What will you do with all the re-tweets you received for your latest blog post? What will you do with all the Facebook likes your though-provoking article has garnered? Other than patting yourself on your back and walking tall to your next bathroom visit, you can’t do much with the re-tweets or the Likes. What if you can earn money from things like that?
Enter Grow!, a social rewarding site which works in the same way as Twitter, but with monetary benefits attached to it.
Grow! is a social rewarding site. User can read the content and reward the content’s author immediately. It’s the anti-paywall, wherein you, the user, decide how high the paywall should be. If you think content is worth 1 Grow point then that’s what you will assign. If you think it’s worth 10 Grow points then that’s what you will assign. If you think the content isn’t worth a dime, then you will go somewhere else. There is no ungrow – you can’t take the grow points away.
What will I do with all the Grow points?
Grow! is virtual money with real world benefits. It’s not real money yet but it has potential to be one. Right now Grow is limited to Amazon gift certificates in Japan. PayPal withdrawals could come later. Once Grow expands and ties up with other online currency and retail outlets, there could be more goods to exchange grow points for, including cash.
Isn’t this like the Paypal button?
Yes it is like the ubiquitous Paypal button we see on many blogs. Instead of directly deducting from your Paypal account and donating someone, you buy grow points using your Paypal account and donate the Grow points. Just like you see the number Tweets, Diggs or Like’s a particular story has got, you will see a Grow quotient too. This tells you what the story is worth and probably forces to give some Grow points. What this means is you have to spend money to give a particular story Grow points.
Are we ready for this?
I’m not too sure if we are ready for this. But it’s not a bad idea. In fact it’s a terrific idea. The success of Grow obviously depends on how and if big publishing houses like New York Times, HuffingtonPost and others adopt this system. New York Times for example, has a set of free articles every day, and everything else is behind the paywall. But if such publications open up their system to voluntary tipping or payments, maybe it can further increase readership while not losing revenue from the free offerings.
Grow is a Japanese startup which is looking to launch an English version, and expand across the web. 3,600,000 pages are already sporting a Grow button.
Grow thinks of itself as a social tipping platform. As a publisher I prefer it to be a social rewarding platform. Grow’s slogan is Grow your favorites. We already grow our favorites with Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon. What we don’t do is rewarding our favorites. That’s what Grow is about. Grow’s slogan should be Reward your favorites.
What if Twitter or Facebook think that this is good idea?
PS: I’m not ignorant to the fact that the traffic driven by social media sites contributes to relevance, and can push content higher on Google results, bringing in more visitors and more advertising money. This has been one of the more popular ways publishers earn money. But what if social networks warm up to the idea of tipping? If one “Like” is equivalent to a certain amount of real-world money, then this could be an incentive for users to post their content on social networks and media.
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