David Beroff (d4b) wrote,
David Beroff

Roles for AboutTh.is

Cat Lady asked me yesterday about who performs what basic roles with AboutTh.is. It's a good question. Let me lay out here what I have so far:

Members can record an audio opinion about any page on the Web. That opinion will then be published on top of that page. The general public can listen to any of these.

Most members will choose to not pay anything. The Basic (free) service will display a small advertisement on the opinion pop-over. An advertiser will pay for that ad space (typically with a pay-per-click model) in hopes of attracting the attention of the general public. Future ad space could also include audio snippets before and/or after the actual opinion audio, as well as web and email advertising targeting the site's members.

Some members will pay a monthly fee; I'm thinking US$6.95/mo. The Pro (paid) service will display a small lead-generation form (configured by the paying member) on the opinion pop-over. This form encourages the general public to voluntarily enter their name and email address if they like the member's opinion. That data gets sent to that member to help build and grow their own opt-in mailing list.

All opinions will offer sharing buttons, to allow the general public to voluntarily share the opinions with their own friends using email or other social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. This will help bring new people to listen to specific opinions.

All opinions will also encourage the general public to join AboutTh.is themselves, so that they can record their own audio opinions. A member who posted a particular opinion is credited with being responsible for having brought in those new members. This becomes the foundation of an affiliate program, where members will be able to earn a portion of the monthly cash stream paid by the members that they recruit, as well as possibly a portion of the advertising revenue.

A two-tier affiliate program means that members will also earn a (smaller) portion of the affiliate income earned by the members that they recruit, which encourages people to promote the affiliate program itself. e.g., Charlie pays $7/mo to be a Pro member. Charlie originally learned about AboutTh.is by listening to one of Betty's opinions, so Betty earns a portion of all of his monthly payments. Now, Betty originally found out about how she can make a few extra dollars this way when she read Adam's email newsletter, so Adam now earns a small portion of all of Betty's affiliate income.

The initial launch will be done with a crowdfunding site like Indiegogo. Early funders will be able to participate in each of the above roles at a significant discount. For example, one will be able to purchase the right to 10% of all opinion display advertising space that will be broadcast throughout the entire network for one full month, starting eleven months after the funds are raised. Obviously, no one will know what that traffic will be, or what it will be worth, but each of the features described above are intended to promote exponential ("viral") growth, and thus, it should be worth more than it is at the site's beginning.

One approach to promoting the crowdfunding will be a contest, using AboutTh.is itself, where the members who bring in the most traffic (people who play their opinion audios) will be given a total of 20% of all funds raised. Half of that goes to just one top grand prize winner. No purchase necessary; void where prohibited.

I also want to promote a Warrior Special Offer ("WSO") on the WarriorForum to sell three-month subscriptions to the Pro service, (valued at $20.85), for maybe $0.85 each, so as to give me an opportunity to explain each of the above features to these paid customers, and attract and encourage additional early funders.

I'll be looking to raise thousands, not millions (like I was trying with note.com in the late 90's), but this feels like it's going to be a lot more fun than dealing with vulture capitalists.
Tags: advertising, cat lady, crowdfunding, marketing, mtat

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