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 - https://www.tsu.social?invite=4325051.
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.
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, Minds.com and gab.com in order to learn useful marketing and recruiting strategies that can also be applied here.