Tag Archives: Social networking

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 🙂

Are you being ‘used’ for your connections on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is an amazing tool and the site that professionals rely on to keep in touch with their connections and maintain that connection throughout your career. It is often frustrating to try and get in touch with someone only to find that they have moved companies and you no longer have their updated details or new phone number.


With LinkedIn you can maintain the connection easily, staying in touch as each of you move roles and progress across companies, email address and phone number.

Used correctly, LinkedIn is very powerful.

Some connections use the LinkedIn Openlink Network, available to premium subscribers.

This enables connections to connect with and send messages to anyone in their network.

Others might append LION to their display name to indicate that they are a LinkedIn Open Networker and open to connecting.

But LinkedIn is also ruthlessly used by people who use you to mine your connections and get connected to your own business contacts, partners and customers. This can put your own LinkedIn connections at risk – especially if you maintain good relationships with your clients and partners on LinkedIn.

You could lose competitive advantage, and run the risk of losing business, simply by adding a new contact to your LinkedIn network.

You might receive a message to connect in LinkedIn like this. The messages might be from someone you didn’t know and they might say:

“Hi Eileen, We’re both connected to [CONNECTION NAME] and she mentioned that you would be a great person to connect with. I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

If you look at their profile you might find that they work in a similar role or geographical area to you. Their website says that they work with different customers, but they blog about moving into working with the sort of clients that you actually have.

By connecting with the new connection, you might find that they are connecting with all of your hard-won LinkedIn contacts with the aim of doing business with them.

LinkedIn makes it easy to to this by publishing your connections to your contacts by default.  You can turn this setting off in your profile so that no one can see your other connections unless you have mutual connections.

The setting is in the Profile tab of your settings and is accessed by clicking the “Select who can see your connections” link. Change the drop down list box to “Only you”. if you want to protect your connections from being spammed by people they do not know.


If you want to protect your LinkedIn connections and customers, maintain the business relationships you have the consider changing the privacy of your connections and make sure that your customers stay loyal to you – no matter what social network they use…

Image Credit: pasukaru76

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

Using LinkedIn company pages to extend your reach.

More and more of my client work involves LinkedIn nowadays. Lots of LinkedIn users use LinkedIn to advance their career. Now companies are really starting to see the value of LinkedIn for three reasons.

Customer connections and customer relationship management

Finding new clients and partners

Elevating their own personal brand so that they stand out in the crowded jobs market.

imageBut companies are using LinkedIn too to make better connections with their customers. Maersk Line and LinkedIn have been talking about the benefits that Maersk Line gets from LinkedIn.

Maersk uses its LinkedIn company page to really connect with its customers.

The page has over 32,000 followers and updates its page daily.

Most of its updates have comments – all have likes by the community. Its products and services page has recommendations for almost every service Maersk offers. 

As it says on its Maersk social blog – every recommendation of its products and services extends its reach of the network. 

I suspect its structured groups will increase its reach and engagement further.

There are almost 3 million company pages on LinkedIn – some large organisations such as IBM, Deloitte and Shell. Small organisations have a great presence too. Almost 200,000 company pages have been created for UK organisations.

The UK small businesses seem to have embraced LinkedIn pages too. Over 82,000 UK based businesses with less than 10 people have company pages. That is 45.8 per cent of the total number of pages.

And 40 of these small businesses with 1-10 staff have over 1000 followers of their page.


Contrast this with US based businesses. There are over 742,000 businesses in the US that have LinkedIn pages. 318,550 are from businesses with less than 10 employees. That’s 42.9 per cent compared with 45.8 per cent of firms in the UK.

Three companies in the US with only 1-10 employees have over 5000 followers. One is a valid small business (not a government organisation) too:


And the most followed company on LinkedIn? Worley Parsons. Headquartered in Australia it has over 53.5 million followers. The company keeps its users engaged by its mix of social updates, career information and news.


LinkedIn has several ways to increase your reach, stay top of mind in across industry. Adding valid credible comments to companies you follow means that other followers will get the chance to see your profile, connect with you and start up a conversation with you.  Just like groups, company pages give you exposure well outside of your  first degree connections.

It is worth looking at engaging with companies if you want to really extend your reach and connect across the industry.  all you have to do is click ‘Follow’ Smile

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

A Social Network for women only? We certainly wouldn’t talk about men..

I wonder whether Luluvise will be successful. Luluvise is a social network for women only. 

Women only.  it’s an odd concept…

I agree that women sometimes want to tell things to other women only.  Perhaps sharing privately on Facebook has got too challenging since the new Timeline feature rolled out. Perhaps women want to network with other women and share things that they perhaps wouldn’t want to share on a more public (mixed sex) forum.


The first thing that I saw on joining the site, was men.  Luluvise uses Facebook authentication to harvest the list of men in my Facebook friends list.  It then gives me an opportunity to rate them.


Oh dear.  Fail Luluvise. Not everyone on my Facebook friends list is a potential lover.  Some of these are colleagues, customers, and just friends of mine.

I’m not necessarily a fan of theirs, nor an ‘Ex’  They’re just friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

I’d like to have different types of conversations with my girlfriends than just weighing up the datability quotient of my Facebook male friends.  I’d like to talk about careers, share stories to inspire other women, or read their stories of success.

It’s not enough that I can chat to my girlfriends.  I can create a list in Facebook and do that.  I want more than you can offer

As Belinda says, Women are calling for more varied methods of participating with friends than current networks provide.

Sorry, Luluvise, until you get more established and get some credible content on the site that appeals to the woman with a brain, a career and a social life, I won’t be back.

…Unless I want to bitch about my male colleagues in a female only environment.

But I can do that in a wine bar with my friends….

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Facebook friends: Ready to migrate to Google + Yet?

When I started using Google + I was underwhelmed at the interaction I was having – because none of my friends were in there.  All my friends and close colleagues – the people I wanted to interact with were on Facebook.  But I’ve worked out a way to export my friends to Google +

Its a simple but 2 step process.

First, you need to create a Yahoo! email account account.   Log in to Yahoo mail and Click on Contact | Import Contacts


Choose the Facebook icon and move your contents into Yahoo!

Then Switch to Google +

Click on the Circles tab, click Find people and connect your Yahoo! account to Google +  (I needed to minimise the browser window as the authorisation pop up was behind my main screen…)


Your Facebook friends now appear in your list with the Yahoo icon ready to be placed into circles.

now I can start to properly connect over on Google + too..

If you don’t have an invite – get one here


Eileen is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.