Revenue Sharing: Web $2.00

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Web 2.0 and what’s next.

Largely this was on my mind because I’ve been trying to come up with a good way to start my run as a writer here at Intelligent Drone. The other day, while elbow deep in PHP setting up a collaborative blog with a revenue sharing model, it hit me… revenue sharing is the next big thing.

Of course, it’s nothing new, but neither were forums, comments or RSS feeds – now the net is a swarm with them. You’d be hard-pressed to find any site now that doesn’t feature a way to leave your opinions and get it all fed to you via an aggregator in any number of Web-based apps.

User-generated content has added a depth to sites and their articles that is invaluable. In fact, more often it is this content, over the original story, that truly explores the issue and drives traffic to the site. Site developers realize this and are looking for ways to encourage users of their sites to assist them with generating such content – enter revenue sharing and Google Adsense.

Basically the concept is simple. As a user, you store your Adsense Publisher ID (pub-XXXXXXXXXX) in your profile information on the revenue-sharing site. Then when you submit content to the site and it is viewed your ads are displayed. The actual level of display depends on the site and the admin’s generosity (don’t forget they have a site to run).

To use an example, lets look at another site I run – the Hao Hao Report – which I’ve also just installed a revenue sharing model on. It is a site that aggregates user submitted links of articles about China. The links are then voted upon by the community’s members. Good links get sent to the front page, and the others fade away. The system is near identical to, as this was where the idea for the site came from.

The HHR is nothing without its users. They generate 100% of the content and as such deserve to get a part of the profit. The new revenue sharing model is designed to help encourage them to take part. The current system works by inserting their Adsense ID into the full-story page of any links they submit – 50% of the time. This 50% figure helps assure that there is still revenue generated for the site to maintain itself. Additionally, this also allows for some play in rewarding the more active members, bumping their percentage up to 75% or even 100% (as is the case with moderators).

A concern I initially had about a system like this was that it would simply add bulk, not quality content, from members looking to get as much exposure of their ads as possible. And that’s the brilliance of click-thru revenue. Ads only make money if traffic is high. Traffic is only high if the quality of the content is good. Better content —> more traffic —> more revenue —> more shared revenue —> more happy users. The system itself encourages the users to be creative and discerning in what content they submit.

This concept has spread throughout the Web. AdMoolah features an excellent resource of Adsense Revenue Sharing sites ranging from blogging to forums, social tagging to article directories. I imagine we’ll see it grow and innovate until revenue sharing is the standard model by which the new Web $2.00 operates.

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