Monetizing The Fediverse: How ActivityPub Creators Can Pay Their Bills

United States currency featuring 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 dollar bills.

An excellent video by @Techaltar@mas.to highlights how open systems helped free the Internet in the past, & how ActivityPub can free folks using social networks in the present.

Tech Altar was also able to conduct interviews on Nebula with the:

I have not yet watched the interviews (I just subscribed to Nebula to watch them later on). However, Tech Altar asked an essential question around the 20-minute mark near the end of the video: how can someone monetize their content within the Fediverse‽

Tech Altar mentioned that creating video content is expensive, & the video above costs “thousands of euros” to make, so he is currently skeptical about this working within the Fediverse overall (aside from promoting links upon the platforms themselves).

Fortunately, there are already several ways people can generate revenue within the Fediverse, some of which can be mimicked by centralized players.

Forget Google & Find A Sponsor

For video content creators like Tech Altar, ads are the easiest way to generate video revenue. Instead of relying on a random ad from YouTube to pay the bills, they could offer sponsored in-video ads apart from the video.

Here is an excellent example from Simon Whistler, who had to rely on an in-video sponsor for this video due to YouTube frowning on the subject being discussed (note: video is Not Safe For Work so use headphones when watching).

In-video sponsors are something that can easily be mimicked upon other Fediverse content platforms like Peertube, Castopod, etcetera, & as a bonus, they would not have to share that sponsored revenue with a billion dollar company.

Although briefly displayed in the video above, another way content creators can generate revenue within the Fediverse is via affiliate links (which have been an option for content creators for years).

A great example is a video by Joe Scott (where he discusses five reasons against visiting Mars), who mentions an affiliate company at the beginning and near the end (who also happens to sponsor the video he created).

Unlike a sponsored video, where a creator is probably only paid a lump sum for mentioning a product or service, affiliate links would allow a content creator to earn a commission every time someone signs up for a service.

Let’s Get Physical (Via Promo Products)

If sponsored videos & affiliate links are not appealing, content creators can also sell physical products that resonate with their audience, which Kurzgesagt has done successfully.

This can be anything from hats to clothes or calendars that help promote awareness of the content creator offline, which can reach new people unaware of the content creator’s existence.

Nowadays, there are numerous companies creators can partner with to create the physical products on their behalf (a quick search on Google or DuckDuckGo will help anyone locate a reputable company), which makes it easier for creators to focus on creating content for their viewers instead of worrying about making & shipping physical goods.

Power From The People

Lastly, content creators can request direct support from those who love their videos, podcasts, essays, etc. Direct support from users is a common practice within the Fediverse & is how projects like Mastodon, Pixelfed & Misskey can fund development of their respective software projects.

This practice is widespread among content creators (especially those producing videos). Content creators can encourage people to support their work by mentioning their names in the video as producers (instead of merely supporters), as demonstrated by Cool Worlds below (near the end of the video).

What About Protecting My Content‽

Yes, content theft has always been an issue on the internet, & it is a massive problem regardless of whether a social network or service is closed, open, centralized, or federated.

The problem has only grown worse with the presence of “affordable” Artificial Intelligence, & many content creators are understandably hesitant about uploading their creations upon platforms lacking a central authority figure who can quickly resolve copyright infringement issues.

Fortunately, there are companies like Viral DRM who specialize in protecting content from infringement, & who probably could easily adjust to servicing clients within the Fediverse (as they would contact the hosting company with legal papers).

Should Content Creators Embrace The Fediverse‽

With social networks like Threads & Flipboard entering the Fediverse sooner rather than later, content creators will soon have the option of reaching a large audience without having to maintain accounts upon major social networks.

As the Fediverse grows over time, we will probably see major centralized players begin to activate AcitivityPub on their respective sites, ultimately empowering people to create content on their terms.

Content creators should consider hosting their content on sites they ultimately control instead of relying primarily on multi-billion dollar corporations who can end their revenue stream for any reason.

👨🏾‍💻 by @darnell@darnellclayton.com 🔛 @darnell@darnell.day

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