Category Archives: Social Media

Why social network Tsu had to close its doors Eileen Brown Amastra

Why social network Tsu had to close its doors

Once in a while, something comes along that disrupts the way we work.  Tsu, the social network that launched to help charities and pay its users, closed its doors in August 2016. And who were to blame? The very users that flocked to Tsu in their thousands contributed to its demise.

Tsu launched in October 2014 with little fanfare. Seeded to the tune of $7 million, it promised to share its ad revenue with its content creators.

It kept 10 percent of its revenue and distributed the other 90 percent. That went to the content creators and people that shared its posts on and off the network. It used the ‘rule of thirds’ to distribute its revenue across its content creator network.

Tsu quickly grew, signing one million users in just five weeks after its launch (Facebook took 10 months to reach one million users).

New users had to sign up using another user’s short code. This added the new user to the existing user’s ‘family’, showing who was influential across the platform.

Registered charities on Tsu could benefit from generous benefactors. Users could use peer payments to transfer their earnings to a registered charity – validated by the platform.

It opened up its platform so that posts could be seen by people who did not have an account on the platform. The aim was to increase royalty payments for creators of viral content.

The platform also introduced groups for community engagement. it wanted to compete with the 850 million users in Facebook who used groups and communities.

Soon stories started to circulate about people ‘cashing out’ their first cheque. Tsu paid users once their earnings passed $100. Within two months the platform had reached two million users. But with these numbers, cracks started to appear.

Money…the motivator

Some users, desperate to earn more revenue, tried to ‘game’ the system. A few users banded together to share all posts of their buddies, and like every new post. The team at Tsu, headed by Sebastian Sobczak, could see this happening. After all, they had all the data, IP addresses, and use patterns to monitor the users who were trying to cheat the system. Offenders were banned from the platform, or given a warning.

Engaging in “prohibited activity” would result in the user not getting paid. This could be by generating spam,  or generating invalid impressions, clicks on ads manually or by using an automated program.

Soliciting for clicks or impressions generated by payment of money, false representation, or requesting users to click on ads were banned. Ads served to end users whose browsers had JavaScript disabled also would result in non-payment.

In September 2015 Facebook blocked Tsu from posting items to its platform stating that the platform was posting spammy content. Two months later, citing that ‘issues with concurrent sharing’ had been resolved, Facebook restored 10 million posts from Tsu and permitted direct posts again.

In March 2016 Tsu upgraded its platform, focusing on communities, channels and topics. its aim was to increase payments to its users. Some users complained that it was harder to engage with their friends and smaller networks as the platform focused on the larger topic areas.

Tsu goes dark

In August 2016, a notice appeared on the Tsu web site:

“You are probably wondering about the new layout but in fact we have taken tsu dark.

Although we have still have numerous active communities on the site, our mission of changing the social landscape for the benefit of the content creator has passed. I started this concept eight years ago and when we launched in late 2014 we brought the conversation of content ownership and monetization to the content rights holders into the mainstream. All told there were approximately 5.2 million of us who have used our platform. Through you, tsu’s emergence into the mainstream spurred discussions on virtually every major media outlet touching on the tsu concept, royalties of music streaming services and to the business models of established platforms. I wish we could have done more for the content creators and the wonderful charities that lent their names to our platform. In all, we built water wells, gifted wishes and gave back en masse.

Although I would have hoped we could have done more, I am proud of our team and the wonderful, diverse community of friends we have cultivated along the way. I am proud to have been a part of something that millions of people helped create from North America to the Asian subcontinent.”

The investors had puled the plug on more cash injections and the platform had to close. Users with over $100 in their accounts were paid in full. Many with less than this amount did not receive any cash.

Tsu’s decline and fall

According to the current message on the Tsu.co website the platform was successful. Over 2 million mobile downloads across 1,085 cities. 5.2 million Tsu accounts, 533 million page views, over 681,000 IOS downloads and 1.3 million Android downloads.

But some of the users never really ‘got’ the platform. Images were taken without respect for copyright, directly from Google images and other image sites. Some users routinely ‘liked’ every post, pasting the same comments across each post, hoping for a cash pay-out.

Some users ran heavy recruitment initiatives, spamming their friends in an attempt to bring them to the platform and make cash for themselves as ‘parents’ of the new members. But when the new contributors discovered that cash did not immediately appear in their accounts, went elsewhere

The sheer number of members hoping to make money, then turning away when this did not happen, coupled with lack of ad revenue, contributed to its decline.

A way forward?

I am sad about Tsu’s closure. When I joined, I wanted to see how the platform worked. My first $100 was donated to the Charity Water charity, and I used other revenue to buy goods from small businesses across Tsu. I liked the peer to peer payments and the ability to give cash to good causes and never considered the money as ‘my money’.

Perhaps that is the answer. A platform that operates in the same way as Facebook, generating community and social connection, but with a difference. Any cash generated could go to benefit registered good causes.

Committed users might be less inclined to try to beat the system, and earn cash for themselves. Instead, the platform could work together for the common good.

Too good to be true?  With the raft of other platforms promising to pay users for their contributions, Tsu was certainly onto something. It is a shame that human nature meant that some users wanted it all for themselves.

Tsu groups: Why your beta tsuGroup is not getting authorised

Lots of people who engage on Tsu have been asking why their particular group has not been approved for the beta testing phase of tsugroups.

Eileen Brown social Media consultancy Amastra Tsu groups

 I talked to the Tsu team about the new Groups feature and how tsuGroups groups will work. I have two Tsu groups in the beta test: Tech and Social Media Trends. It will be interesting seeing how these groups evolve.

To join Tsu – the social media network that pays users to post, you need to use another user’s link to join – such as https://www.tsu.co/eileenb. From there you will become part of the user’s family tree and be able to build your own network from there.

Here are the definitive answers to the questions I got to #askSebastian for my article on tsu.

  • If the group owner has a ‘low quality’ page with few posts or interaction the group will not get approved for the beta. For the time of the beta tsu wants groups that have owners that are really active on tsu already.
  • Every group in the beta MUST have an admin name in the application. Furthermore, the admin MUST have accepted the invitation to be an admin of the group. Groups without admin names WILL NOT be considered for the beta.
  • Groups will NOT be permitted if the group name contains the word tsu in the name (It might be mistaken for an ‘official’ account and might have incorrect information). The terms of service for #tsugroups says this really clearly.
  • Groups offering tips, rules, hints on how to use tsu will not be allowed at beta stage (they might also have incorrect information and might mislead readers). It MIGHT be ok to run groups like this AFTER the beta ends – I do not know this for certain.
  • Tsu has over 3000 groups in the queue — it is rolling out groups really slowly — a few per day — to watch the spam levels and how users react to the different views of groups (timelines sometimes, images other times).
  • Its a beta test — EXPECT change.
  • Remember – this is still a beta test. Tsu is working out how best to optimise the platform so that when groups are fully live, then everyone will have a great experience.
    If you have been wondering why your group has not been approved yet, check that the group has a nominated charity and that the admin has accepted your invitation to administer the group. Tsu doesn’t have the resources right now to chase everyone to provide this information. Hopefully the community on Tsu can let everyone know 🙂

Ad hoc social business campaigns often fail to engage

Is your organisation really satisfied with its social media campaigns – or do you find that the campaigns fall short of your expectations?

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If you are unhappy with the way that things are panning out you are not alone according to a report from Ragan communications.

Although many companies have engaged in social media activities, over 60 percent of companies report having no structured programs in place. Some organisations have no holistic approach to their efforts.

Only 27 percent of organisations have a dedicated social media team. 5 percent have both internal and outsourced teams. Only three percent have all of their social media activities outsourced to others.

A whopping 65 percent of organisations assign workers social media tasks on top of their current responsibilities.

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Most organisations have under three people managing their social media activities (82 percent) and a quarter of companies use interns to help with aspects of social media – especially Facebook and Twitter.

Social media monitoring gets strong measurements for engagement and interaction – but only 31 percent of companies measure sales. Most companies monitor mentions about the organisation but only 57 percent measure what is being said by their competitors.

Companies look for a good return on their efforts, relying on feedback and perception rather than sales. A good return on marketing investment (ROMI) is hard to quantify. and with almost one in five leaders indifferent or not supportive, it is hard to get budget for further activities.

So how do you succeed in your activities?

  • If the C-suite requires hard financial proof, focus on sales leads and hard financial returns. If you are asking for more marketing budget, you will need to justify this with real numbers. Engagement and likes will not cut it
  • Make sure all of your activities are trackable. Join social up with your CRM system and take conversations onto the medium best suited for them (phone / email etc.)
  • Collaborate with other teams in order to make sure that your message is consistent, and inline with your business activities. Make sure that teams work together well.
  • Make sure the implications of your social efforts drive the company in the correct direction. Compliance, legal and financial outcomes need to be taken into account when considering and planning your efforts.

And most importantly – once you have started your activities, watch them all the time. You never know what triggers a crisis – until one happens.

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

From Selfies to SMS–what UK iPhone users do with their phones

In the UK we tend to use our phones mainly for phone calls and SMS. It looks like we spend all of our time searching at social media activities on our phones.

I found an infographic from UK brand 3 showing what iPhone users across the UK  do with their devices. Interestingly  enough SMS texting just leads the way ahead of phone calls.

When we take photos, we take pictures of our friends and family. and men take selfies more often than women. Users in East Anglia take the most photos and iPhone users in Yorkshire love their weather app.

3 a look at where the UK’s iPhone community are using their devices most. This research revealed that 69 percent of Londoners use their iPhones while on the toilet and, unsurprisingly, this is the region most using their phones while commuting, at 82.3 percent.

The four other regions most using their devices on their journeys to and from work are the North East, at 73.6 percent of residents, Northern Ireland at 71.8 percent, the North West at 60.5 percent, and Scotland at 60.4 percent.

The infographic can be found on Three’s web siteiPhone Users

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Being happier on social media and make everyone around you feel good

Users take to social media to vent their spleen as soon as a brand stumbles online. There are thousands of examples of complaining users. Last month a blind passenger and his guide dog were removed from a US Airways flight – and the passengers complained across all media channels.

Users took to complain about the behaviour of the restaurant owners at Amys Baking Company’s social media meltdown after appearing on Remsays Kitchen Nightmares TV show.

We seem to complain about anything on social channels – hoping that the brand will listen to us. Angry tweets get retweeted more often. Sina Weibo analysed over 70million posts from 200,000 users and found that anger elicits faster responses from the largest number of people.

But wouldn’t it be be great if we had an opportunity to be nice from time to time? Good news spreads. Happy, funny items are more likely to get shared – especially if they are about ourselves, a study has found.

Social networking site Happier aims to change our attitude to the negative side of life. The site is filled with things to make you smile and make you feel a little bit better about your day.

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Happier is a Boston based company with “a mission to inspire millions of people to be happier in their everyday lives”. Based on research Happier focuses on making people happy. Circuits in our brains light up when we are happy and when we are happy, folks around us become happy too.

Nataly Kogan spent the first 13 years of her life in soviet Russia. The family escaped to Vienna before taking the train to Italy to spend months in a refugee centre. On getting to the US, she tried to “chase the big happy” but found that after 20 years of doing this she wasn’t happy at all. 

Her nirvana moment was realising she was “chasing the non-existent impossible state of happy” and was missing the “small happy moments” that made up her day. Collecting your own positive moments will make you happy.

Stop saying “I’ll be happy when” and start saying “I’m happy now because”.

Focusing on small positive moments have been scientifically proven to make you feel happier. It seems like a really small principle to capture these moments – but you can capture this “emotional bookshelf in your pocket” with an iPhone app that reminds you to collect your small moments every day.

Sometimes a moment can be as simple as enjoying a giggle with a friend – or as simple as “getting to go to the bathroom after needing to go all day” Smile

Smiling releases endorphins and you have the ability to impact others’ happiness. Making someone’s day will make them feel great – and make you feel happier too.

  • People who write down three positive things about their day report feeling happier, less, anxious and more optimistic. People who continued to do that for a period of three weeks reported feeling more optimistic and positive for up to six months afterwards.
  • People who think more positively are 50 percent less likely to have a heart attack, catch a cold or the flu.
  • Functional MRI shows that focusing on a few positive things every day can permanently alter the chemistry of the brain to become more positive.
  • Being happier is contagious: If you have a friend who is positive, you’re 25 percent more likely to be positive.
  • People who express thanks to others feel better about their lives, exercise more, and go to the doctor less.

So what does Happier recommend that we do to become – and stay happier?

If you feel that your Facebook feed is full of people complaining and moaning – then trying to be a little bit happier might be just the tonic you need. Write down some happy moments and share them with yourself – or  your friends. Paying it forward – and sharing your happiness will make everyone around us all feel better today…

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.