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Social Media to monetize the masses?

If we assume Social Media web properties like Digg and Pownce are made by you & me, why does the flow of money stop right there? Why don’t you & me get paid for making these Social Media moguls & magnates who / what they are?

This question came to me yesterday, and I thought it was worth posing as a question on Pownce:

“If the likes of Digg are monetizing the traffic to the websites and ‘blogs they’re listing, is it right that the guys producing the content are entitled to ‘Royalty fees’, or is the ‘relationship’ reciprocal enough that both parties benefit equally?”

The question was enough to pique the interest of Heidi Cool, who’s been giving some thought to Social Networking recently.

In my mind at least, if Digg, Pownce et cetera are making money out of the efforts of the humble and not so humble ‘bloggers out there, when do we get our cut?

Fast forward to this evening (this is Friday evening, incidentally) and I get a message from Kate, the thinking ‘blogger’s ‘blogger and advertising analyzer, highlighting a new Social Networking venue called Yuwie.

At first blush, Yuwie looks like a really good idea, but on the whole, after a little close scrutiny, there are some obvious flaws.

“You get paid for every action you take on the site. Every change you make to your profile, every picture / blog / video you post,…”

Which is an open invitation for someone to write a Bot to do just that kind of thing and more, which in turn invites more Bots and more Bots and more Bots.

Let’s hope they can afford to pay their service provider for their bandwidth.

I’m not entirely sure Yuwie will survive quite as long as the idea they’ve given to the Social Media scene. The idea they’ve spawned is an intriguing one, but in it’s present form, it’s crucially flawed.

As it stands, there’s more than a whiff of MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) about it – which will surely put plenty of people off – as the good money is only accessed once you start to refer people and get them into using Yuwie.

The idea is now out in the open. But it’s so much an idea as a shift in the thinking towards and the treatment of the principle engine, the very driving force of Social Media and Social Networking, which is us.

And as ideas go, anything that rewards the users for their time & effort is bound to pique the interest of others, especially if it’s a maintainable and viable business model, free of the MLM baggage.

So on one level, Yuwie has the makings of a winning idea. But on many other levels, as an MLM package, Yuwie isn’t for you & me…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

2 replies on “Social Media to monetize the masses?”

You know I’m still not sure where I stand on this. Though I think you are right on the money regarding the bots and Yuwie.

I think my problem is that I keep thinking about the old media/advertising paradigm. With T.V. and magazines, a company with a product pays the media outlet for advertising, and that revenue pays for the media content, be it “Gray’s Anatomy” or “Forbes”.

As a Web developer and blogger I am publishing content. So that makes me a media outlet. But I’m also trying to get traffic to my site so I also play the role of the advertiser (while I don’t actually advertise, I do pursue other mktg efforts to gain more readers.)

In terms of being “paid” I guess it depends on which hat we’re wearing, whether we’re the media or the advertiser. I’m not quite sure where we draw the line.

Hi there Heidi!

Maybe there isn’t a clear-cut answer right now?

The chances are, we’re waiting for whatever comes out of the ashes of Yuwie and their initial idea.

What we do know is, MLM isn’t the way, despite it being an inherently scalable model…

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