Monetization will be rooted in user engagement, says Tsu's re-launch CTO

Fans of social media site Tsu are eagerly awaiting its re-launch. But what will be different to the previous version of the platform?

Survey: Social media is a liability when job hunting (but we still post things we shouldn't) Are you worried that your social media footprint will jeopardize your career? If so, you are not alone.

After two years, dormant social media platform Tsu, which monetized user's social media posts, quietly announced that the popular platform Tsu, used by over four million users, is set to return. 

Currently, the platform is open for a pre-launch offer, where users can get a 50% pay-out rate when the platform goes live. Users need to answer two multiple-choice questions based on their interests and current platform preferences.

They then receive a customized invite (see here -- I hid my personalized link numbers), which enables them to earn 10% if the personalized link is used to pre-register when Tsu goes live.

I asked John Acunto, CEO of Tsu, about his plans for the platform:

Tsu business goals

ZD: What is the main reason to re-introduce Tsu after a two-year gap?

JA: While the largest social media players are favoring advertisers over consumers, Tsu believes in allowing everyone to earn from the advertising and partner revenue collected from the valuable content they create. While that idea may have been ahead of its time in 2016, we believe consumers are ready for it today.

ZD: What are the business targets of the new Tsu?

JA: By treating users fairly, providing equity in the platform, and bridging the gap between discovery and purchase, we're hoping to be one of the main social platforms consumers and content creators use on a daily basis.

ZD: What type of advertising does the platform expect to attract?

JA: We anticipate attracting global brands and local businesses.

Monetising the platform

ZD: Will Tsu use cryptocurrency for this release? If so, what type of crypto will it use?

JA: No.

ZD: How will users be monetized with new Tsu?  Will it be based on follower count, or will it follow the same principles as the previous platform?

JA: In today's landscape, every user is an influencer, regardless of whether they influence one person or 10 million people. While the percentage of the dividend will vary based on the engagement on a user's page, everyone will be eligible for it.

ZD: The old Tsu needed a username from a 'parent' to register, where the new account became the 'child.' If the child did well and earned revenue, the parent account earned a little revenue, too. Will the new Tsu use the same model? Will the pyramid style of earnings (the rule of thirds) still be in place or depend on individual performance?  

JA: These parts of the platform incentivized the wrong kind of behavior, and they have been removed. What remains is a sustainable platform that treats every user with fairness.

New and returning users

ZD: When is the new Tsu expected to release? Will it run a restricted beta for existing registrants?

JA: Tsu will be up and running in the next few months. It is currently in the process of pre-registering influencers ahead of launch.

ZD: Will users who used to post on the old platform -- and who register the same email addresses with the new Tsu -- be able to recover their old profiles, usernames, and followers? Will they have to build all of their followers again and validate access to their existing user accounts? 

JA: We are researching the feasibility of people reclaiming their previous profiles.

ZD: How will Tsu manage to allocate verification badges to users with a lot of followers on the Tsu platform or other social media sites like Facebook or Twitter?  

JA: We are researching the feasibility of implementing verification.

Tsu platform specifics 

ZD: How will the new Tsu work in terms of algorithm. Will it use the same algorithm where users have to encourage new users to join the platform, or will it be significantly different? 

JA: Rather than incentivizing the addition of new users, monetization on Tsu will now be rooted in user engagement.

ZD: Will other platforms be able to connect to Tsu using OAuth etc?

JA: We strive to make the authentication process as safe, secure and simple as possible.

ZD: Will the Tsu UI have a complete new refresh, or continue with the old logo and black/purple colorway?

JA: The new Tsu comes with a refreshed color palette and logo. You can get an idea of those changes by taking a look at http://www.tsu.social today.

ZD: How will the new Tsu deal with fake news and stolen images?

JA: We're considering as many issues as we can. We're sure we'll find new ways to improve once we launch, but we're optimistic about the team we've put together and the work they're doing to create a social media platform that can challenge the status quo while providing a healthy, safe platform for all. We are also learning a lot of invaluable information from our peers' mistakes, reactions, and fixes.

Will the new Tsu succeed?

Many users on Tsu joined the platform simply to make money. Images that did not belong to the user were gathered from internet images across the web and re-used in Tsu to get likes, shares, and earn revenue.

According to Tsu's previous CEO, Sebastian Sobczak, some users tried to 'game' the system by creating groups of users who would mutually like and share each other's posts to boost their earnings. 

Tsu had a lot of loyal followers who, when Tsu closed, created the Tsu veterans group on Facebook, and continue to interact there. Unfortunately, some of the issues over earnings that plagued Tsu still seem to persist.

Since the http://tsu.social site went live, users have been posting their personalized invite codes to the Facebook group to profit when recruiting their friends to join Tsu. Hopefully, the new Tsu platform will address this behavior.

Alternatively, perhaps paying to post will be the model that shapes our future social interactions, and be the way forward for a much fairer social network -- where everyone can benefit from our conversations with our friends and followers.

Previous and related coverage:

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