When I served as the Content Director for LiveMe, one of the most valuable lessons I learned was that not all user engagement is created equal. Many of LiveMe’s most popular broadcasters aren’t more talented than other users. Rather, they’ve received a tremendous amount of support from their LiveMe fans, which has allowed them to rise to the top on the platform.
There are different levels of fan support, and the amount and quality of support a content creator receives can play a significant role in their success:
The lowest level is viewing. This is the most common activity a fan can do. While some fans will try to skip the pre-rolled sponsored ad before enjoying a YouTube video, other fans will watch it simply because they know that by watching the ad, they are supporting the content creators financially.
The next level is light engagement, which includes “liking,” “sharing” or “commenting” on a post. These behaviors indicate that a fan is willing to show support more strongly by helping the content creators fulfill a brand sponsored content requirement or bring more awareness to their content for future business potential.
Then we come to the level of long-term commitment, or heavy engagement. This might include a subscription or follow, in which a fans keeps track of content updates from the creator. The more subscribers or followers a creator has, the better the position they have when negotiating business deals with advertisers. Some creators can also drive their fans to perform a desired action — or the “call-to-action” — which is significantly important to any advertiser.
The ultimate level of support is peer-to-peer support, such as a donation, a paid subscription or “virtual gifting.” No matter the format or terms, peer-to-peer support occurs when fans send valuable things (usually fiat currency) to creators directly.
We’ve found that this type of support is very important to small or middle-tier content creator, since most of time their fan base cannot meet advertisers’ requirements, and centralized content platforms also limit the ad revenue they can earn. By having a small group of fans willing to support them with this method, the creator will be able to obtain the necessary financial assistance to keep improving their content and grow their fan base.
So why are these four levels of support so important?
Content platform can leverage the data collected from audience behavior to measure a content creator’s potential business value. Can this creator attract more new fans with the same viewership compared to other creators? Can this creator mobilize to perform a specific action? These answers significantly affect the algorithm in any centralized content platform and play a major role in which content creators are featured in the “recommended” sections of these platforms.
In the Contentos ecosystem, these levels of support will also guide the future design of content promotion and recommendation. However, the major difference between a centralized content platform and Contentos is that all behavior data will be transparently recorded in each block. The algorithm will be open-sourced, which gives content creators and audiences a fair environment to create and enjoy content.
Another major difference between Contentos and other centralized content platforms or decentralized content ecosystems is that we believe every piece of content should be rewarded fairly based on its support. This is the core goal of the content ecosystem reward outlined in the Contentos white paper.
The mechanism of calculating rewards plays a critical role in the fair distribution of rewards. Steem, a social blockchain, is a very good example of the way blockchain can be used to reward creators fairly. Reward distribution in Steem relies mainly on upvoting. Voting power is not the same for everyone. It’s actually heavily based on the amount of Steem Power (SP) you hold. This can result in problems such as self-voting or voting-ring. However, some improvements to the system have been proposed, but they don’t address the fundamental issue Steem faces, which is that it doesn’t have a concept of support level. This is the issue that Contentos tries to resolve in the content ecosystem reward calculation.
UpVotes and GiftingVotes
In the Contentos ecosystem, there will be two types of support for content:
Everyone can use an UpVote to support any kind of content. The more UpVotes a piece of content collects, the more rewards it can receive.
Also, as long as the user enjoying the content has enough VESTs, their casted UpVote can help the content creator acquire even more rewards.
However, there are limits. Just because a user has more VESTs doesn’t mean they carry more weight in the UpVote. We established this restriction because we believe good content should receive more UpVotes from more users rather than a few top VEST-holders manipulating the reward distribution by concentrating the UpVote on a few pieces of content, without paying any price.
The second type of support is the GiftingVote. From our LiveMe data, we’ve learned about 3–5% of users send virtual gifts (a way to perform peer-to-peer donations) to broadcasters. These “gifters” are the key supporters of those young, talented broadcasters.
In Contentos, this concept is being taken into consideration when designing the ecosystem reward distribution mechanism. The “GiftingVote” will be considered the ultimate form of support audiences can show a content creator. Like virtual gifts, GiftingVotes will NOT be free. Anyone who wants to send a GiftingVote has to exchange with the VEST, and the VEST collected from issuing GiftingVotes will be shared by the Block Producers (BPs) based on the block production ration. The more GiftingVotes a piece of content receives, the more weight it has has in the content ecosystem reward calculation. Since it’s not free and the GiftingVote will be destroyed after each calculation cycle, changing the calculation comes at a price for everyone.
Below are are the design details we are testing, but they may be subject to change:
- COS is the only utility token circulated inside the Contentos ecosystem.
- COS can be staked and converted into “VEST” with 1:1 ratio. The conversion from COS to VEST is effective immediately. However, the conversion from VEST back to COS will take 13 weeks and be gradually returned in equal parts each week.
- VEST can be used to fuel the smart contract and acquire the qualification to join the Block Producer election.
- Every second, a new block will be produced by a block producer, and a new VEST will be produced along with this new block. 85% of VESTs will be placed into the content ecosystem reward pool and 15% will be used to reward block producers.
- Based on our white paper, 1.4 VESTs will be produced in each new block during the first year.
- The major way to obtain the content ecosystem reward is creating and curating content. After each calculation cycle, content will be rewarded with the “weighted vote power” it has acquired.
- The value of weighted vote power is affected by two major factors: (1) the number of UpVotes it has received and (2) the number of GiftingVotes it has received.
- UpVoting is free to everyone. The number of VESTs a user is holding won’t be reduced but the effectiveness of each UpVote a a user has casted will decline each day. In other words, the more UpVotes you’ve cast in a day, the less effective they are to a piece of content.
- The recharge time now is set to one day, but this can be adjusted with all the BP’s consensus. Also, “weighted vote power” has a direct relationship with the VEST that the caster is holding. The current formula is weighted vote power = sqrt(VEST * factor), which means the effectiveness of holding VESTs will decline after a users reaches a certain number of VESTs.
There are two ways to obtain GiftingVote:
(1) Start from each “epoch.” Users who are holding more than X number of VESTs can obtain one free GiftingVote.
(2) Paying Y VESTs to a smart contract in exchange for a GiftingVote. In the final calculation formula, the GiftingVote has a special Z weight. The value of X, Y, and Z parameters will be determined by the BP’s consensus.
- “Epoch” is a cycle. Starting with each new epoch, the free GiftingVote will be issued but not until the last epoch is destroyed. A new set of free GiftingVotes will be issued to qualified users. However, the paid GiftingVote will stay valid in each epoch until it’s been used.
- Anyone can use VESTs to buy GiftingVotes.The VEST collected from selling GiftingVotes will be shared with the BPs based on the number of block they’ve produced.The more weighted voting power that a piece of content obtains in “total weighted vote power,” the more rewards it can receive from the content ecosystem reward pool.
- The “total weighted vote power” is a parameter that keeps track of the calculated weight in this cycle. It will begin“aging” to ensure the new reward is distributed to the new top content instead of just rewarding old content that has not received new votes. The formula for aging is the following:total_weighted_vote_power — (1 / (86400 * N)) * total_weighted_vote_power
- N is the definition of aging. On test-net it is 1, but we expect it to be 17 in the MainNet. This number can be adjusted with the BP’s consensus.
- Only the UpVotes/GiftingVotes collected within the calculation cycle are valid. Those votes collected outside this calculation cycle will not take effect during the calculation.
The Contentos team is currently testing and fine-tuning the calculation with the real data collected from PhotoGrid “likes” and COS gifting. This valuable data will helps the Contentos team to better understand true user behavior and design a more fair, balanced content ecosystem that rewards content creators who have huge potential, as well as the audiences who contributed to the creators and the content ecosystem as a whole!
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Medium: Mick Tsai