Social Networks That Pay Users for Content

Pay-Per-Post Apps: Tsu, BonzoMe, Bubblews, GetGems and Persona Paper

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Social networks that enable users to earn money writing for friends are the latest trend in how to make money online, as a bunch of new social media services launched in 2014 that pay people for creating content.

The sites offer a fresh, social take on a previous generation of “content farm” websites that allowed people to make money blogging and writing articles focused on popular Internet search keywords.

First-generation paid content sites like HubPages were largely focused on traditional text content designed to be indexed by search engines.

These pay-per-post websites resemble social networks like Facebook more than traditional how-to tutorials, but the core idea is similar: Sites share their advertising revenue with users who create content by writing text updates or posting videos and photos.

Typically, users create short posts or visual updates for the network, then promote them to their friends and followers on other social networks. Some also reward users for signing up new people. Essentially, most of these apps function like advertising agencies, selling ads on behalf of content creators. They are middlemen and vary mostly in what they compensate users for and the formulas they use to set payments.

Here's a look at a few new-age content publishing platforms that pay users, along with a description of how writers and video producers can make money from each of these apps and services.

Tsu

The Tsu social network launched publicly in October 2014 and has gotten a lot of media attention for its hybrid model of sharing ad revenue with users. In addition to giving people credit for how many page views their content receives, Tsu also compensates content creators for recruiting newcomers to join the site.

Its affiliate revenue formula resembles a pyramid, where people “upstream” from new recruits get compensated, even if they did not directly recruit the new user. See our full review of Tsu for additional details.

Bubblews

Bubblews is a social network that pays people who contribute to the site based on how popular their content is – in other words, how many other people view their content and interact with it by commenting or taking other actions. Like Tsu, it’s based on advertising revenue. While it’s unclear what percentage of the site’s total revenue gets shared with users, the site says each content creator typically gets about a penny for each page view or interaction with their content.  Read our review of Bubblews to learn more.

Bonzo Me

Bonzo Me is a social network that says it compensates users for creating videos or watching commercial videos. Launched in 2014, Bonzo Me is available as a free mobile app for both iPhones and Android devices. Our review of BonzoMe offers additional details.

GetGems

GetGems, another service launched in 2014, is a mobile messaging app that wants to take bitcoins into the mainstream by making using the digital currency as easy as sending a text message.

This app is a cross between WhatsApp and a Bitcoin wallet. Users earn “gems” on the network, and those gems can be swapped for bitcoins and exchanged for value with other users via simple text messages.Our full review of Gems offers more information.

Persona Paper

Persona Paper appears to be a copycat service that launched in 2014 with the stated goal of rewarding members for content they post to the network through a share of the site’s advertising revenue. Personal Paper's interface is fairly simplistic and rough around the edges. The idea, of course, is similar to other, more fully fleshed out networks like Tsu that aim to compensate content creators by paying them.

But Persona Paper illustrates the challenges that content creators face in trying to judge which services are legitimate businesses and which are simply software scripts thrown up on the Web without necessarily having a solid business plan to back them up. Content creators would be wise to search the Internet for user reviews of all these services before investing much time in trying to build a network on any of them.

Content Creators, Beware

New copycat services are popping up every month, promising to pay users to create content on their networks. One example is Bitlanders, another digital currency social network where users earn the equivalent of bitcoins for posting content and engaging with other users’ content.

Creating new revenue-sharing business models is hard work, though, so you should expect to see many more of these social networks launching, tweaking their software and changing their business models as they experiment with new and different ways to pay users.

Complaints from content creators who don't feel they get paid the right amount, or on time, are likely, too, as networks that grow fast often have trouble keeping up with the high volume of new users. Many also find the logistics of making payouts harder than anticipated. Already, complaints have surfaced on the Internet about the reliability of some paid-content social services.

It likely will take time before one of these newcomers finds the right formula and catches on with both users and advertisers, evolving into a paid-content publishing platform with staying power.  Until then, content creators should think hard before investing too much time creating original content for startups.

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