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Bubblews Will Give You a Penny for Your Thoughts

By Rachelle Dragani
Jul 29, 2014 1:06 PM PT

Bubblews, a social media platform that offers to pay users for their posts, last week moved out of its testing phase, which began in 2012. It emerged with a new look designed to attract users who might be dissatisfied with other social media offerings.

Bubblews is attempting to build a self-sustaining ecosystem in which users who create engaging posts are paid for their work. It prides itself on being different from Facebook and Twitter, both of which compensate only their relatively small groups of company employees.

Bubblews users can create, like and comment on "bubbles" -- that is, posts. Users are allowed to publish as many as 10 posts in 24 hours. They receive compensation through an advertisement revenue-share system, based on the interactions -- views, likes, coments -- their posts spark.

Users are prompted to enter their PayPal information when their earnings reach the US$50 mark. They can expect to receive payment within 30 days.

Steady engagement with the site -- posting at least three times per day, commenting and liking other posts, and connecting with people who express similar interests -- is the best way to earn the most compensation, according to Bubblews.

New Frontier

The opportunity to guide U.S. social media users to a new, more innovative platform is ripe, Bubblews said, citing a recent Harris Poll: Sixty-two percent of Americans were willing to try a new social media site, and 26 percent of those would try one that paid them to post content.

While 76 percent of Americans use social media, often to announce or discuss big events like the birth of a child, there is general dissatisfaction among U.S. social media users with some of the current platforms, the Harris Poll found. Respondents complained about too much advertising and irrelevant content.

It's true that there is a general malaise about the current offerings in the social media landscape, said Rodney Benson, associate professor of media, culture and communication at New York University.

"At first blush, this seems like the solution to the criticisms of other social media like Facebook that it's a form of digital feudalism, where the public provides the content for free and then the company reaps all the monetary rewards," he told TechNewsWorld.

"So at least with Bubblews, users receive some compensation for producing content, and that would seem fair and some kind of step forward," Benson said.

Cutting Through the Ugly

Bubblews has its work cut out for it to become a more desirable social media hotspot, though, said William J. Ward, a social media professor at Syracuse University.

"The quality of content is going to be a huge issue here," he told TechNewsWorld.

In addition to Twitter and Facebook, there are "other great platforms -- like LinkedIn, which has added blogging, and Medium -- that are focusing on putting quality content out there," Ward pointed out.

"Now, with getting some compensation out of this, they're going to have to control that this doesn't turn into a spam site where people are going to put a bunch of link bait," he said.

Still, the company has an interesting idea going, said Ward. If -- and it's a big if -- Bubblews is able to monitor the quality of the content and create a platform that lets users earn a few extra dollars by putting good information forward, then it could lead to more innovation within the current social media world.

"Let's say they can address the quality issue and get some traction. I don't see a reason why Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter couldn't add some kind of paid element, especially to its highest-quality users or the ones drawing a lot of engaged users to the site," he suggested. "Someone like Reddit could also certainly afford to do something like this. If they've got control of the content, it would be pretty easy to disrupt the space."

Rachelle Dragani is a freelance reporter based in Brooklyn, NY. She enjoys staying on top of e-commerce deals, reporting on what new gadget is coming your way, and keeping tabs on anyone trying to hack into your info. Feel free to e-mail her at rachelle.dragani@newsroom.ectnews.com. You can also connect with her on Google+.

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