@andrestaltz in #ssbc

Monetization for brands

I think I finally landed on a monetization strategy. Consider it v0, though. I'll explain this top-down:

A DAG-structured cryptocurrency where coins are generated according to social connectivity metrics, so normal people with normal social interactions are miners. Buyers are brands that want presence in the social circles. Basically pay-to-be-part-of-my-social-circle. Except people go after brands selling themselves, not the opposite.

That's the strategy, now on to explaining the building bricks of that:

Primary problem: how to get mass exodus

The primary problem I'm trying to solve is how to get mass exodus from Facebook, not how to get my own profit. Getting money myself is the secondary problem, and I'm still more interested in the idea of a small non-profit getting donations to write the software. So to reiterate: I want to discover how to get people onboard SSB and how to get brands onboard as well. Without economical incentive to move away, people won't move away, and the strongest reason to stay on Facebook is network effects: people use it because people use it.

Facebook ads are expensive

This is from basic monopoly mechanics: once you're the only provider, you raise the price and buyers can't do anything about it. They just have to pay. Also, media companies are at war with Facebook. Basically a lot of people hate Facebook, but they have to use it because everyone is on Facebook. This is good for us.

Many people don't care about privacy

This saddens me a lot, but the mainstream really doesn't care about giving their data away. We can either convince them they're doing something wrong (which sigh worked out "very well" for climate change), or we can leverage their lifestyle to covertly gift them with the ability to control their own data. They'll keep on giving out their data for bananas, but one day if they get enlightened, they should be able to suddenly stop giving their data, at the switch of a simple button. Here's how we can pitch it to FB users: give your data to advertisers and get real money. It's the same ad model as in Facebook, but cutting FB out as the middleman, and putting the owner of data as the salesperson of that data.

If SSB goes mainstream, brands will want to have some presence

Imagine that next week, 300 million people leave Facebook and all join SSB, a place entirely without ads. Brands will want to be there too, how are they going to get there? Do we want to cut out brands forever from our social circles? I believe we shouldn't make that choice, I think individuals should make that conscious choice, specially when there are (evil wicked) brands and there (your local pet shop) brands.

So brands will buy a spot in your social circles. Your local data when shared with those brands can be used to derive a profile of yourself, and then provide ads on your feed, and in return you get some coins. It's a bit of this idea from a startup I met in Helsinki, and it's good because it encourages brands to build trust with their customers. If a brand messes up your social feed, you can just unfollow them and buy buy, no more data sharing with them.

DAG cryptocurrency

We don't want a global blockchain. Projects like IOTA show how it's possible to create a DAG-chained distributed ledger. How exactly to make such cryptocoin together with SSB, I'm not sure yet.

Conclusion

Brands are getting sick of FB as a middleman => provide cheaper and direct connection to consumers.

Users know their data is being abused by FB => provide a way for users to monetize their own data.

Middleman-less economy between brands and consumers, without a global singleton => DAG cryptocurrency.

@andrestaltz in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

Oh, and a ton of other things could be attached to this idea too, like brands as pubs, so people who are clueless about setting up VPS just connect to some brand's pub, or download an SSB client pre-configured to follow that brand.

@ev
Re: %JpC53Hf95

I have also been brainstorming how it might be possible to build a cryptocurrency on top of ssb, mostly because BTC has been facing so many issues lately. I wonder if a global dht is the only way to pursue solving this problem? I don't have a good spec for how it could work in mind yet though.

The brand follow is basically a 'paid follow', so that's easy. I tell my local pizza joint that I'm willing to sign up for ads if they pay me a little bit to see them. I can even dig them, right? Easy.

@nichoth in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

Many people don't care about privacy

I think many people are becoming concerned about privacy honestly, not just developers and tech people, but all folks. I hear people all the time lamenting about having to give away info about themselves in exchange for online services. But they have no alternative to fb and google. There is nothing that offers the same ease of use and social connectivity. I think if there were the same service that allowed you to have some privacy, people would flock to it. Privacy would be the killer feature.

@andrestaltz in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

Hmm, I also noticed a big problem that I hadn't seen before. Brands seek Facebook because they can't connect with their customers, so they use Facebook's targeted advertising to find them, and only after that connect with them.

We wouldn't have anything like that, unless we build a middleman that connects people with brands, and to be frank, that's the same thing as Facebook today, so it's a bummer. (it's not exactly the same, because people would have the choice of not connecting with the middleman, but other than that, it's the same)

So I'm not sure. But it still seems to make sense that brands could host free pubs and in this way exchange favors with their customers, without a cryptocoin.

@nichoth maybe you're fortunate to know a lot of people concerned about privacy, but I've seen a lot of skeptics or people who really don't care. Either way, my suggestion was just to give people that choice of selling or not selling their data away without affecting in any way their social connections.

The brand follow is basically a 'paid follow', so that's easy. I tell my local pizza joint that I'm willing to sign up for ads if they pay me a little bit to see them. I can even dig them, right? Easy.

@ev yes, but after sleeping over it, I'm beginning to see how we wouldn't need a cryptocoin. You pizza joint just checks if your account follows them, and then you get a discount.

@dominic in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

@andrestaltz that middleman who knows the audience are celebrities and people with otherwise high profiles, youtube stars etc - these people are part of advertising already, say, someone who has a lot of subscribers on their youtube channel, might get asked to review products relavant to their sphere of influence.

This is somewhat more like print advertising (untargeted, non-tracking) therefore less evil. Also, if you endorse something low quality it will reflect badly on your reputation, so there is a counter balance.

I think you need to look at the numbers for a you-get-paid-to-view-adds model, yes FB and GOOG make billions... but they only make like, $10-20 per user.

@andrestaltz in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

I think you need to look at the numbers for a you-get-paid-to-view-adds model, yes FB and GOOG make billions... but they only make like, $10-20 per user.

Yes, I'm aware of that, like FB makes ~15$ per user. That's why I thought a cryptocoin could work, so that it's play money, to measure e.g. customer loyalty/trust.

@nichoth in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

For sure a cool idea. While average users may not be motivated by a small payment, the "middlemen", though — celebrities, people with many followers — definitely, which would bring audience with them. Which seems like television advertising.

@andrestaltz in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

Anyway, I recognize this is a long-term plan because it's more important to first convince people to onboard, and only with enough traction can you start thinking about onboarding brands or celebrities.

@dominic in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

@andrestaltz right! that some important context, I thought for a second they where just paying you to follow them.

@nickname in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

I think one of the more direct inroads to SSB adoption is content creators wanting to regain control of their distribution networks. There have been many popular Youtube personalities that have spoken up about negative effects they have felt from the various actions Youtube has taken (cutting off ad revenue, not alerting subscribers, changing The Algorithm, etc.). This, along with the fall of Soundcloud, could make people more open and interested in community ownership of the platform.

What's more, I believe a dedicated content community (such as the numinous rabid fanbases for various Youtube celebrities) will be more likely to install an app to watch their favorite deposed content creator than an average social media user.

@andrestaltz in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

Good point! I think a simple way for those people to monetize their content is simply owning their "airtime", like podcast owners do for sponsors.

Maybe we need tools for content creators to adequately handle ad requests and audience engagement, plus owning their own (pub) servers. Hmm, now that's something actually solid and doable.

@andrestaltz in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

@devsort actually my inspiration was http://steem.it/. That Yours site looks blank to me, no details given.

@andrestaltz in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

I agree, and I wanted this thread to start as a question, not as answer or a discovery.

Bitcoin isn't even that old and it's already quite clustered and fragile to chinese decision makers. Proof of Work can't be egalitarian in the long run (30+ years) for an economy. Neither Proof of Stake.

In the meanwhile, many of these blockchain projects are absolutely fragile to ISPs.

@ub|k in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

We can either convince them they're doing something wrong (which sigh worked out "very well" for climate change)

This is a bit of a tangential remark, but most individuals do have a choice when it comes to their own privacy, whilst they have very little impact when it comes to fixing/worsening global warming. One would expect the average citizen to be much more mindful of their own privacy than they usually are.

But coming back to the main subject of your post, I was about to tell you to avoid at all cost mixing up money in any of this. I had the feeling (and still do) that the day you turn SSB into a monetizable platform it will become a den of bots, promoted posts and sponsored bloggers.
However, even if there is no explicit effort to turn SSB into a commercial platform, look at what happened to the web. People will find creative ways to make money out of just anything. Which makes me think, what would have happened if the web had adopted micropayments back in the day. Would we be better off now?

@andrestaltz in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

I agree about not mixing money into the platform itself, I'd prefer to just be donation-based to keep the software up-to-date.

People will find creative ways to make money out of just anything.

Yep, and it's also why we need to find what are the most likely-to-be-centralized parts of SSB and focus on decentralizing those as much as possible. For instance, it seems like pubs are currently the most likely to be centralized component of the network, and that's where business opportunities lie. So if/once the network grows, people seeking for opportunities will look at pubs first. I think we need to find a way to go pub-less as much possible, for instance through P2P (WebRTC) connections (pubs become just introducers) and/or decoupling invitations from the pub infrastructure, and/or adopting different underlying connectivity channels, like LAN, Mesh networks (RAN: Regional Area Networks), etc.

@Retard in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

What is the reasonability of having sbots running on people's phones in APP MODE acting as pubs? That's possible right? Laptops don't have a good uptime to function as pubs but people's phones are almost always on and connected....... if their FB app can phone home loads of userdata at all times sbot should be able to make a pretty good pub out of a phone.

@andrestaltz in #ssbc
Re: %JpC53Hf95

@Howard Klein the problem with that is getting a public IP from your phone. Also in my experiments so far I haven't been able to get my phone to serve a simple website to the open web.