Incentivizr: Make “Likes” Matter
P r e s e n t a t e
Make “Likes” Matter
Incentivizr is the winning entry from the RJI Hack The Future of Journalism hackathon, held the weekend of May 31 – June 1, 2014 at KQED in San Francisco.
Incentivizr is a concept business model extension for content platforms with paid subscribers that lets them reward quality content financially, and aims to reduce the “need" for clickbait articles to achieve sufficient ad-based revenues.
The root of the problem
Subscriber rates dropping
increase the need for “clickbait” articles
Content platforms have no inherent interest or desire to produce “clickbait” articles and similar types of attention-grabbing content; their need for such content and methods stems from having to maintain or increase ad revenues to offset dropping subscriber rates and increased competition from an ever-expanding range of content options on the web (and still only 24 hours in a day for consumers to consume in).
Incentivizr aims to make high quality content more appealing for content creators to make and for content platforms to feature, as well as increase user engagement by giving them a sense of ownership through letting them financially reward the content they like and want to encourage more of. Here’s roughly how it works:
Incentivizr uses a fraction of a paying subscriber’s existing monthly fee and “gives” it back to them for the purpose of distributing it specifically to the creators of content they want to reward.
We use the hook “Make ‘likes’ matter,” but it should be noted that Incentivizr (initially) does not hook into existing social media infrastructure like Facebook Likes. Instead, it adds an explicit “Reward” method that is connected to the currency a user has at their disposal to distribute.
Let’s take the Guardian as example, and pick a sample article from its site. A user could read the article…
…and if she enjoyed it by the end, she can use the Reward button to financially reward the author(s) of this piece of content. She clicks the Reward button…
…which then thanks her for rewarding the author, and encourages her to share the article. After all, this is the moment where the user is at her happiest about the content in question, and is most likely to share it with others.
We use “content” explicitly, instead of article, because Incentivizr can be used to reward any type of content. Like podcasts…
Here is a great video on smartphone photography by my friend Dan Rubin, along with Ian Anderson and Paul Boyd. The three of them are listed as authors, so if I reward this content, all three of them will get a little slice of that pie.
As a user, I can “log into” my Incentivizr dashboard — which would, of course, be integrated into the account settings area of the content platform itself — and see what content I have rewarded so far this month, and how much each creator is receiving.
By default, the fraction of the paid subscription used for Incentivizr will be around only one dollar, which, when split between multiple content creators, amounts to relatively little, but these are micro-transactions that add up in the aggregate across all paid subscribers using the feature. Still, as a user I can increase the amount I want to distribute among content creators by increasing my subscription. Let's do that.
On the subscription settings page, I can change how much I spend rewarding my favorite content creators. There is a minimum of $7 reserved for the publisher subscription itself, but I can increase the $1 dollar fraction taken by Incentivizr to any amount I want. The slider (by default) goes up to $20, leaving you with $13 to distribute, but if I really want to make a big contribution I can enter a custom amount.
This page also lets me specify at what intervals any unused funds go back to the publication overall: monthly, quarterly or annually.
I’m going to increase my subscription to $12/month so that I have $5 each month that I can reward to content creators who do excellent work. I’m happy with the Monthly setting for returning unused funds, so I hit Save & Return.
Now my dashboard shows that I am distributing $5 between the creators, who will get $1 each. Again, it’s a micro-transaction that adds up in the aggregate with thousands or tens of thousands of subscribers. As a user, I feel I have more of a say in what type and quality of content I want to encourage. What about as a content creator?
Here we see the Creator dashboard page. This shows which of my pieces of content generated the most rewards from users in the last month, as well as of all time. The bonus I received through the Incentivizr system last month was $126.37, not enough to replace a salary —
which Incentivizr is explicitly — but enough to make me pay attention to what types of content were rewarded. These aren’t just Facebook Likes or tweets; these are real dollars people awarded to me for the content.
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The platform owner will also have an Incentivizr dashboard, giving them insight into the top content and earners.
And, of course, analytics that help see how Incentivizr is making a difference. In this sample shot, the orange line represents the time when Incentivizr was added and went into effect.
Make “Likes” Matter
This is the rough idea behind how Incentivizr works and what it can offer to content publishing platforms. It is a micro-transaction based rewarding service for macro publishers, using the existing paid subscriptions to avoid having to deal with any credit card processing fees (or percentage fees on tiny donations), and letting users feel some ownership over the content they want to reward.
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Jun 3, 2014,
Last updated: Jun 23, 2017
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