Eyes have value (0)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 by , under , ,

"We're sorry, this content can only be viewed by residents of the United States".

Being in Canada, this is the phrase I got when I first tried to view Hulu.com content.

It's there because understandably, media moguls have signed agreements with Hulu to control distribution. They've known since the dawn of mass communications that eyes, or "views", have value.

Now a lot of web 2.0 startups have great community-building ideas, but fail when it comes to monetize the value of these communities. However, a lot of people in these communities would readily pay for the content if it brought a certain level of "value" to their eyes.

How can the two meet? Is it possible to bring the notion of pay-per-view in web 2.0 content? Would you pay minute amounts of money for viewing Facebook profiles? Would you charge people 99 cents to view your corporate Tweets?

Can something belonging to the information category be monetized in this web 2.0 era? Or is entertainment the only thing which holds real value on the web currently?

UserVoice (see below post) seems to have found a model in selling "subscriptions" to their service right off the bat, because the product they're offering provides ROI to its benefactor.
However, people giving feedbacks inside the application, aren't paid to do so: they're doing it voluntarily. This being said, they do get something back in the long run because they get free active participation in making something they're using much better.

Would they pay to provide the feedback? No. Could they get paid to provide their ideas and insights? Yes. In UserVoice's current model they're not, but still it doesn't mean that their feedback doesn't have individual value. That value is a notion in itself which was certainly used by UserVoice creators in evaluating the average cost of a UserVoice package.

Now, isn't content found within a web application like LinkedIn of equal value? Doesn't it provide you with ROI because of the contacts you make and the businesses you develop? So why isn't LinkedIn taking advantage of this and selling this service?

Is "eye value" an applicable notion to community-based services? Are there ways that can be found to monetize or otherwise generate return from this eye value, without ruining the authenticity and efficiency of the community itself ?

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