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:
The Mall page will be here:

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...

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