Last week, Bitcoin.com reported on Supload, a new image-hosting service that pays users in bitcoin for views on their uploaded images. While the service has been well received by bitcoiners, some users have raised concerns that the public at large is not sharing their enthusiasm, stereotyping it as “just another affiliate referral website.” Bitcoin.com investigates how bitcoin businesses can overcome this public perception.
Public Perception of Affiliate Sites
User ‘Vigilante_Gamer’ wrote on Reddit that “Most of the time when I’ve shared images from Supload, it was received just fine.” However, one instance his post drew negative reaction causing him to delete the post and stop using the service “unless the public perception changes.” He explained that “People in the thread considered it a ‘shady’ website simply because they checked out the site and saw that it said ‘earn bitcoin!’”
The negative reaction he received was not bitcoin-specific, but rather a perception that Supload is “just another affiliate referral website,” which is why it appeared shady. A user told him that “People typically spam their referral links all over the place hoping to get them popular so they can make money.” Others on this thread agreed that affiliate sites appear to say “click this so I can make money” rather than “I want to share something with you.”
The Revenue-Sharing Model
Arguably, Supload is not an affiliate website since it hosts images and shares advertising revenues with its users. Vigilante_Gamer compared its revenue-sharing model to Youtube, which hosts videos and pays users a portion of their revenue as well. However, the analogy failed to resonate with some users. The response he received was:
It’s perception. I see someone posting something from an affiliate website when there are plenty of website out there that do the SAME thing just as well if not better? I view it as a cash grab. Most people view it that way.
While Youtube is not without its own spamming or worse problems, it’s perceived by the public as a “good video host – not because it makes money” said one of his detractors, adding that “Aside from big YouTubers, not many people are making money off it.”
With over a billion users worldwide, Youtube is often subject to crooks wanting to exploit its platform for monetary gains. The difference is that while Supload users want to earn bits from their uploads, most Youtube spammers aim higher than the small amount of revenue-share provided by Google. Thus, they market more aggressively.
Some of Youtube’s problems date back many years. In 2009, Kaspersky Lab detected a spam campaign with a link to YouTube that featured an unsolicited video advertisement. In 2014, Trend Micro discovered malicious ads on the site that can lead to malware exploit kits. In 2015, Symantec found a trend in an SMS spam campaign directing users to a YouTube video with a link to an adult website.
Patience is a Virtue
Changing public opinion takes a long time and requires educational outreach. Wendy Salomon, vice president of reputation management at Nielsen, explained that in many cases the reputation of a given brand is directly tied to its industry.
It may take some time before the public stops linking startups like Supload with affiliate sites in their minds. However, Salomon believes that individual companies can overcome poor industry reputation “by focusing on their individual reputation and telling their company’s unique story.”
For Supload users and bitcoin promoters alike, focusing on high quality is the best tactic. Continued, steady promotions of high-quality materials have dual benefits. Not only do you make more money from the larger number of prospects, but you also help normalize that brand or product for others in the future. Mike Reilly, Supload co-founder and website programmer, told Bitcoin.com:
We are striving to be more than just an image host and want to become an entire platform that will enable users globally to monetize any type of content that they own. I believe that once the future updates are released, and as the site grows, it will become more clear to people that we are not an “affiliate link” type of website.
Do you think bitcoin companies can soon break the ‘affiliate site’ stereotypes? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Youtube, Nielsen
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