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Geek Chic

Is Pheed the new phad?


How many social networks can one person use? Facebook? Of course. Twitter? Sure. Pinterest? Sounds fun. Google Plus? Maybe. Pheed? What now?                

For those not following the trends in social networking, it appears tweens and celebrities are refashioning where it’s cool to share every second of your life. Now, only 4 months old, the social website and app has rocketed to the top of Apple’s Free Apps chart last week and, by all accounts, now has millions of users posting status updates, photos, music, videos and more. What sets Pheed apart from its social predecessors is the ability for users to profit from their content.                

For years the business concern about social startups was, how will they make money? MySpace sunk itself by cluttering its site with too many advertisements. Facebook is just now starting to publicly report profits from advertising. Twitter sneaks pay-for-play promoted hashtags and tweets into your timeline.                

Forgoing the advertising model, Pheed splits content revenue with its users by allowing paywalls on Pheed-hosted live-streaming videos. Through either a subscription service or pay-per-view pricing, users can charge anywhere between $1.99 to $34.99 for followers to view their broadcasts.                

Historically the reason social networks have thrived has partially been due to their free nature — anyone can post anything they want for free. So who could benefit from this paywall feature? Say you’re a band who has a sold-out concert or you’re a fan and can’t make it to the gig: $4.99 to watch it live online doesn’t sound so bad. Or maybe you’re holding a conference, and you want to extend your reach to the Web: $34.99 is probably far below the cost to physically attend the event.                

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Only time will tell if Pheed is a fad or if it rises to Twitter status, but this is for certain: You can expect to see private paywalls popping up all over the Internet. Maybe it’s time we all started profiting from over-sharing. CV               

Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights follow him on Twitter @ResponsiblyWild.

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