Do you often complain about advertising on the Internet? No worries; everybody does. Those auto-playing video ads are super annoying when all you wanted to do was watch an interesting news piece on the CNN website. Of course, you can get rid of the ads by either installing a good ad blocker or paying for some websites’ premium memberships like Youtube Red. But why should you pay for the fact that advertising is the basic business model of the Internet?
Some entrepreneurs get it, and Ryan X. Charles is one of them. He founded Yours.org on the principle that the advertising model isn’t just getting on the nerves of anyone who has ever spent a significant amount on the Internet. It’s also dragging down the overall quality of the content you see on the Internet. That’s how you get those clickable slideshows that are prevalent on some sites and that’s also how you get Youtube stars like PewDeePie. So Yours.org uses the paywall model to reward good content and let bad content sink to the bottom.
Yours.org didn’t invent the paywall model. You can thank some news sites and most academic journals for that (and, yes, many academics will growl about having to pay for the academic papers they want to see). What gives Yours.org its competitive edge is that it’s the first paywall site I’ve seen that actually runs on cryptocurrencies. Specifically, it runs on Bitcoin Cash, though if you prefer not to actually hold Bitcoin Cash outside of Yours, you can make deposits in and out of the Yours system using ShapeShift and the cryptocurrency of your choice. And if you’ve been wondering where to spend Bitcoin Cash, this is one of the first sites where you can actually spend it. (Yes, they were considering using Litecoin for a while. I can see why they didn’t want to use straight up Bitcoin, but I am also not sure why they switched to Bitcoin Cash, either. But it seems to work well so far.)
This is good for content writers like me who roll our eyes when we have to write an email series on how to get you ex back. It’s an easy few hundred bucks and earning that money back is not my problem, but if you’re a teen or 20-something who is going through your first bad breakup, the best advice I’ve got is to go mountain climbing or something. It’ll give you something to focus on besides a relationship that was never going to work no matter what you did. I’d rather pay 10 cents to post a transcript of a recent interview on Yours, another 10 cents to give the transcript its second vote (Yours claims the prerogative of giving each article its first vote), and then just soak up the profits of people buying and voting for the pieces I posted. That’s the freedom of being able to post content that the audience thinks is actually useful and interesting.
The thing to note here is that it’s still in alpha and still has some bugs, but the technical support is pretty responsive if you can get on Slack. They were quick to iron out a glitch on their server that was preventing me from publishing the longish Blockchain Space: How and Why Cryptocurrencies Fit Into The Space Age. The text editor is still being polished, so don’t count on doing much more than posting text, doing a little light formatting on the text, and embedding the occasional video no matter how cool and informative your infographic is. Make sure you set the price you want to charge for your content before you hit “publish” because a glitch might make it difficult to change that price later. These are things that have been added to the Yours team’s to-do list.
Can you make a profit on Yours? You bet your last satoshi you can. I’ve spent 90 cents posting and voting on things and made over $11 so far. It’s not exactly a get-rich-quick thing and I’ve watched some epic shitposts fail hard, but if you post quality content on a regular basis and Tweet it, sometimes you’ll get retweeted by Yours and Ryan X Charles and get some Bitcoin Cash out of it. So as long as you keep in mind that you’ll be expected to actually post content that people would be willing to pay a minimum of 10 cents apiece for, you’ll probably do fine.
So basically, become one of the early adopters, cash in and out using Shapeshift if you already dumped your Bitcoin Cash on an exchange, put a little effort into your content, and be patient while the system is still in alpha, and you can do well on Yours. Even if you never go beyond posting a couple of pieces or using it to promote those original music videos on your Youtube channel, you can actually do well just by soaking up the residual income. That’s good for you because you can be rewarded for writing about the stuff that you like to write about and doing a good job of it, and that’s good for the average Internet user who is willing to pay for services like Youtube Red and ad blocking software so that they gain the privilege of not being annoyed by prevalent advertising.