Facebook and most other social networks are built on the premise that just about everything should be shared — except the money those posts produce.
At least two services are trying to change that. Bubblews, a social-networking site that came out of out of an extended test phase last week, pays users for posts that attract traffic and advertisers. Another company, Bonzo Me, has been doing something similar since early July.
“I just feel like everyone on social networks has been taken advantage of for long enough,” said Michael Nusbaum, a Morristown, N.J., surgeon who created Bonzo Me. “Facebook has been making a ton of money, and the people providing the content aren't getting anything.”
Bonzo Me is paying its users up to 80 percent of its ad revenue for the most popular posts.
Bubblews' compensation formula is more complex. It's based on the number of times that each post is clicked on or provokes some other kind of networking activity. To start, the payments are expected to translate into just a penny per view, comment or like. Bubblews plans to pay its users in $50 increments, meaning it could take a while for most users to qualify for their first paycheck unless they post material that goes viral.
“No one should come to our site in anticipation of being able to quit their day job,” Bubblews CEO Arvind Dixit said. “But we are trying to be fair with our users. Social networks don't have to be places where you feel like you're being exploited.”
Technology analyst Rob Enderle believes Bubblews, or something like it, eventually will catch on.
“I don't think this free-content model is sustainable,” Enderle said. “You can't sustain the quality of the product if you aren't paying people for the content that they are creating. And you can't pay your bills if all you are getting are 'likes.'”