Incentivizing users to generate content

YourMTB.com, a mountain biking enthusiast site recently launched by Enthusiast Group, a citizen media venture, is hoping to jump-start enthusiast contributions through incentives:Post your photo—we’ll give $5 to IMBA.

YourMTB.com, a mountain biking enthusiast site recently launched by Enthusiast Group, a citizen media venture, is hoping to jump-start enthusiast contributions through incentives:

Post your photo—we’ll give $5 to IMBA. Do something good for mountain biking. Share a picture of yourself. We're beginning to build a community of mountain bikers…What better way to start than to see who you are? For the first 50 people who post photos of themselves in our MTB People photo gallery, we'll donate $5 each to the International Mountain Biking Association.

The site also plans to encourage regular contributions through recognition rewards and monetization sharing strategies: "Prizes for the best, Tip jar, Licensing fees, Ancillary product sales."

The ability to garner user contributions is a key factor in Web 2.0 success, as I wrote in my Buzzwords 2.0 post:

YouTube's very low ratio of upload activity to viewing activity is similar to low contribution ratios across many Web 2.0 user generated content sites, such as tagging sites and local review sites. While the low cost and democratic appearance of user-generated content is appealing, the sustainability of user generated content models is dependent upon users generating content.

An academic analysis of user contribution incentives is available through Berkeley, “Differentiated Admission for Peer-To-Peer Systems: Incentivizing Peers to Contribute Their Resources”:

A peer-to-peer system will starve from resources if every user is a freeloader who only takes resources from the system but never contributes any. It is useful to develop a scheme that can incentivize users to contribute resources such as content…

What are good incentives for promoting user contributions? Join the conversation: “Talk Back” below to share your thoughts.

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