A plethora of new startups are making it easier for digital developers to monetize every aspect of their lives – right down to what they eat, who they hang out with, and who they respond to on TikTok.
Dozens of millions of people around the world consider themselves creators, and the creator economy is the “fastest growing type of small business,” according to a 2020 report by venture capital firm SignalFire.
However, as the market becomes more competitive and the platforms and their algorithms remain unreliable, developers are developing new, hyper-specific revenue streams.
One of them is NewNew, a Los Angeles startup that describes its product as creating a “human stock market.” In the app, fans pay to vote in polls to control some of a developer’s day-to-day decisions.
For example, a creator can use NewNew to post a poll asking what sweater to wear today, who to meet with and where to go. Fans purchase voting rights on the NewNew platform to take the polls, and with enough voting rights, they can watch their favorite influencer grant their wishes, just like in a real adventure game where you can choose your own adventure.
“Creators are burning out, but their fans always want more,” said Jen Lee, 25, the founder of a popular creator economy community on Discord. “By monetizing every aspect of their life, they can get value from day-to-day interactions.”
Courtne Smith, founder and chief executive officer of NewNew, said the company was “similar to the stock market” in that “you can buy stocks, which are essentially votes, to control a person’s level of life.”
“We’re building an attention economy where you buy moments in other people’s lives, and we’re going a step further by allowing and enabling people to control those moments,” she said.
The platform started beta testing with a select group last week, and several TikTok and YouTube stars have already started making money.
“Did you ever want to control my life?” Lev Cameron, 15, a TikToker with 3.3 million followers, asked in a video recently posted on NewNew. “Now is your time. You can actually control and vote on the things I do during the day. Then I’ll show you if I end up doing the things you voted for. “
He asked his fans which game to play with friends: dodgeball or catch. In the background of the video his friends shouted “catch!”
Unfortunately, 78 percent of the fans voted for dodgeball. (Mr. Cameron said he didn’t really want to play dodgeball because it might damage a fence in the yard, but the fans had spoken.)
“If you vote, I’ll do what you vote for,” he said. “It’s not like, oh, I’m secretly doing the other thing. It’s surprising how many people vote and what they vote for. “(Mr. Cameron also allowed fans to control what he sees, what video games he plays, and what his hamster is called.)
Ms. Smith said the platform reserves the right to ban users who post offensive, inappropriate, dangerous, or illegal surveys.
While the beta test is invite-only for developers, Ms. Smith hopes that at some point everyone – from celebrities to the average person – can use it to monetize their lives.
“Sure, controlling a famous influencer or a celebrity is fun, but honestly, it’s just as fun to control someone you go to school with, or your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend or a writer on their next science Fiction novel plans or a beauty founder creating her next makeup palette, “she said. “It doesn’t matter how boring you think you are, there is someone out there who finds your life so interesting that they are willing to pay.”
Comments, collaborations and crypto
Well-known creators who are yet to monetize the little details of their lives are still making money from everyday digital interactions. (Why would you comment, like, or share someone’s photos or videos if they don’t get paid?)
Recently, a platform called PearPop has become popular that allows fans to pay for interactions with their idols on social media. For example, TikTok star Griffin Johnson will comment on your video for $ 250. If you don’t have $ 250, you can place your best bid.
“Monetizing your social presence has traditionally only been available to those with a large following who can close big branded deals,” said Cole Mason, co-founder and managing director of PearPop. “That is no longer the case. The idea for PearPop democratizes the monetization of developers by offering something that makes a lot of sense for developers with 10,000 followers and 10 million followers alike. “
Cooperation between stars (and aspiring developers) is also becoming increasingly easier to monetize. Another new tool called Stir is designed to help developers share money on videos they create together.
“We believe the future of developer monetization lies in collaboration,” said Joseph Albanese, CEO and founder of Stir. “We let the developers take every place they make money, whether it’s a YouTube video or a Shopify store, and split the revenue with other developers.”
The crypto world has also proven enticing to developers looking to monetize interactions.
With Rally.io, a crypto platform, developers can launch their own digital currency to build independent economies with their fans. Fans can buy the creator’s currency and use it to unlock exclusive or unpublished content.
Clubhouse star Bomani X is now offering its own currency for $ BOO Coin, and Twitch inventor FanHOTS has introduced $ FAN Coin. Fans who hold the coin can use it to choose which character to play in online games.
And then there is the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital works of art, and media that live online. Although anyone can see an NFT on the Internet – buyers cannot physically “own” anything – it has become a rapidly growing market. The digital media pieces act as rare collectibles. YouTube star Logan Paul recently sold $ 5 million worth of NFTs.
“There’s potential to make a huge amount of money,” said Joshua Wanders, 30, a YouTube developer with more than 8.7 million subscribers. “It’s almost 100 percent profit driven by mania.”
Last week, Mr. Wanders and four other creators posted photos of their feet as NFTs. (What makes these images NFTs is the blockchain technology, which can be used as an immovable data set to mark the authenticity of the property.)
The makers uploaded their foot photos to an auction site and broadcast the bid live. The live stream was also monetized.
Zack Honarvar, 27, founder of talent management company One Day Entertainment, said he and Airrack, a creator he manages, played around using NFTs to give fans “approvals” for a YouTube video .
“For example, before the video goes out, we can break it down into 10 clips and then stamp those 10 clips as NFTs,” said Honarvar. “If someone buys this NFT, that person is entitled to a tenth of the ad revenue from the video. Buying in advance will make you a shareholder in this video. “
The goal would be to use NFTs to create a fully decentralized, fan-run and fan-run YouTube channel. “A YouTube channel where fans can dictate anything,” said Honarvar.
The only hurdle is the Securities and Exchange Commission that doesn’t allow NFT sellers to guarantee revenue as part of ownership.
However, for Mr. Wanders and other developers, these programs are safer than building businesses solely on social platforms, which can prove fickle. Their algorithms and community standards can change, as can their monetization structures – not to mention they could go out of business. “With the Internet and YouTube, there is always a concern of being demonized and breaking your channel,” he said. “So people are always looking for alternative ways to make money.” You never know where the platforms will take you at the end of the day. “
Pay to Play, but for Creator Drama
As the creators find new ways to monetize their following, Elijah Daniel, a 26-year-old creator based in Los Angeles, helps followers put a price on the creators. On Friday he started the Clout Market, which is a bit like trading cards, but from influencers.
The Clout Market features 10 million NFTs representing top creators including Trisha Paytas, James Charles, Bryce Hall, David Dobrik, and Jeffree Star. The NFTs look like Pokemon cards with pixelated images of each creator. The cards have parody names for legal purposes, Mr. Daniel said, so Tana Mongeau’s card is “Tana Mongoose”.
The price for these items is determined by the online relevance of the creator. Mr. Daniel worked with a developer to create a dynamic pricing structure that adjusts prices in real time. (It refers to data from social and analytics platforms.) When a creator loses or gains followers or trends on Twitter, the price of the NFT that Mr. Daniel created for them rises or falls.
Mr Daniel said the goal of selling these NFTs is to give fans the opportunity to monetize the drama surrounding their favorite influencers. “Many fans will buy these in support,” he said. “Haters will buy them to bet on the downfall of the people.”
“Influencers and social media stars make so much money off of drama and scandals,” he said, “and most of them are fakes. This is a way for the fans who go along with so much to invest in these scandals and too To earn money. “
He added, “If we have to go through another scandal, we’re all better paid for it.”
“This is the first wave of developers using new technology to connect with an already engaged fan base,” said Jeremiah Owyang, a consultant with Rally.io. “But instead of being one-sided and exclusively transactional,” he said, “the fans are as much a part of the creation experience as the creator.”