Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Project delay

Events this summer have conspired to limit my time to work on the 2BuxMall project. We'll work to get things back on track. Watch this blog for updates and for a new projected Launch Date. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Grand Opening target date

The PayPal pages and their programming is finished. There is a page to Add Money to your 2Bux account from your PayPal account. You can add either $10, $20 or $30. There is a Withdraw Money page that lets you move money out of your 2Bux account and into your PayPal account. Withdrawals must be for $10 or more and are subject to Exit Fees. Withdrawal payments are made in about 5 business days from the date of the Withdraw request.

Upload pages for MP3s and Store videos are available. Users can use these pages to upload MP3s for sale, and to upload a Store Video for us to host if it is 10MB or less and in FLV format.

The 2BuxMall is almost ready to open for business!
The target date for Grand Opening is September 1st.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More 2BuxMall Progress

Store Owners can now add Custom HTML to the footer area of their Stores. You can put ads there. You can also put in any kind of widget. See sites like WebBuilderZone for links to lots of free stuff for websites. You can see the HTML that other Store Owners have used by right-clicking on their Stores and selecting "View Source". Scroll down to the SPAN tag that contains this: span id="lblFooter" The HTML inside this span tag is the Custom HTML that the Owner of that Store entered on their Customize Footer page in Store Settings.

We added Custom Backgrounds a while back. There are many websites that offer free background images. Just search for "free backgrounds" to find them. I've used Free-Backgrounds.com and the Absolute Background Textures Archive. The later has a cool Texture Maker that I used to make the "cells" background for the 2Bux Store.

Store owners can now Remove Comments on their Store and can Block Users from commenting on their Stores. If you are logged in and on your Store page, you will see (Remove) (Block User) at the end of each comment. Click Remove to delete that comment. Click Block User to keep that user from commenting on your Store. You can also Block/Unblock Users from a page in the Store Settings menu.

The main Mall page now has a custom Google Search Engine that lets you search the Mall. Tags have also been implemented. Add Tags to describe your Store on the Add/Edit/Delete Store Tags page that you can get to from Store Settings. Your Tags will appear under the text in your About module on your Store. The first 6 tags will also appear under your Store name on the main Mall page. Click on any Tag to see all Stores that use that Tag. There is also a Tag Search page where you can enter Tags to search for. TIP: Use % as a wildcard! For example, enter sing% and it will find sing, singer, singers, singer/songwriter Tags.

We also implemented a feature which will help to drive Search Engine traffic to your Store. Your About module text is automatically added to your Store's meta Description tag and your Tags are added to your meta Keywords tag. We have used this technique very successfully on other websites. If you don't understand what these tags are and how Search Engines use them to see what your page is about, don't worry! There is nothing that you need to do, this is already implemented for you. The point to take away is that this will help Search Engines like Google and Yahoo to find your Store and include it in Search Results.

A new file upload system has been programmed and tested internally. We'll roll it out first to upload MP3s (songs) for sale. That should be ready for testing very soon. Check the Songs page in your UserHome for that.

Thanks to everyone who has been to the Mall. Whether you have visited our site to see what it's all about or if you are our wonderful Testers, we appreciate your time spent in the Mall!

Friday, May 25, 2007

2BuxMall testing progress

The 2BuxMall has been in testing for about a month now. Store owners are able to set up links to websites and to items they have for sale. Store owners can put PayPal buttons on their Stores and money can also be transferred internally from one user to another. Store owners can customize the Background Image and Colors of their Store. Next week, we'll add the ability for Store owners to put any kind of ads on their Store. All proceeds from these ads will go directly to the Store owners.

The video auction system has been tested. Users have been able to upload videos and auction them off. Other users have been able to Bid on videos and watch them when and if they win the auction.

The ability to buy and sell MP3 songs has been tested. Users have been able to upload MP3s and provide a Title, Description and Price for each one. Other users have been able to buy and download MP3s.

Certain parts of the Level system are being tested. Internally, we are testing a new method to upload files that are larger than 4MB in size. Soon, we'll add the PayPal plumbing so users can get real money into and out of the system. After that is tested, we should be ready to open!

Huge thanks go out to all of our wonderful testers! I hope you all have a great holiday weekend!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Recent videos on user-owned video channels

There has been a discussion on YouTube about the concept of allowing users to own their own channel, which would let you sell things and advertise on it. The discussion also mentions the eNation concept, which is very interesting! Watch and listen to these videos to learn more about this group's vision for the future. We have already implemented some of these ideas on the 2BuxMall website, and more of it will be rolling out in the coming weeks!

Time To Start Talking About The BIG IDEA

If you can't see the video above, watch it on YouTube.

Announcing VoicingWorld - The Group Channel

If you can't see the video above, watch it on YouTube.


If you can't see the video above, watch it on YouTube.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thoughts on the 2BuxMall

I recently wrote a post at the new cool place to talk about videos - the TubeRavers Forum. I gave some thoughts about the 2Bux system and I will now paste a copy of it, here.

This is a project in the works since late last year when I mentioned it on that other YT forum. During the planning stages, it has become more than just a central place for YouTubers to let other Toobers know that they had things for sale, or a PayPal donation button, or their own web page. Now it is a web application that borrows concepts from YouTube, eBay, Second Life and online games like EverQuest and WoW. There's even a MLM aspect...

Basically, the core of it is the concept of a Store, which looks similar to a YouTube profile page or a myspace page. Users can set up and customize their Store to let others know what they are doing and selling. You can have a video on your Store - your own commercial or announcement. There will be a central 2BuxMall page with a searchable directory so you can see who is there. There will also eventually be Featured Stores, like YT's featured videos.

Some people on YT don't have anything to sell, but they do make videos. There is a mechanism where Users can sell viewing rights to exclusive videos in an auction-like manner. This allows videomakers to maximize their income per video while minimizing the cost for the Bidders.

There needs to be a way to pay for things sold through this system. Some or maybe most things will be sold through CafePress or CDbaby or eBay or PayPal (donations) or through personal websites. But commerce inside the system, like paying for won Bids in the video auction section, digital downloads (Musicians can sell their music tracks), and internal donations need a micropayment system. There will be one in 2Bux. You'll be able to fund your account via PayPal and we'll eat any PayPal fees. For example, charge $20 to your PayPal, the whole $20 goes into your 2Bux account. Use the money in your account any way you want, there are no transaction fees. There is, however, an exit fee. Take less than $100 out of your 2Bux account and you'll be charged a 20% exit fee. Take out $100 or more and its 10%. Most of these fees will be used to fund the cash bonuses and commissions that Users can earn. This particular set-up means that people can use the system for free and if they use all of their money inside the system, they will never pay a fee. The only time someone pays a fee is if they are successful and have made some money in the system and they want to take it out!

Users will be able to move up in Level as they use the system. Each Level has certain requirements and offers certain privileges. To enhance the community aspect, there will be an invite system. Everyone who becomes a User will have to be invited by someone else. Higher Level Users will be able to earn a percentage of exit fees from those they invite. Even higher Levels will earn a percentage of the fees from those they invite and those who those people invite. The highest Levels may even be presented with actual shares of stock of the company that runs this. Unlike YouTube where only a few people benefited when Google came knocking, if this catches on and gets bought out, I think it is important for those who have been active in the system to benefit financially.

This is going to be rolled out in a controlled way. YouTube showed us that things sometimes break down when they grow too quickly. Right now, the Stores are about ready to go, along with parts of the video auction system and parts of the internal micropayment system. The Levels have preliminarily been laid out - right now there are just 10 Levels with reasonable requirements per Level. The Level concept is the least developed at the moment and may change over time.

The Login page will be here: http://www.bkserv.net/2Bux/2BuxLogin.aspx
The Mall page will be here: http://www.bkserv.net/2Bux/2BuxMall.aspx

We have a set of Beta testers that have shown interest in the project in the past and no further testers are needed at this time. Anyone interested in the future will need to receive an invite from me or one of the testers who will become the first Users.

I'm sure people will have their opinions as to whether this is a worthwhile project or not, and whether it will be successful or not. I really don't know the answers to these questions. The project will answer the questions itself as time goes by. Thanks to anyone who has read all of this! I'll be happy to answer questions if there are any. I may be vague in my answers either because we haven't decided everything on certain parts of the system, or due to a need to keep certain details from becoming public knowledge...

Periurban and Renetto

Periurban and Renetto, two popular YouTube videomakers, have recently made videos about a meeting they had in which a new video sharing concept was discussed. This new concept may seek to fix some of the problems that the YouTube users community has been experiencing, such as communication problems via video comments and YouTube messages, and abuse of some of the Terms of Service by many members. This new concept may also lead to individual ownership of their own channels and a democratic system of governing the operations.

From what I am able to see, this new concept seems to be a very good idea! It is worth trying, and I am very interested to see if this concept is implemented and to see what they put in place to deal with some of these issues.

Our 2BuxMall system addresses some of these same issues. We hope to roll out the system in a slow and orderly manner, addressing issues as they develop. 2BuxMall Store owners are selected by invitation only, so we can match the volume of business with our ability to provide the community with good service.

Individual owners will have a good deal of control over their own Stores. They can customize its appearance and decide what to promote or sell. We intend to provide a micropayment system to make it easy to pay for purchases made through our system.

I don't think our system could be classified as being run in a democratic way. It will be the case that everyone who becomes a user will have been invited by someone who already is a user. We feel that responsible community members will recommend other responsible people for invitation. There will also be a Level system which may help people to feel a certain amount of trust in users who have moved up in Level, which would indicate that they are active and positive members of our community.

I think that any discussion of the way in which positive people can group together in a community that can be helpful to themselves and others, is a good discussion to have! Here are the videos from Periurban and Renetto on this subject. We hope to participate in this creation of a better experience for the videomaking community.

An Open Letter To Renetto (Periurban)

If you can't see the video above, watch it on YouTube.

The Future of YouTube... is it really up to us? (Renetto)

If you can't see the video above, watch it on YouTube.