Get paid to read email from outside your network with a 21 profile

Allow anyone to contact you for a price. Keep the money, or donate it to charity.

Today we’re rolling out a tool which allows anyone in the world to google you and then buy a few minutes of your time. It’s called a 21 profile, and it’s a spam-proof replacement for a public email address. Here’s an example of how it looks at 21.co/naval:

Naval Ravikant’s 21.co profile

You can claim your username right now at 21.co to get a page just like that and start monetizing your internet presence. Here’s how it works:

  • Someone googles you or clicks “contact me” in your bio to reach your 21 profile
  • They write a message, and pay to send it to you
  • You get a notification and reply to them at 21.co or in the 21 app
  • Upon receipt of your reply, your payment is unlocked

While conceptually simple, a tool like this can be used by several different audiences. Here are some of the various types of people who set up 21.co profiles during our beta testing period:

  • Engineers and designers can use their 21 profile to receive paid messages from recruiters, like a monetizable version of LinkedIn InMail
  • Venture capitalists and angel investors can use it to prioritize fundraising pitches from outside their network, donating any monies received to charity
  • Founders and executives can use it as a first line of defense to filter sales calls and cold emails
  • Consultants can use it as a form of micro-consulting, billing by the question rather than the hour
  • Producers, editors, and journalists can use it to order the endless stream of PR pitches, donating the results to charity or booking it as revenue for their media outlet
  • Musicians, writers, and social media influencers can use it to sell their time as a scarce complement to their (often) free content

Importantly, in many of these use cases the prioritization of inbound messages is more important than the money itself. That’s why we offer the option for users to set a minimum price to ensure that inbound messages are serious, and to donate their proceeds to support good causes like Black Girls Code and Folding@Home.

Here’s a bit more depth on why we think the 21 profile is useful:

  • Your 21 profile allows you to directly monetize your internet presence. This is the page you actually want to be at the top of the search results for your name. It is the contact information that you want strangers to come across, and every view of your 21 profile page is a possible monetization opportunity. So it’s worth linking it from your homepage and social profiles in lieu of a public email address.
  • You can now raise money for charity in your spare time. Every year, Warren Buffett sells about an hour of his time to raise millions for Glide Memorial Church. We might not all be as rich as Buffett, but with a 21 profile we can now all be proportionally as generous. Specifically, you can sell a few minutes of your time when convenient to support a good cause. Today we support just a few nonprofits, like Black Girls Code and Folding@Home, but if you have ideas for more please recommend them at nonprofits.21.co!
  • We use Bitcoin to ensure it works across borders. Because we are using Bitcoin under the hood as the international payment rail, you and the person sending a message to you can be in virtually any pair of countries. It also means that you can quickly receive very small amounts of money for your time, without the overhead of setting up a bank account. For tech aficionados, this is the first major application built with our two1 developer tools, with a machine-payable API coming in the future.
  • You can now use price to identify the truly important messages. Price is a signal, and we use it to save your time. Rather than putting recent messages first, we put the most valuable messages in your inbox first. This way, you can answer messages in order of their importance to the sender and their benefit to you, rather than simply reacting to the latest notification.

In short, we’ve developed a tool which you can use anywhere on the internet in lieu of a public email address. You can use it to prioritize your inbox, and to raise money for charity or to monetize your spare time. Go set up your profile and try it out at 21.co!