Can Social News Websites Pay for Content and Curation? The SteemIt Cryptocurrency Model
AbstractSteemIt is a Reddit-like social news site that pays members for posting and curating content. It uses micropayments backed by a tradeable currency, exploiting the Bitcoin cryptocurrency generation model to finance content provision in conjunction with advertising. If successful, this paradigm might change the way in which volunteer-based sites operate. This paper investigates 925,092 new members’ first posts for insights into what drives financial success in the site. Initial blog posts on average received $0.01, although the maximum accrued was $20,680.83. Longer, more sentiment-rich or more positive comments with personal information received the greatest financial reward in contrast to more informational or topical content. Thus, there is a clear financial value in starting with a friendly introduction rather than immediately attempting to provide useful content, despite the latter being the ultimate site goal. Follow-up posts also tended to be more successful when more personal, suggesting that interpersonal communication rather than quality content provision has driven the site so far. It remains to be seen whether the model of small typical rewards and the possibility that a post might generate substantially more are enough to incentivise long term participation or a greater focus on informational posts in the long term.
CitationThelwall, M. (2017). Can social news websites pay for content and curation? The SteemIt cryptocurrency model. Journal of Information Science, 44 (6), pp 736-751.
JournalJournal of Information Science
DescriptionThis is an accepted manuscript of an article published by SAGE Publishing in Journal of Information Science on 15/12/2017, available online: https://doi.org/10.1177/0165551517748290 The accepted version of the publication may differ from the final published version.
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