$10,000 Up For Grabs For Most Interesting Content Creator Case Studies!

from the case-study-contest dept

Along with our just announced brand new Step2 platform (a part of our larger Insight Community effort), we’re thrilled to announce a case study contest! We’re looking for detailed case studies of experiments that content creators have done, and how they worked out. And we’ve got $10,000 burning a hole in our pocket to give out to the best case studies.

You can click the link above for the official details, or you can look at the three examples we mentioned in the announcement post:

  1. Amanda Palmer discussing her recent experiences with Kickstarter in funding a new project in conjunction with her husband, Neil Gaiman.
  2. Or, check out Andy Richards of the indie band Uniform Motion (who we’ve written about a few times, discussing how his transparency about their revenue may have given fans additional reasons to buy, complete with detailed stats about how his transparency resulted in traffic and sales.
  3. Or you can jump over to Zoe Keating’s discussion over the question of whether or not doing art for purely strategic reasons is evil… while she also shares a bit of the secret of her success.

We want a lot more like that, and not just in the music space. We’re looking for case studies from content creators in music, movies, books and video games and will award $1,000 to each of the top two vote getters who qualify in each of those categories. Separately, we’re also looking for fan case studies of how artists in any of those fields connected with you. Again, the top two vote getters will get $1,000 each.

The kinds of case studies we’d love to see:

  • Done an interesting/different/unique promotion? Tell us about it and share the results in as much detail as possible
  • Tried an email marketing campaign? What worked and what didn’t? Any key metrics?
  • Attempted crowdfunding? How did you set the rewards? What did people like/not like?
  • Used new or different platforms or technologies? What kind of results did you see? What could be improved?
  • Attempted something different — like a house concert tour? ebook-only release? letting fans take part? releasing unfinished works? What worked, what didn’t, what did you learn?
  • Experimented with “name your own price?” How did it work? What prices worked well? What efforts did you make to trigger certain price points?
  • Set up a tiered pricing model? How did you choose the tiers? What worked? What did you learn?
  • How are you connecting with fans? Facebook, Twitter, Podcasts? Google Plus? What works, what doesn’t? What really seems to energize fans? What doesn’t? Any empirical data that shows how your fans reacted?
  • Surprise us!

If you’re a content creator in any of the qualifying categories, please consider taking part. Some creators are always afraid to share too many details of their “secret sauce,” but many who have done so have found that the transparency itself leads to greater connection with fans and — perhaps more importantly — getting detailed info out there will help inspire others to do cool things too. Step2 is about learning and helping each other succeed in a rapidly changing world.

If you’re not a content creator who qualifies, please consider entering the fan contest, but also alert your favorite content creators in the qualifying categories that they should enter!

We’re looking forward to learning about all the great and interesting experiments, success stories and lessons learned.

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Comments on “$10,000 Up For Grabs For Most Interesting Content Creator Case Studies!”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

$10,000 contest… a contest requires licensing in many states, and may require a skill testing question or other to claim the prize. There are also any number of requirements to license, including appointing impartial judges, or third party oversight, etc.

I am wondering how Mike licensed this grand contest. I want to read the rules of eligibility, and understand how it is paid out.

I wonder how much will be retained at source for the IRS…

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I Pity da foo

Due to your apparent inability to parse text and/or follow links I have taken pity upon you.

Here ya go:

Though, I should warn you: if you follow that link there will be more words and links–I know how these things confuse you so. You’ll need to find somebody else to parse those words/links for you.

Good luck!

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 I Pity da foo

It’s me. I’m doing all the auditing and it’s registered with Dark Helmet’s Legal Notice Repository Group, a subsidiary of Dark Helmet’s Legal Notice Writing Group. We don’t really do much, but nobody pushes buearacratic paper around like us, plus we can pleasure ourselves at the same time.

(The following jingle lyrics are to be read in sing-song)

TAM posting questions on your board?
Killing more brainsells than you can afford?
We’ll shore up your paperwork for youuuuu!
While masturbating into this shoooooooeeee!
So rest assured and don’t you droop,
You’ve got Dark Helmet’s Legal Notice Repository Group!

(DHsLNRG is not responsible if you elect to trust us. Really…what the fuck were you thinking?)

AJ says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think you have your answer.

Judging by the douche-bag remark from the shill, they really don’t like it when you point out the fact that they are just leeches sucking the blood from the artists they claim to represent….

When their trolling reaches the “frenzy” state, such as rapid refresh posting and direct attacks, you’re really hitting bone hard. Great work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The “frenzy state” you have seen the last few days has been turkeys like Marcus Carab posting as anonymous cowards, trying to shout down the people who don’t agree with Mike and have the balls to ask the hard question he hates to answer directly.

Go look. There is one anonymous actually chatting with himself. That one is probably Marcus. Sad really, proof that free speech only applies here to people who agree with Mike.

rubberpants says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Oh come on, that’s utterly ridiculous. You know that on any other website, you and your ilk would have been IP blocked and moderated into oblivion long ago. How can you possibly sit there and pretend that somehow your “free speech” isn’t allowed here? Mike has given you more free reign than any administrator I’ve ever seen.

The very fact that this particular comment displays at all is direct evidence that you’re wrong.

You’re a bitter, sad person.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Sad really, proof that free speech only applies here to people who agree with Mike.

Really? Have any of your comments been deleted? Have you been blocked from commenting? Have any of these events you’re speculating about caused you to stop commenting or comment less frequently? Have you been threatened by anyone because of your comments?

Not finding agreement for your comments is not the same thing as not having free speech.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Mike doesn’t do it himself. But the “shout down crew” has been very hard at work the last couple of weeks. In the past they have pretty much driven off every contrarian voice that appears on this site. Those who do the best job seem to be rewarded with posting privileges. When was your last post again? 😉

Sorry, I know it sucks, but I call it as I see it. So many people driven off the site, and “staff” seeming to support the harassment.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I didn’t say you said Mike had anything to do with this so-called “shoutdown crew.” But if you’re having trouble typing because of all the “yelling,” then you might find any encroachment on your real-world free speech almost unbearable.

“So many people driven off the site?”

Really? Seems just as populated as ever, both by regular supporters and regular detractors. If there’s anything going on, it’s people using the anonymous option to mock other anonymous commenters. If you can’t handle this, I’ve got bad news for you: comment threads can be ugly and this can happen anywhere.

You want free speech so you can get your point across, but you don’t want any number of “fake” AC’s to do whatever the hell they want with their commenting privileges? Whether or not you like the alleged “shoutdown crew” has nothing to do with whether or not you’re allowed to comment freely here. You seem to think this is somehow orchestrated from above. It isn’t but there’s no way I’ll ever convince you of that.

I guess, suck it up or ignore it or get a named account. Or, you know, just keep complaining about it because that seems to be working.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“I guess, suck it up or ignore it or get a named account. “

it’s the point exactly, which is why I won’t do it. They are trying to drive me to a named account, which I will not do. At that point, people just rip you by name, without reading anything you post.

So keep up the good work, but it won’t change my opinion.

Shout out to the Shout Down Crew, you guys are the tops at denying others what you hold most precious. Pricks.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

They are trying to drive me to a named account, which I will not do. At that point, people just rip you by name, without reading anything you post.

Good strategy! This way, on every new post, it takes a full six to eight seconds before we realize that you are a jackass who can’t grasp even basic concepts like “free speech” above a grade school level. At it all up, and there is probably about half an hour per week in which everyone doesn’t think you’re a moron. I guess that’s what you live for, huh?

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

At that point, people just rip you by name, without reading anything you post.

At this point, you have to ask yourself “Why do I want people to read my posts?”. If it’s because you want to actually influence opinion, you might try presenting a coherent argument. Ad homs aren’t going to hold up, regardless of whether you post as an AC or not.

denying others what you hold most precious

No one has denied you anything. You’re still here, and you’re still posting your drivel aren’t you?

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I’m not trying to drive you to a named account. You also have the “suck it up” or “ignore it” options.

I too would prefer to have my posts ripped into only after they’ve been read, rather than just being ripped into because of my name. But it happens either way. So be it.

I still don’t see how you’re coming to the conclusion that you’re not free to post here. Nothing seems to be slowing down your post frequency.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“Shout out to the Shout Down Crew, you guys are the tops at denying others what you hold most precious. Pricks.”

I’m interested in finding out if I’m somehow part of this “shout down crew”, since I’m obviously a regular and a contributor. Regardless, what have these bad, nasty people “denied” you?

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

No, see, you don’t understand what “free speech” actually means. None of us did until this AC educated us.

Today we have learned that free speech means never, ever objecting to anything anyone says or providing alternative viewpoints, and never ever condemning anyone for their assertions. It’s like what you were taught in Grade 3 about everyone being entitled to an opinion.

In a true free speech society, someone can stand up and say “I think we should start a Competitive Pedophilia League!” you have to say “what a nice idea!”

If you stand up and say “that’s disgusting and you are a bad person”, or even “I wholeheartedly disagree”, then you are a megalomaniacal bigot who hates free speech.


Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

BTW, how about you head over to the other thread where you are kicking and screaming as well, and admit that you were lying when you said Mike hates middlemen. I did, after all, provide you tonnes of evidence to the contrary – but of course you are avoiding it like the plague, because it has proven you wrong yet again, and we all know you simply can NOT handle that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Oh Marcus, you are so proud of yourself. Tomorrow maybe you can learn how to play with others.

I answered your post further down. Let’s just say that Mike once again plays the weasel word game, where he hates on middlemen than plays games with the term to make it possible to say he likes them, but really he doesn’t.

Carry on, asshole!

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Heh. You accuse Mike of “weasel word games” and yet your comment in question included this sentence:

So he likes middlemen, as long as they aren’t middlemen. Until he is a middleman, then he likes them as long as they aren’t gatekeepers. But then again, they aren’t really middlemen, they are facilitators. See how this works?

I think we all know who is the one playing word games, thanks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Re:

Marcus, you are a jackass, you get treated like one.

You don’t look at my posts and try to see my side of the argument, instead you pick nits. You comment on spelling, you comment on sentence construction, or whatever else you can do to entirely ignore my points and pick away at me personally.

You are a jackass, pure and simple. It’s people like you that make this place less enjoyable.

You are part of the “in crowd”, and it lets you get away with a lot. You know there will always be someone there going “yeah, you are so right Marcus!” and backing you up. Your avoidance of the issues, your failure to address points, and your desire instead to pick away at me personally just shows how small a man you are. Take away the crowd, and you would shrivel up and slink away.

I suspect you have plenty of problems dealing with others. You hide it by being the buffoon, the clown, the idiot willing to get up on stage and make an ass out of themselves, because as long as they are laughing at you, they aren’t beating you up.

Keep up the good work. Mike seems to have taken a shine to you.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

You comment on spelling, you comment on sentence construction, or whatever else you can do to entirely ignore my points

Can you read? I WAS commenting on what I thought was your point, because I thought you were saying that Facebook only “pretends” to offer value. I am perfectly willing to acknoweldge now that WASN’T your point, so I withdraw that – I only brought up your grammar because you wanted to insist I was stupid for thinking that was your point, even though that was precisely how you wrote it. You are so thick you could block neutrinos.

rubberpants says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Let me see if I understand correctly:

You’re complaining because as soon as you post something a bunch of people, sometimes AC, instantly post a contrary reply or attack? And that you don’t want a named account because sometimes people might attack you personally rather than address what you’ve written?


PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“At that point, people just rip you by name, without reading anything you post.”

At this point, we can tell which AC is posting just by the writing style and baseless assertions being made (do you honestly think anyone else is so obsessed with attacking Marcus directly, for example?). It’s blatantly obvious who’s posting, it just helps with the flow of conversation if we don’t have 30 ACs posting. The snowflakes get mixed up sometimes.

There’s no need to reveal any personal information, so what are you afraid of? Oh, yes. A named account would allow people (including yourself) to refer back to your previous posts and link to them, as well as follow more easily who said what you say. You could be held accountable to your own assertions. That you refuse to do so says more that you admit. I’m not afraid to state my opinion and allow you to look at several years’ history of it, why are you?

Hell, I’m pretty sure I’ve given enough personal info here for you to track me down in real life and state opinions face-to-face. My opinions would be the same in person, so have at it. What about yours?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“turkeys like Marcus Carab posting as anonymous cowards”

Citation? Surely you must have evidence rather than moronic assumptions which you regard as truth then attack anyone with actual facts or differing opinions… Paranoia like this can’t be good.

Oh, wait, it’s the AC again. Once again, I really hope you’re paid for this. Else, I’m picturing an ageing record exec, sat like Wilford Brimley in The Thing, pretending to be sane with a noose swinging behind his neck… Pretty sad.

bob (profile) says:


While I’m all for researching these new ideas, I want to say that Kickstarter seems like DRM and a Paywall on steroids. In the past, the artist had to take a risk and actually build something before trying to collect any cash. Now the artist basically says, “If you put up enough money, I’m going to get off my duff and do something.” (Not that there’s anything wrong with that kind of artist-centric view of the world.)

And once again, only those who take a leap of faith get the physical object. In the old regime– the evil studio-controlled regime– the consumers could talk with friends or read reviews before plunking down their cash. Not any more. The artist sits behind the royal paywall waiting and the fans have to decide based on vague handwaving and promises about how cool it’s going to be.

I continue to be flabbergasted by the way that the paywall haters around here seem to like any similar idea with a different name and an HTML5 website.

But hey. People are strange.

Iori Branford (user link) says:

Re: Kickstarter==Paywall

While I’m all for researching these new ideas, I want to say that Kickstarter seems like DRM and a Paywall on steroids.

I see no requirement to control product after customers have received them, nor any hard rules on under what terms creators may offer product, but by all means continue pitching scary buzzwords.

Now the artist basically says, “If you put up enough money, I’m going to get off my duff and do something.”…The artist sits behind the royal paywall waiting and the fans have to decide based on vague handwaving and promises about how cool it’s going to be.

The lazy shit artists do, yes. The rest are like, “We’ve done X much, and with your support we could do X^100,” and you get to see a demonstration or trial version or trailer that shows the potential of the project.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Kickstarter==Paywall

I’m not denying anything. I’m happy you’re embracing letting the artists withhold their creations until they get cash.

And I’m just observing that Kickstarter is just as much a paywall as the mechanism that the newspapers use. For some odd reason you jump and scream about newspapers losing their relevancy when they cut off the web (and Big Search). So why not point out the same thing about the people who use Kickstarter. They’re stopping their projects until the audience puts up cash.

So if the newspapers just rename their paywalls with some trendy name like “kickstarter” and insist that they won’t produce an issue until they have N subscriptions, will you start celebrating them and giving them one of your little prizes?

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Kickstarter==Paywall

Where have you been? If N people don’t pay $M, then no one gets anything. If you don’t pay, you don’t get anything. That’s how a paywall works.

Now if Amanda Palmer really wanted to be relevant and part of the conversation on the web, she would have just released everything for free. Perhaps she would have seeded the free files on the pirate sites herself just to show how cool she could be because nothing is cooler than a secret pirate site. Then she would sell t-shirts or something else to get cash. That’s how it works without a paywall.

But that’s not what she did. Nope. She did what Big Search is absolutely afraid will happen to the web. She hid her stuff where Big Search couldn’t show ads. Then she insisted on getting a fair price for her work and she insisted that each fan contribute their fair share and not freeride.

Frankly Kickstarter is worse for the artistic community than a regular paywall. Do you know how the librarians are trying to say that they’re the friend of artists because they’re trying to help the artist find fans? Do you know how they’re conveniently leaving out the part about undercutting the real market?

At least the art exists with the paywall. SOmeone can come along later, pay the freight, and engage the creation. That’s not how it works with Kickstarter. If N people don’t cough up $M, the creation is never born. It will never exist for eternity. Talk about walling off a creator from the fans. If only N-1 fans respond, Kickstarter blocks the art from being created forever.

hothmonster says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Kickstarter==Paywall

“If only N-1 fans respond, Kickstarter blocks the art from being created forever.”

You seem to think that if someone fails to raise enough money that the project disappears or can’t go on ever. If people can’t raise enough money on kickstarter they are free to try to find funding elsewhere. But if a band needs 10k for studio fees and pressing records they can gather that from fans and make the work, if they can’t get fans to pay for it they can try and find a label or play more shows or do whatever they would have done if kickstarter hadn’t existed. Allowing creators to petition their fans directly for money instead of needing a 3rd party to back the project and fund it is better for the artist and the fan, not sure how you can really say its a paywall or has a negative effect on the artistic community.

Lots of great shit gets made because of kickstarter. Creators get to hold onto their IP because they don’t have to sign a contract with some 3rd party, and people that couldn’t have gotten signed with a label or studio can find their audience and allow them to pay for it.

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Kickstarter==Paywall

Where have you been? If N people don’t pay $M, then no one gets anything. If you don’t pay, you don’t get anything. That’s how a paywall works.

Dogs have four legs, and cows have four legs, therefore dogs are cows. Good to know.

If N people don’t cough up $M, the creation is never born. It will never exist for eternity.

Bald-faced lie.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Kickstarter==Paywall

It is rather hilarious to field sarcastic remarks that echo what I’ve been saying all along. Creators should be able to charge for access to their work. Controlling access may not be perfect, but it’s one of the few ways that creators can maintain enough control to charge enough to support the work.

Whoo hoo! Everyone’s come over to my side! All it took was a trendy name and then whooosh, the herd starts stampeding in my direction. Wonderful.

hothmonster says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Kickstarter==Paywall

Most of us have no problem with creators charging for their work or controlling the access. We have problems with gatekeepers controlling access to creators content, artificial scarcities, overly long monopoly rents, attempts to make life worse for people as a whole to maintain control, efforts to turn back technology to 1988, paying millions to lobbyists to get self-serving laws passed, spouting repeatedly debunked stats the congress and the media to support your self-serving laws, hurting legit customers in a misguided attempt to stop the inevitable with DRM, and stifling the innovation and creativity of others because you can’t see all the sources your own creativity stems from, or you happen to own the IP to something that becomes a culturally iconic and now feel you no longer have to do anything except collect on your one accomplishment for the rest of your life.

But if you want to say hey I am gonna make an album/movie/novel/comic/ect I need some money to fund the project, here is a sample, would you like to pre-order? There is nothing wrong with that.

*by “we” i mean myself and anyone else who chooses to agree with me

Anonymous Coward says:

Worth Noting

Mike has zero vested interest in actually helping artists. He has a vested interest in developing his brand as “someone who understands technological innovation,” “helps artists” etc. Any artist actually finding help through this project is incidental to that primary function: benefiting Mike and his awkward brand (the sole project the devotees here are participating in).

There’s a nice content farming angle to this, no? MM, having beaten his CwF examples like a dead horse, can finally trot out a few more novel tales, provided by struggling artists in good faith. Think of the publicity! Think of the page hits! Think of the lecture fees! Easily worth the $10K upfront investment. Now, THAT is a business model…

packrat (profile) says:

noise, blast...

lots of noise, no action. BBSing spam wars, ick… twit lists, etc. phooey.

prises for best doc’d marketing in new digtal age. beauty, I really need good ideas to steal.

rumbles about offical oversight to prevent scams. here?

good survey on digital eco over at http://www.fleen.com/

today’s gossip. nothing on online scams, thou i asked last week.

packrat2 (watch the blasted movie already, it’s only a minute of your time. AND it’s worth it.)


Rick says:

Content Creation

I was looking for interesting content on a small scale for personal use and came across your site. Wow, people wanting to pay for interesting content and case studies. But you limit yourself right off the bat by asking only people who are content creators. As if no one else has an interesting idea. That’s interesting to me. Save your money and look at social networks such as youtube and facebook. Lots of very clever people out there doing lots of clever things.
Thanks for your time.

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