The Rise of the Bounty Economy
Bug bounties have been around since the beginning of the internet. A bug bounty allows software development teams to reach outside of their team to the developer community at large to solve problems they haven’t discovered or have not been able to solve. Companies like Twitter and Facebook regularly offer bug bounties where they incentivise the development community to help improve their software. Bounties can range from as low as $50 to upwards of $50k for extremely difficult challenges.
Over the last three years a perfect storm has occurred that is ushering in a format for the general purpose bounty economy. What is the perfect storm?
- Blockchain becomes real: Blockchain startups by nature are open source which facilitates the use of bounties for software development, code reviews and bug fixes. By reaching out to the developer communities with incentives, they are able to improve their software.
- The token economy: As these startups begin to scale they have the ability to launch an ICO and raise funding for their start up. Creating demand for an ico is very difficult and requires a small army of enthusiasts/influencers to spread the word. So naturally these blockchain startups used tried and tested tools they have used in the past and started creating marketing bounties. In exchange for marketing activities enthusiasts/influencers are rewarded with project tokens or fiat currency when their task is complete.
- The bounty economy is born: The combination of open-source blockchain startups, rapid ico marketing, and token liquidity came together in a perfect storm expanding bounties from software to marketing. The scope to expand the bounty economy is unlimited and will likely move to a wide range of professional skill sets.
Unlike software bounties where there are established communities like Github, newer bounty formats like marketing bounties still lack adequate distribution platforms that are reliable for companies and individuals looking to collaborate. In the last 2–3 months, platforms have started to emerge. Bountybadger.com is one of the sites that is creating a platform for the bounty economy at scale. Rightnow Bountybadger has over 150 open marketing bounties for Twitter based tasks as well as a healthy community of bounty hunters who can accomplish tasks in exchange for tokens or fiat. “How realistic is it for a marketing executive or agency to distribute messages at scale without using paid media, it’s impossible” says Justin Galvin Co-founder of Bountybadger. Marketing bounties allow companies to send messages from 100’s of accounts in a more authentic way than simply boosting a twitter post.
As the bounty economy develops, larger established enterprises will need reliable platforms with scale to use this new channel. Right now blockchain based startups are the majority of companies looking to leverage their enthusiasts/influencers with marketing bounties but it will not be long before advertising agencies, pr agencies, and consumer brands begin to use bounties for marketing communications. “The bounty economy will bring the true power of social media to consumers allowing them to leverage their social status in exchange for real money” According To Jamil Mohammed also a co-founder of Bountybadger. Here is some insight as to why blockchain projects are using this new medium, and how Bountybadger is solving the problem:
The process of creating and managing Twitter bounty campaigns is extremely inefficient for the following reasons: a) Companies don’t know which Twitter users are going to be most effective at promoting their product. Twitter followers alone can be easily gamed through acquiring fake followers. b) A participant that applies to a bounty may agree to tweet about your business or retweet your tweets at specific time intervals, but how do you know they actually did it? The only option is to manually record which users have done it each day/week which is very time consuming. c) At the end of the campaign, you then need to tally up all the stakes for each user, determine how many tokens each user is owed and manually make each of the token transfers to their wallets — Also really time consuming. The Bountybadger platform automates these campaign workflows so you can easily set up campaigns and fund them. The platform also uses machine learning and natural language processing to aggregate campaign performance.
“Bounties enable you to incentivise your community over the long term when customers, suppliers, partners, investors own your token they can increase their position and build value by participating in marketing bounties. This will eventually create a more engaged customer and supplier base with faster innovation and more loyalty at both ends” according to Joe Charlesworth CEO of PredictionVC.
Incentivising your audience and building brand ambassadors is not just for blockchain startups doing ICOs but equally as important for large enterprise companies. The bountybadger platform will also let enterprises set up campaigns with the currency of their choice if they do not have their own token.
How is the bounty economy different to freelancing? The same problem exists that we discussed earlier of internal teams not providing scale. Even with the addition of freelancers you do not ad scale and reach to you marketing campaigns. By using bounty programs you can incentivise hundreds or even thousands of marketers to create and share your communications with payments that are fair for the task described. Bounty marketing campaigns are also different from influencer marketing because they are more horizontal and don’t require cumbersome negotiations with multiple influencers.
Most Twitter marketing bounties have a similar format. The core components are: Budget, timeframe, rules, tasks, and an explanation of how you will be compensated based on the amount of reach your twitter account has. Typically the overall campaign budget will be broken down into the amount of tokens for each of the campaign types — so the Twitter bounty campaign for example might allocate 1000 tokens for performing a weekly retweet with 5 stakes per retweet over a 2 month period. The 1000 tokens will then be distributed amongst bounty participants in proportion to the number of participants and number of completed actions. Assuming 100 users participated and each successfully completed 1 retweet per week, they would receive 10 tokens at the end of the campaign.. This is important and must be clear so bounty hunters can estimate what their compensation will be, should they qualify for rewards. Platforms like Bountybadger are standardizing the posting of bounties so companies are clear on what they need to post, and also provide features like: campaign analytics, task auditing, and payments.
Twitter Campaign: (105 ETH) (92k USD) Start Date: March 1 — End Date: April 31
• 500+ followers: 1 stake/retweet | 2 stake/tweet
• 1,500+ followers: 2 stake/retweet | 4 stake/tweet
• 5,000+ followers: 5 stake/retweet | 10 stake/tweet
• 10,000+ followers: 11 stake/retweet | 24 stake/tweet
• 7 tweet(maximum) in a week and retweet of all tweets in our group.
• 1 tweet per day.
• All tweets have to be with a hashtag #Bountybadger #Bounty
• Your account must be at least 6 month old.
• Your audit score must be more than 90%
• Retweets & tweets must stay public until the end of the Bounty campaign.
The bounty economy is in its early days but is one of the very few innovative new solutions for marketers of all types. Right now bounties are being used for the following use cases: Blogging, Youtube content, Facebook reach, Twitter reach, Article writing, acquiring Telegram followers, and even mobile messaging. Marketers should set up bounty campaigns with standard KPI’s that measure purchases, email signups, surveys, and other traditional campaign goals. By using a bounty platform you will be able to reduce the amount of manual work required and take advantage of advanced new reporting tools built specifically for bounty marketing programs.
The time to test bounty campaigns is now, be an early adopter reach out to platforms like Bountybadger and post your bounty or request a managed campaign. If you are a Twitter influencer or just love tweeting, BountyBadger might be just what you’ve been looking for.