Users Should be Paid to Provide Attention

Users Should be Paid to Provide Attention 3 min read

For those of you just catching up: the blockchain is revolutionizing the way that we market, transfer value and interact with one another. It’s a new technology frontier that many have still yet to be exposed to. This week I wanted to cover a “new” trend: Paying users to provide their attention.


Let’s first take a look at the way things are done now:

  1. Your company produces a strategy
  2. Using that strategy: content gets pushed out that you believe to be relevant
  3. People interact with it
  4. We analyze (and get excited over our low CTR), report, pivot


That’s all well and good — but no one cares anymore.


We’re all so inundated with content that our attention span is down to that of a goldfish[1]. Interaction is inherently selfishly motivated: users are able to express emotion (frustration, anger, pleasure) or they do so as a direct benefit (via social currency)..and why should it be any other way?



I was looking over stats for dynamic advertisements on LinkedIn (those little ads on the sidebar) and they tout a 0.08% average click-through rate (CTR). I was blown away. Ads back in 1994 had a 44% click-through rate[2]. Which means:


In 23 years our tolerance for interacting with ads has dropped 54,900%


Granted: this is an extreme case but it highlights my point — you need to provide real value in order to notice any effect. If an eye flicker in your direction is our barometer: the ad industry is already in the crapper.


Pay People to Interact

Welcome to the new age: where we have to pay people to interact with our content. Some of you might laugh, ignore or decry the concept here but I think it’s become a necessity for the environment we all operate in.


Think about it this way: by participation in the advertisement ecosystem, the user must provide attention. In return they either get a service or a product they care about (infrequently). But they also have to pay to view these advertisements: each ad and their tracking scripts requires bandwidth. The model is broken.


New technologies like Steemit and the Basic Attention Token (BAT) aim to completely change the way this is done.


The Blockchain Enters

With Steemit users and content creators are both given the opportunity to earn currency for their efforts. Content producers get paid based on interaction with their content. Higher interaction = higher payout from the STEEM network. Users get paid based on their interactions with the content: upvotes, comments, content curation, etc. The entire ecosystem is kept afloat by a network that pays all parties involved.


The Basic Attention Token (BAT), developed by the creator of Javascript, Brendan Eich, aims to change the entire model of how advertisements are displayed. Advertisers pay to have their ads placed, publishers are paid to place the ads and users opt-in and interact with (view, click, share) the content and are paid in BAT. Again: all parties benefit from the ecosystem.


Now..what if we combined those two concepts?


We’d have a fully functioning, decentralized social network that could reward all users, publishers and advertisers of the social network.


In the future: you will see a self-sustaining payment model for attention and interaction. The technology is already being developed and I, for one, am incredibly excited to see where this takes us.

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