The Value Of A Decentralized Content Platform

Decent-green

Keep an eye on Decent.ch for what a decentralized content could look like.

What’s it like writing for a third party platform? As somebody who used to write for the now-defunct site called Squidoo, I can tell you that putting up with their rules could sometimes be a hassle. If you so much as mentioned e-cigarettes, even in the context of something that had nothing to do with the tobacco industry, your page wouldn’t be published. If your intro was too short or you didn’t have at least one picture, it wouldn’t be published. When Squidoo still existed, I would recommend it as a way to develop good practices for creating online content before moving your best work to your own blog. However, dealing with every picky little rule made it more trouble than it was worth toward the end.

I could see why. No owner of a platform where other people can publish content is going to want the inevitable runaway spam and trolling that happens with an unmoderated forum. But it was a trifle annoying when somebody would ask me for a Squidoo page about which is less unhealthy for you, e-cigarettes or regular cigarettes.

Having human moderators on the job is a decent compromise between having a bot programmed to automatically flag certain words and having no moderation of the platform at all. There are ways to write about products like e-cigarettes and Ray-Ban sunglasses without looking like a spammer. There are also ways to promote your website on a forum like Bitcointalk without looking like a spammer. Forum signature campaigns are pretty popular with the members. But what if you could have a blogging platform that censors nobody?

My knee-jerk reaction was that decentralized and uncensored platforms like Decent might be asking for it. However, Decent promises a mechanism that maybe doesn’t make publishing Spam impossible, but makes it more expensive than it’s usually worth to the spammer. It’s still under development, so I can’t tell you yet what a decentralized content platform that can’t be censored even by the creators would look like. But if it can handle the Spam without blocking perfectly legitimate content that just happens to contain certain keywords, that would be a good thing. Here’s what I think the pros and cons could be.

The Pros:

  • Publish what you want on a third party platform. Sometimes I hear people whine about censorship when a forum moderator shuts down their bad behavior. Tough titty; it’s their platform and their rules and if you don’t like it, get your own blog. Decent, however, won’t outright censor you. You just have to decide what publishing your affiliate links on their platform is worth to you.
  • Can’t be shut down easily. Applications that make use of the Blockchain are usually a moving target as far as authorities who are used to shutting down centralized applications with a single “point of failure” are concerned. That’s why I’ve recommended Bitcoin for cases where Paypal is not an option and why I think it could be a good thing for people who want to publish freely without fear that their content will be detected by the authorities. As far as the Blockchain is concerned, if it can connect to a valid node, it can send “transactions” that amount to bits of data.
  • Monetize your content. Decent will work on the premise that you should be judged purely on the quality of your work. That means never putting up with the frustration of being ignored simply because you don’t have the up-front cash to publicize what you’ve done. Basically, you can earn profits simply by producing quality work that can get the attention of your intended audience on its own.

The Cons:

  • Not very well-known. Sites like HubPages are pretty well-known, at least among online writers looking to build a portfolio without a lot of up-front cost. Decent just isn’t yet, and that means a smaller potential audience.
  • Risks being associated with people who don’t have very good language skills. As a content writer, this is one thing I’m sensitive to. You may have seen those articles from people who don’t seem to speak very good English. Frankly, they don’t and I’m not entirely sure what the people who thought they could get quality articles for less than $6 per 500 words were thinking. I hope Decent does itself a favor and “encourages” people to at least post their work in their own native language whenever possible.
  • Where does it keep its brain? I hope they make use of the decentralized cloud storage service called Storj if nothing else. Even when it’s decentralized, it’s going to get nowhere if it can’t access enough computer storage to meet the demand from authors.

Like most Blockchain applications that aren’t cryptocurrencies, Decent looks like it could be the “Version 1.0” of what it wants to do – in this case, provide a decentralized platform for people who want to monetize their content. It’s looking for developers and ambassadors. It won’t have the overzealous bots that Squidoo used to have and, instead of censoring spammers, it’ll reward people who can produce actual quality content. That means it’ll be worth a try when the development team is ready to release it.