Yours is an upcoming social media application that intends to bridge the gap between content and payments. The system uses bitcoin micropayments (via a system similar to the Lightning Network) to allow users to send money to each other.
Creating a new social media platform powered by bitcoin is not a new concept. Zapchain and ChangeTip tried to build businesses around the concept of “social tipping” in the past, but neither project was able attain a large amount of success.
“The problem with tipping is that most people just don’t tip,” explained Yours CEO Ryan X. Charles on the latest episode of Blocktalk. “It’s not very incentivizing to tip people. Some people do it, but you’re almost certainly not going to earn a living from just waiting for people to voluntarily give you money just because they like you.”
The Yours team is currently working on finding the right combination of incentive structures to bring together content creators and their paying audience members. Charles explained three possible content monetization models during his recent appearance on Blocktalk.
The Endorsement Model
The first way described by Charles that content creators could get paid on the Yours platform was through what he called the endorsement model. The idea is that those who are endorsing content via the Yours equivalent of Reddit upvotes or Facebook likes will pay a few cents to the content creator for each endorsement; however, the content creator only receives half of the funds attached to each endorsement (except for the first one), and all of the previous endorsers receive the other half.
Charles explained the benefits of the endorsement model:
“First of all, it rewards the content creator. Secondly, it encourages people to endorse content because if you’re good at it and you are one of the first endorsers on something that becomes popular, you will profit from doing so.”
“It gives a profit motive for endorsing content,” added Charles.
Blocktalk host Alex Sterk pointed out that the endorsement model sounds similar to a multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme, and Charles agreed that it may be similar to some type of MLM or affiliate marketing strategy.
Charles also admitted the endorsement model is not perfect. “Not everyone can profit,” he said. “The only way this works is if most people are actually losing money. Those people are not going to be very happy about the endorsement model.”
The Purchase Model
The next content monetization model outlined by Charles was the purchase model. This method is much more straightforward as users are essentially just buying content from other users on the site.
The key differentiation here is that users are able to preview a large chunk of the content before paying for it. For example, the writer of a sci-fi novel could allow readers to enjoy the entire book, except for the last chapter, for free. The author could then charge a fee for readers to find out how the story ends in that last chapter.
“Anybody who actually likes an article and really wants to read what your conclusion is will want to read that last [paragraph],” said Charles.
Charles noted that there could be a large amount of flexibility offered to users with this method. It can work for basically all different types of content (music, podcasts, articles, books, videos, etc.), and content creators can choose how much to charge and how much of the content they should give away for free.
The Investment Model
The final content monetization model outlined by Charles during the interview was the investment model. This is an extension of the purchase model that allows users to invest in content creators on Yours. Instead of buying an article for ten cents, a user may decide to invest ten dollars in exchange for a percentage of all future revenues obtained from the article.
During the interview, Charles remained practical in terms of whether or not any of these options will turn out to be the killer use case for Yours. “Whatever we launch will be an experiment,” he said. “I can’t guarantee that it will actually work. [But] I’m completely convinced some combination of content and payments will work, and it’ll be huge.”
Kyle Torpey is a freelance writer and researcher who has been following Bitcoin since 2011. His work has been featured on VICE Motherboard, Business Insider, NASDAQ, RT’s Keiser Report, and many other media outlets. You can follow @kyletorpey on Twitter.