There has been a lot of buzz about the new Tsu social network lately, whether from our recent post on why you might not like Tsu to invitations from social media friends to join the network all the way to the New York Times and their post on “The Social Network That Pays You to Friend.”
“Wait, I can make money on Tsu?” Not so fast.
The overwhelming popular opinion in social media that I have seen is that Tsu is one big MLM scheme and people are only on it to make money and don’t care about their brand or friends. Before I tackle how much truth there might be in this statement, for those of you who have never ventured in or don’t know exactly what the Tsu social network is, I wanted to write a definitive post to explain to you in layman’s terms what exactly Tsu is, using my own experience as an example, so you can make your own decision as to whether or not you might want to join this new social network.
All of the screenshots below are from my own account as of the day of my writing this blog post, November 12, 2014, and I offer them to you in full disclosure and transparency so that you can draw your own conclusion about the social network.
What Exactly is Tsu?
Tsu is a social network. Period. Similar to any other social network, you can friend or follow people, post links/photos/videos/status updates, send private messages to other members, and search for interesting people or content to follow or consume. Visually it has a very aesthetically pleasing user interface (well, in my opinion at least) where photos and videos look beautiful, and for a “new” social network that just launched less than a month ago on October 21, it is surprisingly rich in functionality and already has a mobile app. It blows the “other” “new” social network Ello out of the water in this respect.
If Tsu is So New, How Can Their Social Network Be So Well-Developed?
The Tsu social network was launched with a $7 million investment from Sancus Capital Prive and already had an all-star cast of launch partners in George Michael (through his arts nonprofit Goss-Michael Foundation), LeAnn Rimes, 50 Cent, Miami Heat’s Luol Deng, U.S. track and field Olympian Doc Patton, the Environmental Media Association and hospitality and entertainment company SBE Entertainment.
What Social Networking Functionality Does Tsu Provide?
Tsu has rich and also some unique functionality that other social networks do not offer their average users. Let’s go through the list:
1.) Rich Posting
You can see from the above that the Tsu social network offers you an easy way to both add a Title to your post which appears in bold and larger letters (which I have not found in other social networks), the ability to toggle between just posting to your friends or the entire public, as well as sharing your post easily on Facebook and/or Twitter. It’s a very easy to understand way of posting in a relatively “rich” way.
2.) Digital Properties Showcased Prominently
Tsu allows you to both easily enter all of your digital property links but will also display them fairly prominently in the lefthand sidebar of your profile. You don’t have to go digging through tabs or other screens in order to get to know more about the person or company’s profile which you are viewing. Tsu realizes that they are not the only player in town and want to help promote your other properties as a good netizen.
3.) Analytics for All
Where the Tsu social network excels in is in offering you analytics on both a macro (above) and micro (below) level so that you have an understanding of how many views your profile is registering as well as how many view, likes and comments you are getting for each and everyone one of your posts. I only have around 400 followers, so you get a sense from the above image that there are more Tsu users than you might think. This gives one a sense of not only the potential ROI of engaging on Tsu as you see your profile views increase, but also you can tailor the content that you create for and/share on the Tsu social network specific to what your Tsu followers prefer to consume.
Tell Me More About How Tsu Users Make Money on the Network
The vision behind Tsu is that the users of the network should share in any advertising revenues generated by their content. As the founder of Tsu, Sebastian Sobczak, said in the above New York Times article,
all content creators, which is basically every social user, should receive royalties for the commercial use of their image, likeness and work
Tsu has created an algorithm as to how it shares advertising revenues with its users. An image below directly from their FAQ clearly illustrates how they are calculating and splitting royalties:
- 10% go to Tsu
- 50% of the remaining 90% (i.e. 45% of the total) go to the content creator
- The remaining 45% is divided between those that directly invited the content creator to join Tsu (the content creator is considered a “child” in Tsu terms to the person who invited them), the person that invited your “father,” and finally the person who invited your “grandfather” in a diminishing calculation that they call the “rule of infinite thirds”
In other words, there are two sides to monetizing one’s Tsu presence: Creating content and recruiting others to join the network and hope that they generate revenues with their own content that you will be able to share in. It is this “recruiting” aspect which is unfortunately working against Tsu by giving it a bad name; on the other hand, though, it also means that Tsu has built itself a large and LOUD army of brand advocates evangelizing their platform from the beginning.
What is a Tsu Family Tree?
In order to calculate every user’s royalties, Tsu records who invited who into the network and generates a family tree for each user. Compared to Ello or Pinterest, which started off with limited invitations, Tsu allows anyone to join the social network so long as they sign up through the profile of a user. In other words, once you go to a Tsu user profile and sign up, you become the “child” of the person’s profile from which you signed up at. As illustrated below, 69 people joined from signing up after landing on my Tsu profile, and they have themselves generated an additional network of 1,961 people who I will get a share in any revenues that they generate as creators of content.
Before you think I’m well on my way to becoming a millionaire, keep reading as to how much revenue this is actually generating!
Thus, when people are promoting Tsu to you, they are merely sending you a link to their profile. Content inside Tsu cannot be viewed without joining the social network, so that is another way, in addition to building an army of invested brand advocates, that Tsu is luring new members inside with.
So Who is on Tsu?
As you can imagine from the list of people that were part of the launch team as well as those that would want to monetize their digital presence, Tsu so far has found early adopters, to name a few, in athletes (Dominique Wilkins, Ottis Anderson, Tyreke Evans), musicians and music industry professionals (Guns N’ Roses, Wu Tang Clan, Clive Davis, Wade Bowen, Mr Fromm, Adam Anders) content creators (Darren Rowse aka ProBlogger, Joel Comm), Internet/affiliate/MLM marketers, and heavy social media users.
Who Do You Think Can Benefit Most from Tsu?
While Internet/affiliate/MLM marketers have become the “loudest” in evangelizing Tsu to anyone and everyone, those who stand to benefit the most are celebrities (musicians, athletes, et. al.) and content creators. Having worked for a celebrity myself, I understand very well that artists are constantly looking at new ways to monetize their presence because the old way of doing things in their industry has long been broken. This is especially apparent in the music industry where Amanda Palmer raised money for recording directly from her fans to musicians who want to charge monthly fees to join private social networks to complement their fan clubs. In Japan content creators charge – and receive – money for weekly newsletter or podcasts. For sports athletes, how can they maximize brand exposure to influence larger sports deals but also build a digital fan base to monetize after they retire? Participating in a social network where the potential is there to actually monetize one’s digital presence through their presence and engagement is an enticing one to this diverse demographic.
Why Would I Want to Join Tsu?
Tsu is a new social network, so if you’re the early adopter type who has already joined Google Plus or Ello, Tsu might interest you because of the new community being formed there. As the community is less than a month old, a majority of interesting conversations you will find are similar to the early days of Ello and Google Plus: Conversations about Tsu!
Obviously the userbase is still minuscule compared to other social networks; that being said, if you’ve searched other social networks for like-minded people who share similar interests with you, you might want to give Tsu a try and see what pops up.
If you fall into the demographic of those who can benefit the most from Tsu as described above, you should definitely keep your eye on the potential growth of the network.
Do You Think I Should Blast My Network with Tsu Invites?
So, you’ve decided to join Tsu. While it might be tempted to blast your network with Tsu invites, unless you want to lose a lot of friends, I highly recommend that you don’t do it. Post on your social networks that you joined, and because others will need an “invite” in order to join, ask them to visit your profile page if they’re interested. Share you Tsu posts on Twitter and/or Facebook, but make sure you’re not simply stating the same thing twice on these networks! A little common sense can go a long way here.
If you’re curious as to which of your friends have already joined Tsu, check out this popular Tsu group on Facebook. With more than 1,700 members as I write this, it’s probably the easiest way to see if there are any familiar faces that are already using Tsu that you should be friending or following.
So How Can I Make Money on Tsu?
Money doesn’t grow on trees. The only way to make money from Tsu is two-fold: 1) To directly attract other Tsu users to your content and 2) and to recruit “children” in hopes that they will generate royalties for their own content which you will share in. Whether Tsu is generating advertising royalty using CPC or CPM, the only way to generate ad revenue is from someone actually viewing and/or engaging with your content and seeing and/or clicking on an ad there. At the end of the day how much you will make, either directly from your own content or from your family’s network content, will come down to you and your network creating content that others will want to view and engage with. If you are posting the same thing on Tsu as you do everywhere else, your profile might not get much engagement. If you’re resharing everyone else’s content instead of your own you can imagine how the creator of the original content will probably earn more than you will for any engagement generated.
So how much money have I actually made?
Tsu is still very much in early days, but based on what royalties I have generated from the profile and content views I showed you above as well as my network of children, below is a graph showing what royalties I have generated. In approximately the 3 weeks I’ve been on the site I’ve made a cumulative $4.00. (amounts below are in US$ per day)
Any Other Advice If I Decide to Use Tsu?
Getting traction on Tsu is like getting traction on any other social network:
- You should promote your Tsu presence to your other social networks and communities (but DON’T overdo it)
- Within Tsu you should be genuinely engaging and developing relationships with similar-minded users
- You should search for and follow/like others that fit your target demographic
- Your content should ideally be unique and at least geared towards the unique Tsu community
Will Tsu still be around in a few months? Nobody knows. But, in conclusion, if you don’t have a reason to be on Tsu and simply see it as a way to make easy money, you probably don’t want to be wasting your time there. On the other hand, if you want to claim your username there in case it gets big, you might want to at least do that. This goes the same for any promising new social network.
I expect that before you read this post you already had a pre-conceived notion as to what Tsu was. Did my post change your impression? Do you disagree with what I have said? Agree? Here’s your chance to chime in: GO!
Note: Any links posted in comments to try to recruit readers of this blog post to become your children on Tsu will only showcase the behavior that is giving Tsu a bad name and will be considered spam and inappropriate. Violators will be blocked from commenting on this site eternally. This is in complete alignment with what Tsu themselves say at the top of their FAQ:
tsu.co is a community for authentic engagement. Please treat it respectfully. Users who spam or post inappropriate content will be banned in order to preserve the community.
If you want to add value to the conversation by sharing your experiences on Tsu in the comments, please do not add your Tsu link but only add your Tsu username with an @ (mine would be @nealschaffer) in your comment so that other Tsu users can engage with you directly on the platform. Thank you!