Forget Free, Now We Want Services That Pay

from the how-soon-until-we-can-all-quit-our-jobs? dept

In an age where free consumers web services are considered standard using the business model of “AJAX, AdSense and Arrogance”, it was only a matter of time before the scales tipped even further towards the consumer. That is, we’re starting to see a lot more applications that are less about just being free, but also about paying their top users. It sounds good as a way to gain attention in a crowded market, since everyone likes getting paid — but it often does not make good business sense. There’s often a pretty big problem with all of these “bribe users” promotional plans: they’re always subject to being gamed. As soon as you offer people money or prizes of some kind, you’ll get the equivalent of “click fraud.” Someone, somewhere will be working overtime to figure out a way to make sure that money is going into his wallet — whether or not he deserves it. Unless these sites can come up with a real way to combat being gamed, it’s only a matter of time until someone will have set up some sort of bot or system to make sure the money goes somewhere that it probably doesn’t belong, ruining the experience for everyone else.

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Comments on “Forget Free, Now We Want Services That Pay”

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Rob says:

Here's where you're wrong...

This system does a pretty good job of preventing the equivalent of click-fraud by only paying users for top quality videos. There literally is no way to scam it because by definition, if you as a user are getting paid, so are they (by ad views for your popular video). Lulu is not about bribing users, it’s about revenue sharing, and it’s an idea that has been proven to work in the past.

Tyshaun says:

I would say it’s almost a self-defeating prophecy when you try to pay customers. Either you make the payments lucrative enough so that it’s worthwhile to the customer (which will bankrupt you), or the payments are so small that the only way for the customer to get a worthwhile payout is to exploit the metrics tracking capabilities.

Robert says:

Idea works

A good example of where this works is the game Entropia Universe. It works off a real world economy, and players have the potential to walk away with more money than they put into the game, but it’s like a casino where the odds are stacked in favor of the game developers/owners. I don’t see why a properly strategized real world method of giving money to the consumer to increase image and sales coudn’t work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Duh. Re-read the Times article and the info posted at The UPLOADER pays $14.95, which goes into a pool and is distributed among the uploaders based on the popularity/share-of-viewing of the video(s) they uploaded.

Users/viewers get nothing. Opportunities for click fraud are fairly low. You would need a VERY sophisticated bot to avoid being detected. And the RIAA, etc. will be all over the site looking for copy right licensing violations.

lay person says:


Look paying customers whether in cash or some other incentive works.

It’s simply a matter of also having a sound business model that works. The profit needs to match the payout accordingly. In addition the said model must be adhered to regardless of greed or instant profit gratification.

I was once paid $50.00 for a product review phone interview, it took 15 minutes…that’s $200.00 an hour!

They got what they wanted and so did I.

To use words like can’t and never is a lie because clearly it does work.

schizo says:


I would hardly say $50/15 minutes is $200/hour. It’s just $50 for 15 minutes. Unless you’re doing four of these in an hour–the same hour–that’s all it is. Otherwise, if you’ve done nothing for the next 45 minutes, well, you could say that it’s $50 an hour–even less if you’ve done nothing for the day.

On the other hand, if you can make a living out of doing this, more power to you. I sure would do it. I wonder how much the guy on the other end of “Can you hear me now?” makes.

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