Tsu is a 1-year-old platform that claims 4.5 million users, differentiating itself from the Facebooks and Twitters of the social-media world by financially compensating people who post. That's right—you can get paid cash to post while you watch Monday Night Football, Project Runway or Saturday morning cartoons in your pajamas.
"[We have] an algorithm that gives everyone proportionate value to content views and the size of their social network," explained Sebastian Sobczak, CEO of the New York-based Tsu. "[Our algorithm] gives 90 percent of the economics generated from advertising away to users creating the network and the content."
We chatted with Sobczak to learn more about his intriguing startup.
Adweek: How much do people—who consistently post, that is—make on your social platform?
Sebastian Sobczak: The average content creator would earn $63.60 for the week … however, it is important to understand that this is still a nascent platform that is growing every day. The more users create content and the more people that utilize the platform and add new users, the more those payments will grow.
Do multimedia posts—video, GIFs, etc.—make content creators more money?
No. All content is equal in proportion to how many times it is organically viewed. Text, video, pictures, .Gifs or whatever you create is treated equally. Its just a question of how many times they are organically viewed.
What's the most a user has made in a month?
Concerning royalties for content, a European Sports Illustrated model on our platform made $3,424.51 [during] May.
What's the model's name?
Our policy is not to release bank information without consent, so if we give you the amount of money in their bank, we can't disclose the person's name without their approval because of privacy issues.
Understood. I have heard there are fundraisers using the site. Can you give me an example?
For instance, one week after the earthquakes in Nepal, Charity: Water's volunteers and equipment turned to leading the survivor search efforts in the region. At that time, one of our users noticed the devastation as it happened and also noticed that we had no Nepal-based charities on Tsu. Through this individual-lead effort, we raised $2,500 in the first few days for the charity, all through users' donations (from 1 cent to $100) on our platform, and 100 percent of those donations were from users' Tsu monetization.
Are you planning a campaign to boost users? How about a Super Bowl ad?
Interesting question, and this is perhaps the most unique aspect of Tsu. General advertising does not really work for us, given Tsu is an invite-only system. So, for every dollar we would spend on general advertising, we would be essentially not be getting the benefit of it, since we give all of the value away to those that actually own their social network and content. In essence, users who discover Tsu find it extraordinarily valuable and decide whether or not to promote the product and capture the value of their digital assets. To date, we have not done any direct advertising, and everything has been word of mouth. And, we have had an unparalleled growth rate, reaching more than 1 million users [during our] first month.