For the past week or so I’ve been trying out a new social media platform called tsū. While it’s still rough around the edges, it has a lot of potential.
One of the largest hurdles that any new social networking site platform needs to overcome is getting users. It takes users to get users so to so speak. Tsū manages to entice people to join and get others to join by using a payment model.
The people you invite to tsū are called your “children.” The exact amount a person gets paid depends on how much ad revenue their activity, their “children’s” activity, and their “grandchildren’s” activity generates.
In order to join tsū, you have to use someone’s shortcode, such as ours (geekerskeep). When you use that shortcode, you are added to that person’s family and part of the revenue you help generate is kicked back to your parent. Likewise anyone you invite helps generate revenue for you. It’s certainly a multilevel component, but so long as you generate a fair amount of interesting content, you should be able generate some revenue without any/many children.
Get Rich Quick?
Honestly, unless you or one of the people you invite has some amazing content, it’s going to be difficult to make a lot. Spending a week on posting and gathering about 70 friends between multiple accounts (one for each hobby of mine), I’ve accumulated about $0.90 which is a far cry from the $100 minimum required to withdraw money.
Now quite frankly, while you might not get paid much, the model does help promote initial adoption of the service allowing it to grow. And tsū already has over 2 million users. But the model has resulted in some interesting dynamics. With Facebook, people often post just wanting others to like their posts. People are almost shocked if you disagree with their statements. I’ve even been blocked for pushing someone to support their position. On tsū, since such discussions generate more views and thus more revenue for person who posted the content, discussion is quite acceptable. Because of this, your wall can end up feeling more like a discussion board.
Another way the paid model impacts activity is friending. With Facebook people try to keep to their own social network, only talking to people they know well. In tsū the more new people you meet, the more you can spread your content. This ends up encouraging interactions outside of a person’s known social network.
Of course you do get the occassional spam “like and share my post so we all get more money” kind of things, but it is kept to a minimum, in part because tsū imposes a limit on how many total posts and shares you can have each day.
Since the revenue for the paid content comes from advertising, we recently decided to try out advertising. Here’s our experience.
First, tsu does not have an interface for ad construction. You have to manually request advertising by emailing the tsu team. This is time consuming and considering how important ads are for tsu, I’m a little surprised that they have not created an interface yet. I have been assured that it is on its way.
The cost for advertising on tsu is rather straight forward, at least for sponsored posts. The cost is $3 per thousand impressions.
- unknown: 0.4% (220)
- 13-17: 9.84% (5473)
- 18-24: 26.91% (14965)
- 25-34: 33.06% (18387)
- 35-44: 18.73% (10415)
- 45-54: 8.32% (4626)
- 55-64: 2.76% (1534)
- male: 55.02% (30604)
- kckcfemale: 44.88% (24965)
- unknown: 0.09% (51)
- unknown: 38.87% (21617)
- US: 26.88% (14949)
- IT: 6.32% (3513)
- JP: 3.59% (1994)
- BR: 2.62% (1458)
The reason there were more ads delivered than originally the original contract specified was because of a glitch in the advertising system which occurred when tsu’s IT team updated their system.
Overall the results weren’t too bad. The biggest issue is that sponsored sites seem to draw a lot of spam comments and likes. But the ad did generate a fair amount of organic activity as well. Pretty much every post that I made while the ad was running saw about three to four times the activity that posts normally saw.
The one stat that I wasn’t able to test was link clicks since the link was to Amazon and so tracking would have been difficult.
Tsū is clearly still rough around the edges. Currently there is no way to edit your posts or comments, the general user interface needs to be cleaned up, and on the advertising end of the model, ads have to be created manually by tsū staff. In addition, the paid model itself is not sustainable at the level it is currently being offerred. Right now, that is the only component of tsū which is unique. The developers will have to come up with something else that differentiates tsū from Facebook.
Another issue which will determine the fate of tsū is wheher or not people will primarily focus the growth of their social network on their interests. It seems that tsū will have the most success if people friend, follow, and invite people with similar interests. This will help ensure that people are happy with their tsū experience.
So if tsū is not a crowd funded project why focus on it? Well, as a potential Facebook alternative, it still is geek related and worthy of discussion on Geekers Keep, but it also offers potential for future projects.
One project that some of the Geekers Keep team members are working on is an online social marketplace called Agora. It will most likely be crowd funded, which should draw some attention to the system, but there is still the concern of how to get a large enough user base to make the platform sustainable. Tsū may have given them the answer. Instead of paying based on general content, payment could be based on how many sales their product reviews, answers to product questions, etc their content generates.
So if you’re interested in checking out tsū or already have tsū and would like to follow us there, our shortcode again is geekerskeep.