I’ve been thinking hard about the concept of sponsored content — you can find some of it on TechCrunch if you look hard enough, and it appears almost everywhere else. It’s an important consideration, because as an online journalist I’ve heard everything from “How much did Apple pay you to post this?” to “How much can I pay you to post something to TechCrunch?”
And I’m sick of it.
Journalists afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Marketers comfort the comfortable. The only person who wins in that struggle is the guy with the biggest wallet to buy as much coverage as possible. Crypto, for all its faults, promises to change that.
Now I’d like to introduce something else I built (and I never do this on TC so I think it’s pretty important and interesting). It’s called HypeHop and it’s an experiment in sponsored video. Most sponsored video appears in front of your YouTube selections like a cold sore — you know it’s there, it’s unwanted and you know it will take a while for it to go away. For example, this deeply applicable ad appeared as my son was watching Nerf videos, for example, proving that algorithms aren’t always the smartest.
In the current system marketers pay media platforms for their audience. The marketer gets eyeballs, the media platform gets money and the user gets bupkus. I wanted to try to change that.
With a few friends I made something called HypeHop. It basically pays you for watching videos. At this point it’s a proof-of-concept that accepts uploaded videos, a small payment for hosting, and then watches the viewer to ensure they are watching the video. “Watching the viewer?,” you ask? Sure. We’re being surveilled every day. Isn’t it time we were paid for it?
Viewers currently get about 40 cents in BTC per view. I created a demo video with my son here to show off how it worked and preseeded some videos with BTC to test. Thus far it’s been an interesting experiment.
I’d love to talk to like-minded folks about expanding this technology. I could, for example, see this as a tool to make sponsored posts more interesting to readers — who doesn’t want a few pennies for reading marketing dross — and a way to monetize many marketing tools for readers, producers and marketers. Ultimately this is a win-win-win in a win-win-lose world and it’s vitally important we look at it as a way forward in our fight against fake news and faker marketing.