybe. It’s much more attractive than Steemit. Its blogging interface is much more user friendly, and the website’s marketing message is much clearer. Immediately upon landing there, I know precisely what they’re trying to be. And for whom.
This, from Trybe’s home page, should not lead to any confusion:
Trybe is creating a new standard for worldwide journalism – allowing people who are passionate and knowledgeable about their field to create high quality articles and get instantly rewarded!
A peer review system makes sure any articles are verified by at least one other expert before they’re published – and then the community has the chance to comment, review, and collaborate too.
New users begin with 100 Trybe tokens (unless you buy into their token sale with some EOS). It costs 50 tokens to submit an article for approval. An actual human editor reads the article and approves it. Quality control. I like that. Then, once approved, it can be read, voted upon, and commented on by the Trybe community, which earns the author additional Trybe. With only a handful of articles (5, to be exact), I’ve managed to turn 100 Trybe tokens into over 2,500. That’s not too shabby.
Below is Trybe’s post generation interface:
Fairly WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), if you ask me.
When you land on the page, all you see is a blank white screen. You just start typing. Once you highlight a word or phrase, the WYSIWYG formatting bar pops up. As you see, it’s similar to but not identical to the Microsoft Word and the WordPress formatting bars. It’s easy enough to understand without explanation. And the best part is, it works! The user doesn’t need to learn HTML or Markup (as easy as Markup is to learn, it’s still a hindrance to some people, I’m afraid).
To get the popup on the right side, you just click on the black box on the top right corner of it. Click it again and the box goes away. The user can choose up to four categories, write in some tags (as many as you want), and select a featured photo. Here’s what the post wall looks like once you have a few finished posts:
Trybe is still early stage startup. They just surpassed 10,000 users and got listed on Chaince, the largest EOS exchange by volume. The only way to buy Trybe tokens is with EOS, and they’re currently going for $.01 USD per token. Tokens will be staked until July 1, 2019. After that time, users will have access to 10% of their tokens for six months, at which time they can access all of their tokens. Trybe plans to issue one billion tokens of which 50 million will be airdropped to investors who get in on the pre-sale and hold tokens after July 1, 2019. A planned monthly inflation rate of 10% after beta will give rise to the number of tokens in supply up to two billion.
I think Trybe is going to be a contender. You can get in by clicking this affiliate link. When you sign up, I’ll get 100 Trybe.
There’s another blockchain-based social media website I’m a little excited about, and which I hope is going to be more than just a passing phase. It’s called Narrative (affiliate link). What I like about Narrative is its emphasis on user-controlled content. Currently in alpha, it’s difficult to judge just yet where Narrative is headed, but I’m hoping it will be a contender. The website’s focus is on three distinct channels.
Narrative promises that 85% of all revenue will be distributed to users.
All I’ve done on Narrative so far is recommend the Speculative Fiction niche, vote on some suggestions from other users, and bid on and purchase the Speculative Fiction niche. None of the channels have been rolled out to users just yet. Here’s what the “headquarters” looks like:
Of the three blockchain-based social networks that I’m currently the most excited about (Steemit, Trybe, and Narrative), Narrative appears to be the one that is seeking the approval of the average Joe Internet user. The site is attractive if not somewhat populist-looking. Unlike Trybe, which seems to be more on the “professional-techie” level, and Steemit, which is just plain drab or, er, simple (this, by the way, is the main reason Reddit has never appealed me; perhaps I’m just not geekish enough).
Unlike Trybe, Narrative’s currency (NRVE) is listed on CoinMarketCap. Its value is currently $0.014993, down from over 7 cents in July.
I see great things potentially coming from Narrative. They’ve got an impressive group of advisors, and the team seems ready to go to work. NRVE is listed at the Bilaxy, Switcheo, LAToken, and BiteBTC exchanges. I’d like to see further expansion, and maybe it’s in the works. The big question for me is, will it ever achieve mass adoption like it seems to be aiming for?
I don’t mean to sound alarmist or appear not to support Steemit. I’m all in on this platform. If you don’t believe me, just read my blog. I have recently made Minnow status and am now delegating Steem Power and sponsoring contests for other writers. But I am realistic. No one stays on top forever.
When the history of blockchain-based social media is written, Steemit will always hold a special mention, like Friendster. But nothing lasts forever. Glory certainly doesn’t. I’m looking forward to the roll out of Smart Media Tokens, and bask in the success of Steem Monsters (not to mention being an avid player and collector of cards), but it’s important to realize that other blockchains and other developers are working on projects that promise to rival Steemit’s success. I don’t believe it’s a question of either/or. There’s nothing wrong with being active on more than one platform, and I think Trybe and Narrative can complement Steemit, for sure. However, this is an important time in social media history. Steemit can enjoy its status as a pioneer, but to maintain a foot in the race, the platform will need to do more than show up for the party.
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