Interview with the Conjure Network team — An Incentivized, Decentralized Content Platform with Search Models Based Upon Taxonomy

Thanks for having the interview with me, to start things off, could you tell a bit about the team and how Conjure Network was born?

“The Conjure story begins back in the summer of 2017. I was at home, spending the summer trading derivatives. To decompress, I spent a lot of time on YouTube — it was nice rekindling my relationship with the platform I grew up on.”

“I soon began to notice many content creators talking about the same topic — the YouTube Adpocalypse. Creators across the platform were seeing mass demonetisation, less traffic, and as much as 80% loss of revenue on their channels.”

“This led me to do some hands-on research by launching my own YouTube channel. I spent a good amount of time building up my channel, testing niches, and discovering the best ways to reach users. It grew much quicker than I had expected, settling around 16k subscribers before I switched focus to finding a solution for these creators.”

“While exploring potential solutions, I began to learn more about DLT and blockchain technology. I saw the possibility — and practicality — of leveraging it to address the problems that plague content creators across the web.”

“Fast forward to Fall 2017 and I’m back at Michigan State University for my last semester, eager to share my findings. Having been great friends for a few years at this point, I sat down with Shane, Conjure Co-Founder and current COO, to explain the Adpocalypse, how we could leverage blockchain technology as a solution, and the idea of conducting an ICO.”

“After some discussion and brainstorming, Shane and I teamed up. Things began moving quickly; by the end of 2017, we had a 50-page whitepaper, fleshed-out blockchain functionality, and multiple platform mockups. We began strategizing, moving forward to make our ideas a reality.”

“In early 2018, we met Joel (now CTO). He brought a lot of experience to the table, having worked in tech for 15 years — his recent focus has been ICOs and blockchain development.”

“Since then, Conjure’s team has tripled in size. Everyone on the team is extremely talented and unique — their personalities as much as their skillset. The project has become more refined, and our vision has grown. We’re extremely excited for Conjure to continue to take form and become a reality in the near future.”

What is Conjure Network in a nutshell and which problem will it solve?

“In a nutshell: Conjure is a multimedia content platform, allowing creators to upload content in a wide range of formats.”

The two main problems we seek to rectify:

  1. Content Monetisation: Conjure leverages cryptocurrency to decentralise the content monetisation process, enabling creators and advertisers to enter into monetisation agreements at their discretion.
  2. Content Discovery: Conjure departs from traditional search models by combining aspects of both horizontal and vertical search. Conjure’s web of communities, or content verticals, are bound together through taxonomy.

“This allows creators more visibility and direct access to their target audience; it allows users to more easily find and explore the content that matches their interests.”

How does Conjure Network distinguish itself from similar projects?

“When other blockchain projects, that may appear similar to Conjure, seek to create a better alternative for content creators, they identify monetisation (creator revenue) as the key issue. This is true, however, they fail to capitalise on the new ecosystem they create as a byproduct of decentralising monetisation.”

“While content monetisation is a large component of the problem, it isn’t the entire problem. The other half is the idea of content discovery — how users find content and creators.”

“By shedding reliance on centralised monetisation, there’s no longer an obligation to adhere to the outdated methods of content discovery. We decided to not only solve the issue of monetisation, but to capitalise on it and provide a new architecture for content discovery.”

“To do this, we looked for classification systems that scale with the growth of information. Eventually, we began toying around with Linnaean Taxonomy. This system has been around for a few hundred years and has successfully organised all life on Earth into a logical framework.”

“We chose to take this structure and incorporate it within Conjure. Where Taxonomy sorts organisms based on characteristics, Conjure will sort content based on community. We call this the “Depth Engine”, our software system that combines aspects of both horizontal and vertical search.”

“In summation, I would say Conjure separates itself from other similar projects through its unique approach to content discovery.”

“This is a huge topic difficult to condense, so for a more in-depth explanation, I recommend checking out “How Conjure is Different” on our Medium.”

How does Conjure Network intend to attract users and content creators?

“A content platform’s ecosystem consists of 3 actors: viewers, creators, and advertisers. Conjure will target all of these prior to launch.”

“We’ve seen many projects start by bringing in viewers, hoping the creators and advertisers will follow. These projects seem to just fizzle out — there’s just a lack of quality content to watch. For the creators, there’s no money to be made. For the advertisers, it’s a waste of time and resources.”

“For Conjure, the focus to begin with is bringing in quality creators. Users are loyal to creators, willing to follow them to a new site — especially one that offers a unique discovery experience. The advertisers follow last, since they require a healthy environment to promote their brand and products.”

“The creator community, in many ways, is a very tight-knit community. Many know each other through collaboration and have mutual respect for one another as colleagues and friends.”

“We aim to build credibility with the creators, by listening to their wants and needs and incorporating their feedback within the Conjure platform. This will be their new home, so we sincerely believe they should play a role in the building process.”

Why did you choose NEO over other smart contract platforms, and what is the benefit of creating an own token ($CONJURE) over using, let’s say: $GAS?

“NEO has a wonderful array of features that make it a great option for almost any project. For Conjure, it’s an ideal match for a few reasons.”

  1. The NEO Smart Economy. The combination of digital assets, digital identity, and smart contracts captures all the variables and actors within the Conjure ecosystem. NEO’s straightforward and flexible framework is a perfect fit for the assortment of monetisation options we plan to implement within the Conjure platform.
  2. NEO focuses on regulatory compliance. NEO’s digital identity component fosters an ecosystem that is safe, verifiable, and sustainable; it’s regulatory-compliant and capable of withstanding the uncertain storms of legislation. This characteristic is vital for Conjure. Content
    creators need a platform that is dependable — they shouldn’t feel vulnerable to outside forces like regulations or the legal landscape.
  3. The NEO community is strong. There’s a high level of engagement and enthusiasm that you just don’t see with other blockchains. Many of the DApps being developed on the NEO blockchain are unique ideas, and the community itself is quick to provide constructive feedback. NEO also supports a variety of common programming languages, so there’s plenty of
    capable developers to work with.

“We chose to create our own token on the NEO blockchain because it provides everything we require for the Conjure ecosystem. It also gives us the freedom and flexibility we need to develop Conjure and its features.”

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