The Tsu brand may be rising from the ashes in early 2020

in social-media •  17 days ago  (edited)

Launched in 2014, Tsu was one of the first social media sites that shared revenue with content producers. It went out of business in 2016, but now comes news that private real estate firm, Terracap Group and an intellectual property firm, Hilco Streambank bought the Tsu brand and they're working to bring it back to life.

The fall and rise of Tsu

Pixabay license: source.

Before there was steemit, there was Tsu. I even mentioned it in a couple of posts shortly after I came to Steem, in Does facebook’s economic structure promote incivility? and Steemit's first competitive disruption?.

I joined Tsu shortly after they launched in 2014, although I never really used it much. In 2016, they suffered from a prolonged Facebook ban, and even though Facebook eventually relented, financial considerations still forced Tsu to shut down. The unique thing about the site, when they launched in 2014, was that they gave revenue to their contributors according to the number of views that a post or photograph received. This was an amazing concept at the time.

I am quite sure that a substantial number of people who signed up during Steem's Summer/2016 wave of new user signups came over from Tsu.

As noted above, however, Tsu shut down back in 2016. And that, I thought, was that.

Today, however, I read that a private real estate firm, Terracap Group and an intellectual property firm, Hilco Streambank bought the Tsu brand and they're working to bring it back to life. See Social media site Tsu set to return for more about that. Terracap CEO, Larry Kraus, is quoted as saying, "With a sustainable revenue model and enhanced technology, we are confident Tsu's value will increase exponentially as we bring it back to market. That was posted last September, but somehow I managed to miss it.

I only skimmed the article, but I didn't see any indication that the site plans to use blockchain technologies when they relaunch, so we'll have to see how they handle the logistics. I'll probably read more carefully later.

A couple of searches later, I also noticed that they have contracted with "Fitness Star", Sommer Ray to serve as a brand ambassador when the site returns to operation. The relaunch is currently planned for "early 2020".

The site is currently accepting pre-registrations, for when they return to service, and they have also enabled invitations. Here's an invitation from me, if you'd like to go preregister -

When I signed up, it said that I was "locking in" a rate of 50% of the advertising revenue that gets raised from my posts. Not sure if that's going to be declining as more people sign up, but the implication seems to be there.

Marketing lessons for Steem

As I see it, there are two marketing techniques here that the Steem blockchain could also make use of: (i) Brand ambassadors; and (ii) Referral bonuses.

Brand ambassadors: As I recall, Tsu also had some celebrity brand ambassadors last time around, although I'm forgetting who they were (Taylor Swift might have been one, maybe???? or maybe not???). I know appics has brought over some instagram influencers, but it may be that Steem also needs different kinds of brand ambassadors... prominent writers, video hosts or podcast personalities, perhaps.

At any rate, it occurs to me that this might be something that could be funded on the Steem blockchain through the use of the SPS.

Referral bonuses: My Tsu referral link says it offers me a 10% share of advertising revenue that's generated by anyone who uses it to sign up. Here on the Steem blockchain, this capability might represent more of a technical challenge, but it seems like it could be a good way to motivate word-of-mouth style recruiting from Steem's user community.

As an aside, it's worth noting that we could, presumably, share our Steem links on Tsu and earn advertising revenue there in addition to blockchain rewards from Steem.


Unless I'm the last one to figure it out, I believe that many of the former Tsu users who may still be here will be interested to learn that the brand is planning to return to operation.

Additionally, whether you're a former Tsu user or not, if you'd like to preregister, you can use my referral link -

And finally, even if we're not going to use the sites, it's worth noting that we Steemizens can still keep an eye on alternative platforms like Tsu, Twetch, and in order to learn useful marketing and recruiting strategies that can also be applied here.

Thank you for your time and attention.

As a general rule, I up-vote comments that demonstrate "proof of reading".

Steve Palmer is an IT professional with three decades of professional experience in data communications and information systems. He holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics, a master's degree in computer science, and a master's degree in information systems and technology management. He has been awarded 3 US patents.

Steve is also a co-founder of the Steem's Best Classical Music Facebook page, and the @classical-music steemit curation account.

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A referral bonus would be trivial to establish on Steem. Steempeak has already revealed exactly how to do it by taking 5% of the author rewards of all posts of their users.

Easy Peasy.


Thanks for the comment!

You're right about that. Any of the front-ends could add a beneficiary setting in posts by the referred account that directs rewards to the referring account. It would have to be a big enough percentage to encourage referrals, but small enough not to drive people away to post through other front-ends, though. And I guess they'd have to maintain a database of referrals (or else store the info in custom_json the block chain.)

In Tsu's mechanism, the rewards don't appear to cut into the content-creator's share. If I'm understanding correctly, it comes out of the site's share of advertising revenue. On the other hand, beneficiary rewards here come out of the author's share. Maybe not a "show stopper", but it is a slightly different dynamic.

I wonder how hard a referral program would be to do on the STEEM blockchain. I liked that Tsu offered a downline like in MLM. It was a smart business model. I was really sad when that platform closed. They created a great business model for content creators, and it also generated a great community. I met a lot of fun, like minded people on there. Still keep in touch with a few of them too, here and on Twitter.

They really should consider a blockchain solution for the new platform. Would be cool if they figured out a way to incorporate STEEM. It would almost put the monetary aspect of it on auto pilot.

Thanks for the reply!

They really should consider a blockchain solution for the new platform. Would be cool if they figured out a way to incorporate STEEM. It would almost put the monetary aspect of it on auto pilot.

I was thinking this, too. I imagine that they're too far along to change course at this point, but it really does seem like a natural fit.

I wonder how hard a referral program would be to do on the STEEM blockchain.

Me too. I guess you could do it at the front-end layer using a centralized database and advertising revenue without too much trouble, but I suppose it would be more difficult at the blockchain layer. At one point, said that they would be doing something like that with their invitations, but I'm not sure if they ever actually turned it on.

I joined Tsu in 2015, and the growth mindset I employ here is one that I figured out on Tsu, albeit a trifle too late. I'd give it another go, though. Signing up now. Shit, I shared video of a Steven Tyler concert on there just a month before they closed down. It's thanks to Tsu that I met @thecastle, too!

And to answer your question, yes, they did have quite a few celebrities. There was a list run by one of the larger bloggers, but I'm a wee bit tipsy and can't find it right now. My Google Fu is weak...

I do remember, specifically, that Lance Bass of N*Sync, Carmelo Anthony, and Skrillex were on Tsu. Those are the three that I remember.

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Thanks for the feedback! It'll be interesting to see what the new site looks like.

Just out of curiosity, I just spent a few minutes trying to find that list you mentioned. No luck for me, either.

It was, like, a WordPress blog or something like it. It had 20 celebrities on it, though!

I came to Steem from Tsu when it shut down. I'm not that interested in the new version as it just seems to be using the name and I prefer the openness of blockchain. Tsu was a neat I idea and I made a bit from it, but Steem has more potential if it can just take off.

Thanks for the reply! I don't think I ever made anything on Tsu 'cause I usually only signed in once a month or once a quarter. I loved the idea, though. It truly was ahead of its time.

I definitely agree that Steem has far more potential now, so it remains to be seen how much I'll make use of new-Tsu. Steem is not just a website. As an ecosystem, it could host a hundred or a thousand different Tsu-like applications.

That's a good point. I didn't think of Steem hosting a tsu-like app. I wonder if @partiko ever thought of that...

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