A new bitcoin application is seeking to impact the online advertising space with a Bitly alternative that rewards users in bitcoin.
Called Cred, the application seeks to encourage readers to share content through specialized links that generate monetary rewards. The difference between Cred and existing URL management platforms is that, in addition to a link shortener, the application inserts its own advertisements into the user experience.
“There’s a page between the platforms and the content, so that’s an opportunity for an advertiser to display an ad based on where you’re going,” Cred creator and online advertising veteran Cameron Hejazi told CoinDesk.
Hejazi acknowledges that the service could use traditional payment methods, but said he was encouraged by the fact that the bitcoin community is already using more grassroots content monetization products, like social tipping service ChangeTip.
"I chose the bitcoin community because ... there is a lot of recognition for how individual value can be measured and rewarded."
To date, most bitcoin-based content monetization initiatives have focused on emphasizing how the digital currency can be an alternative to advertising.
Hejazi, however, said that he believes advertisers and corporations represent a much bigger market, one that has stronger incentives than consumers to use bitcoin given the consumer-facing user experience issues that occur with an unfamiliar form of payment.
"There’s always a channel between a publisher and an advertiser, and it’s becoming increasingly important for there to be an incentive for a user," Hejazi said. "The person tweeting about content with 5,000 followers, there’s value there that hasn't been tapped."
In turn, Hejazi said he believes that online advertisers will see value in the service as it will be able to target users based on their destination.
“This allows advertisers to display information relevant to where you’re about to see, rather than where you [have] been [as in the existing models],” he added.
That's not to say that Cred can exist without users. Now out of beta, Cred is promoting its product through targeted social media advertising and bitcoin community outreach.
To accommodate users at scale, the platform is also seeking to work around the issues that currently arise when sending micropayments over the bitcoin blockchain. For example, all Cred transactions are done "off blockchain" through bitcoin services firm Coinbase.
This means that smaller transactions can be sent without fees, but that both Cred advertisers and users will need to register for an account with Coinbase, though Hejazi said the option was the most convenient way for it to realize the user experience he wanted.
So far, Hejazi said the service has only attracted a few dozen users, though he is optimistic that social influencers will seek to be rewarded for practices they already engage in without incentive everyday.
"This space is ripe for some sort of innovation."
Social media image via Shutterstock