This User-Generated Magazine Wants to Pay Contributors

storybyThis week, StoryBy officially launched as the first peer-generated, crowd-sourced, forum-based “magazine” that also aims to share its revenue with contributors.

The platform was spawned out of frustration with what CEO Olavi Toivainen calls “old style” forums: hard to search, difficult to follow and to contribute to. StoryBy is focused on making reading an immersive experience, which will benefit users and brands. Organized by topics, or what they call “zones,” users can write their own articles. Right now, lifestyle topics like home, travel, and entertainment populate the site.

In addition to creatine a reading experience using an algorithm that ranks entries by popularity, Toivainen is focused on making the site easy to use and personalizing the experience. “The ranking order is driving the experience,” Toivainen says.

For readers, there’s no obligatory log-in, so you can create your adventure within the site without the algorithm. Contributors do need to log in. But once you write an article on a topic, that’s it. Their platform categorizes and tags it for you. Like Quora, StoryBy is founded on the belief that everyone is an expert on something. 

Toivainen says, “We want to focus on consumer generated media…it’s not really social media, but more about the subjects and the usefulness of insights.”

What sets the platform apart is how they plan on paying contributors. You’ll be able to choose gifts. Top stories earn points and those points accumulate into rewards. Toivainen likens it to an airline’s rewards members service. “We want to make sure it is not a hazy thing, but a fair thing. If your content makes people click, it’s only fair.”

While it’s not journalistic in the sense of news, the platform is innovative in its design, ranking, and payment ideals. But will people write for gift cards? How that perk works itself out remains to be seen.