I wasn't going to blog about this, but since a conversation about something similar arose, let's do this. The idea that people should be paid for their content isn't new, yet you never saw a real application of that idea in a business model that didn't sink right away. The exeception until a few time ago, was for those few bloggers that wrote really good and in-depht reviews or visions around some theme, choosing a nieche and being the best on that. Then, they would close their articles for subscribed only people, who would pay to read it. Since that business model only works in few cases, a lot more blogs started to add publicity adds on their blogs (or sound clips like podcasts, or videologs...) so they would win not by their content itself but because havving good content would get them more visitors, which gives'em more ad views and hopefully ad clicks and thus money. But what about being paid for their content itself? Seeing the boom of YouTube users (video content), So, sites like Lulu.TV (and more like it, this is just the first one I've heard of) started to paying publishers for their videos: a service simmilar to YouTube except that this kind of services pay you for each view your published video has, unlike YouTube, Yahoo! Video and others like them. But yesterday I've finaly heard about the one who has the right concept: eefoof is a service that let's you publish contents, and if the content is yourse you'll get paid for each view. The nice thing about it is that they want to support any kind of content, and started by video, audio, images and flash stuff. Support for others is expected. Of course that this isn't quite perfect, as a matter of fact it is still in a useless state for my personal needs. There are two problems here: one is in the application itself and other in the business model.
eefoof, as an Web 2.0 application, has the same chalange as every other else: one of the most important things for a web 2.0 application is to have userbase, and for that you can't just be the best application, as a matter of fact that is only needed to try to get more people... since having the biggest userbase is the really important fact to have a successfull profitable Web 2.0 app. The easiest way to achieve that is to be the first, or at least the first widely-spoken one on the field. eefoof tryied to do both, but, in my oppinion, they should had risk more and not only wait to get a more-beta less-alpha application, but mainly not to make the apliccation in such a raw-state to be widely reviewed (by being digg'ed and /.'ed). To understand what I mean about eefoof not being even a beta yet, read, for instance, this words:
The founders also have an uphill battle with the name they have selected and the current state of the web site in terms of usability and functionality. Based on the level of development of the customer facing site, one has to wonder if the service will have the technical infrastructure in place to handle submissions and content streaming on a large scale. There is a lot of work to be done to make this a viable service.
The other problem is on the business model itself. If sites like Yahoo! Video and Google Video are having issues maintaining themselves clean of copyright problems, how do eefoof expect to do that? They pay me if I say I am the copyright owner of some content (or the owner of the content, even if it isn't copyrighted), but how will they check it? Apparently they weren't thinking of doing anything about it, but just one day after the launch they had to change their minds. In response to a user they said:
we've recently made a new change. Now users can see if the person who uploaded the movie claims to be the author or not. If they don't claim to be the author (and hence get no revenue), then no harm there. If they do claim to the author, but are not, please report it as stolen.
Well, this is all nice and fine, but this measure won't suffix. I'm really wondering if eefoof will achieve their really difficult task of winning the chalenge they sent to themselves, and this time it is important that they do it before anyone else appears with a final sollution for it.