People talk a lot about their brand these days. The things they create, publish and post to social media are all designed to help advance their brand. However, unlike most business brands – we all seem willing to just let others make the money on our behalf. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – these social networks rose to prominence because they provided value that didn’t exist. A place to connect, a place to share, a place to engage etc. However, as social media has matured, the nature of social networks has changed too. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other networks make changes to their sites not with you in mind, but rather to increase the monetization of the platform. Now, instead of focusing on providing value to the user – it’s all about providing money to the shareholders. We’re just the mule that carries the money from the advertiser to the network.
Tsu, the next-gen social network that pays you for your content just launched yesterday, and after spending roughly 24 hours on the site has me incredibly excited for its potential. Tsu’s mandate is simple and it displays it prominently on the homepage “Tsu is a free network that gives the social revenues back to you. We instead focus on payments. It’s the right thing to do.”
If you want to skip the rest of the stuff and experience Tsu yourself, you are free to use my ID to setup an account! http://tsu.co/zachbussey – skip down to the MLM stuff (#4) below regarding this though.
EDIT: Please also read Amanda Blain’s article on the potential problem with Tsu. I am doing my best to get some answers to the legitimate questions she’s posed, so in the meantime read it for a counter view! – http://www.amandablain.com/tsu-scam-things-to-consider
Signup and Social
The signup process is vastly different than other social networks which have you sign up freely. Tsu requires that you know someone already on the site – and it is only with their unique social profile URL that you can successfully create a profile. This does two things – it first ensures that you have ‘a friend’ to connect with, and it creates a hierarchy of who joins the network. This is a slightly important part of Tsu (albeit a hateable one) that I will get back to later in this post
Once you’re on Tsu, similarities will emerge – a profile with your basic information, date of birth, social links, a bit about you, your image, a header etc. You can connect Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well to have your content from Tsu post out to those sites (and also to assist in finding people you’ve already connected with on those sites). Once you have that set up you are all set to start creating content, making connections, sharing, engaging, liking, and replying to others content. The network itself feels like a less noisy version of Facebook. Everything you want, none of the stuff that clogs up the works. There’s a fluid notification system (for comments, replies, friend requests and follows), as well as a general timeline they call the “Feed” where you’ll find all the people you’re friends or followers content.
On the backend, you’ve got some really neat utilities on Tsu that you don’t typically find on a social network – and they make it incredibly powerful as a tool for any content creators. First you have Analytics – a dashboard that shows you every engagement, view, like and comment on every single item you’ve posted. It shows you a 30 day dashboard and allows you to examine what’s performing well and what’s not. Twitter only released a version of analytics for the average user this year, meanwhile Facebook has no basic stats for basic users. So out of the gate, there’s a major reason to be excited. You also have the Family Tree section, which is unique and plays an important role in the monetization of the site. The Family Tree shows you the people who have signed up as a direct result of your invitation. It also lets you look down the line at the people they’ve invited, and so on and so on. The final novel addition is the Bank tab, which displays the money you’ve been credited for your monetized views.
You Get Paid for Your Content
Alright, the real reason you’re here – to learn how you actually make money on Tsu. Well, first, let’s realize that this isn’t without precedent. I’ve always looked at websites like YouTube as an example of what social media should be – content creators (YouTube Partners) get a cut of the ad revenue generated from their channels. The split is 55-45 between the creator and Google. It incentivizes the creator to continue creating, it builds Youtube and the advertiser gets their message across. Tens of thousands of Youtubers are making between $30K to $10M annually.
Tsu works in a similar fashion. For brands, they can pay for display ads, of which are served on every page of the site. When you view content, you’re exposed to those ads. As a result, whoever’s content you were looking at gets a cut of the ad revenue. In this way, advertisers are seen as heroes to the Tsu community as a whole because they enable you to get paid for the things you post. Now, there is also an option for native advertising on the site through sponsored posts that live on your extended network – these posts are designed for individuals to boost your own content and potentially resulting in additional clicks/follows/friends (the current rate on these sponsored posts is just $3 CPM).
So let’s break it down and see how you as individuals get paid…
1. Let’s pretend that a display ad next to your content is being paid for at a rate of $10 CPM.
2. With that as the premise – let’s say you post something that gets 1000 views. Tsu takes a 10% cut of the earnings. This money builds their brand, their bank account and cover the site costs. That leaves $9 to dish out.
3. You as the content creator get 50% of the remaining cash. So in this example, $4.50 put into your ‘bank’. But now we’re left with $4.50.
4. Here’s where the Family Tree matters, the other $4.50 gets paid out to the person who had you sign up, and a smaller portion goes to the person who invited them. Yes, the old (and scary) multi-level marketing concept rears it’s head. The person who invited you will get 1/3 of the $4.50, while the person above them will get 1/9th and so on until all the money is distributed. So, the person who invited you would get $1.49 from your content. And the person that invited that person would get $0.49, and the chain keeps going up. Yes, it’s a little meh, but that’s the only point of contention I’d take with the site – I don’t even know why they would have added this to the site really and hope they pivot to remove this aspect.
Money, Apps and a Payment Platform
One of the most important parts of any network these days is their mobile app – and Tsu has done that in style. They are launching with both an iOS and an Android app that are incredibly well designed. The Android app worked perfectly for me, while the iOS app has some minor bugs. The experience on site and on the app is virtually identical and intuitive. It’s no surprise considering Tsu has been in development for 6 years (from concept to execution) and has raised $7M so far.
When it comes to your earnings, there doesn’t seem to be any minimum. At the time of writing this, after my first day on the site I’ve made a massive $0.02. While the site seems to show that you can redeem for any amount – there is an unlisted payment threshold that prevents you from requesting a cheque for pennies. They also require by law to get your Social if you end up cashing out more than $600 in a fiscal year. Tax man wants their cut! Beyond that, I am going to predict that Tsu becomes a platform for ecommerce. They already have a user base, you already have your money that you’ve made on the platform – why not reinvest that into potential ecommerce option within the site/app. While I have no evidence to support this prediction, it just feels like the natural next step.
Tsu is definitely one of the most exciting startups/social networks I’ve seen in recent memory. The financial sharing, the mandate, the well designed website and app – everything here has me excited about the potential! I’m predicting big things from Tsu, and really think this is the social network that we all deserve!