Social networking is an increasingly crowded corner of the Internet business, but Korry Rogers thinks he has the secret to being more than just another Facebook in the crowd: money for nothing.
Yuwie.com looks like a no-frills MySpace, and has a fraction of the mega-sites users. But its planning to grow by offering members a very small percentage of the advertising revenue it takes in each month, based on how many hits each members page attracts and how many new members they get to join. “MySpace is making $20, 30, 40 million a month and theyre keeping all that. Users are the ones that are doing all the work,” says Rogers, who runs the site out of his home in Oklahoma. In December, that equaled US$15,000 dished out to Yuwies patrons.
While Rogers says users retain ownership of their content, others are skeptical of the new revenue-sharing model. “The notion of getting paid to surf when everything else is free tends to raise your little alarm bells,” says Jason Nolan, an expert on social networking technologies at Ryerson University. “People tend to log in [to websites] without ever reading the use policies, privacy policies, and terms of agreement.”
“Think of eBay,” says Anabel Quan-Haase, a professor of media studies at the University of Western Ontario. “People spend hours on eBay just to make a couple of bucks. It may be that there are two different kinds of users. One group will enjoy the Facebook nature of the environment and there may be another group that may be actually interested in making a couple of dollars.”
FYI: Anabel was one of Barry Wellman’s students, a while back.
My concern with this process was that it ‘appears’ as if you must keep bringing in new users to make $$. I wonder if I just set up a popular page all by myself, and didn’t bring in any new users if I’d still make money. The article quotes the founder saying that it is not a pyramid scheme because people don’t have to pay in to participate. But isn’t intellectual property valuable? And then again, time is money, as I’ve heard. Perhaps it will turn out fine, but only time will tell.