Looks like 2014 is the year of Alternatives to Facebook.
After Facebook’s suffocating ads and user data sorcery caused the birth of alternative social network Ello, another alternative, Tsu, is nailing its own 95 Theses to the door, saying you should own and make money off your brunch pictures and #ThrowbackThursday statuses. And the company has $7 million in the bank to help you do that.
Tsu has two goals. One, it wants you to create your own network and control it. You invite other users to follow you, building out the social network organically. You’re responsible for getting other users onboard by using your personal shortcode to invite them onto the platform and to follow you.
Two, it wants to share revenues with its users. Tsu aggregates “advertising, sponsorship, and partnership dollars, all from third parties,” it says on its FAQ webpage, and distributes those dollars among users after taking a 10 percent cut. It also uses the “rule of infinite thirds” to spread out the revenue, meaning that if Bob earns money from a video he posted and he joined Tsu through Suzy, she earns one-third of the revenue after Tsu has taken a cut. And if Suzy joined because of John, he gets a third of a third of that revenue, and so on. It can sound pretty confusing, but you can read more here.
Interestingly, Tsu is playing nice with other content platforms like YouTube, probably because it doesn’t host video itself. For example, you can upload videos on your YouTube account, monetize through YouTube’s own means, and then monetize that same video some more by sharing it on Tsu. “[W]ith tsū you get credit for just showing your audience the preview of your video,” the FAQ page reads.
Tsu also has a melange of traditional social network features as well as payments platform features. For example, users can send private messages to other users. They can also send money to other users or merchants, although Tsu charges a 3 percent transaction fee. You can also donate money to charities, presumably through this service.
To be honest, Tsu mainly reads like a content monetization platform, not so much like a network. Since you can share your Tsu-based content on other social media accounts, or just advertise on them that you’ve added new goodies to your Tsu profile, folks will likely look for ways to leverage their existing social media presence to get viewership on Tsu. As we saw with Ello, it’s quite difficult to abandon a well-established personal network and go build one from scratch elsewhere.
The followers and friends aren’t there, the features aren’t there, there’s not much to do.
But perhaps Tsu’s greatest asset is the algorithms it uses to allocate revenue shares. That’s technology media companies would surely be interested in.
Tsu was founded in 2013 by Sebastian Sobczak, Drew Ginsburg, Thibault Boullenger, and Jonathan Lewin. The company raised its funding from Sancus Capital Privé and other unnamed investors.