Steem is Too Philanthropic an Earner

in #steem3 years ago (edited)

One of the most beautiful aspects of Steem is that it has the potential to contribute to social vertical mobility. Which of course is a good thing.

In this day and era of super-wealthy and super-poor the “abundance” which can be generated via participating on Steem is absolutely a positive.

But at the same time for too many Steem has become an unrealistic cow to milk. A cliff the lemmings will inevitably drop off. An expectation, a habit which can not be and isn’t sustainable.


Photo by Jeremy Collamer on Unsplash

Let’s have a look at some of the rather easy ways for Steemians to earn quite a nice buck, much more than most would ever be able to generate in revenue if they were dependent on that “horrible thing” called advertising. That thing with a spend actually defined based on niche markets and their cap. That real world thing.

Earning the Easy Way on Steem

Following venues are rather easy methods for “not too shabby” authors to earn a rather mega-buck on Steem. They are basically philanthropic writing venues where anybody can earn a healthy upvote, without anybody actually needing that content. Yes, I said that right.

  1. With a little bit of effort and desire to understand Utopian’s requirements every author can write tutorials, blog articles, and guides about almost any open-source project. @Utopian-io has rather high standards (for the Steemworld), but standards lower than professional bloggers/writers may remember from for example Squidoo. Yet, the rewards tend to be a multiple.
  2. SteemSTEM: @SteemSTEM is a writing curation project which rewards great STEM contributions. While the team has rather high standards as well and it isn’t sufficient to just rewrite a Wikipedia entry, SteemSTEM is definitely a great venue for authors who want to have a regular earner. Write about what you want, as long as it’s STEM related.
  3. Curie: @Curie is the oldest and longest running writing curation project on Steem. Curie is mostly geared towards newer Steemians, under-rewarded Steemians but anybody who isn’t too stupid can easily manage multiple accounts and earn from Curie for months to come. As long as you have sufficient email addresses and every account uses different transfer memos. The latter the most common way for people to get bust with their “anonymous” alt accounts.
  4. OCD: @OCD has the same weakness as Curie. With a much lower upvote but daily up to 23 posts rewarded, OCD is also a great venue for greyhat authors. If you see a new account use the #ocd-resteem tag, you know it’s almost always an alt account trying to game OCD.

Those are probably the most prominent “upvotes” Steemians can earn, white- or greyhat, from actually good meaning projects.

There are other methods.

Curation initiatives or should we say covert basic income initiatives like Qurator and SilverGoldBotty offer everyone an upvote in return for a (small) delegation or a daily upvote. Other Steemians, especially those who do not rely on their Steem earnings may decide to make use of bidbots and thus maximize their STEEM holdings. Bidbots may at times have a negative ROI but they are the easiest and cheapest way to increase your STEEM. Invest with something you wouldn’t have earned anywhere and HODL on!


Photo by Peter Hershey on Unsplash

As somebody who believes in crypto and the positive it can have on social vertical mobility, this is of course a good thing.

May I suggest though that rather than doing the obvious and integrate the USD, you initially focus on lower ranked economies and nations. New economies like Steem have the potential to massively disrupt the status quo and directly improve social vertical mobility.

There is a reason why there are so many mobile payment apps in the Asian scene (and Africa): the unbanked demographic is massive. While we still suffer the inconvenience that most debit card issuers have pulled out, it is more likely that affluent users are capable to easily exchange without going through many expensive hoops.
Source: Yours truly in a comment thread on Introducing SteemPay

Obviously all those initiatives are positive, well-meant, and can make a difference on the lives of many. Every semi-decent author can find a venue to target on Steem and earn a decent dime. A dime most would never achieve with their own blog. As the Steemconomy further proliferates we will see always more such initiatives, or tribes, all of which basically becoming massive “circle jerks”.

Yes, circle jerks. While sometimes I may call a digger a spade, let’s call a digger a spade.

There is an inherent risk with that though. More than one risk actually.

The Internet is Fashionable

First of all the internet writing scene is one of fashions. People follow what is popular and do what is popular and works. Wait until the listicles invade Steem. Many a “professional” Steemian who isn’t too shabby an author and has some internet knowledge will follow the trends. Or the Steem Power. That’s how the internet operates and also how Steem works.


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

At the same time Steem can not yet claim to have the (average) quality of for example Medium. Steem has some great authors but Steem is not yet that venue where one goes to discover some of the best content written by known leaders, prolific authors, and thought-provokers.

An inevitable further proliferation of “circle jerks” will only contribute to the average quality of Steem staying modest. Modest because it may not be challenging enough to earn and because this is Steem and not the Bloggy/Webby Awards.

Steem Changes and the Pros Are Coming

In last 6-8 months it has become more and more common to see previously prolific authors, and $TU earners, drop in earnings. Obviously, @blocktrades not upvoting anymore has had a big impact on that but that’s not the only reason.

Much like blogging started to evolve mid last decade, Steem is also becoming an ever more professional scene and those who enjoyed the perks of the scene in the earliest days often also “didn’t bring much to the table”. By which I mean that “personal blogging” is, more often than not, not a topic which interests investors.

Give me a @krnel or @tarazkp over what you ate yesterday. Give me a @suesa or @revisesociology over your beautiful travel pictures. Unless I wouldn’t know better and forget the huge market that is video gaming, I would even say give me a writing @acidyo over a gaming @acidyo.

As time progresses Steem will see always more targeted topical demographics, niches filled often by (semi-) professional internet earners.

Niches written for by the “pros”. By those with a nose for the SP.


Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Many power-accounts are down, and unless you write to a specific demographic/topical niche that situation will become only worse. Except for those who have found a circle jerk, their ticket to a Steem basic income alike revenue stream.

Even power accounts with an actual recurring specific topic are down.

Down because it is too easy to earn on Steem and to maximize those earnings. Too easy for those who actually target the possible ventures, the available SP. Those who follow the high value upvotes. The dilution of the organic rewards Steem grew upon.

Because... Steem is too philanthropic right now. Take your own “writing order” and receive a solid upvote. You don’t even need a client to write for.

If you’re not too stupid, the upvote is almost guaranteed.

Philanthropy is Not a Viable Investment

Philanthropy is nothing which will long term increase the value of Steem. Just like most other tokens STEEM also depends on the evolution and growth of the crypto-scene. Its growth as a mature and future forward scene. Much of this is still tied to Bitcoin’s dominance. A dominance benchmarked against the current mining and investment cost to produce 1 BTC. A dominance given an actual [minimum] value by BTC’s current complexity.

As BTC dominance will eventually become always lower a benchmark, that also helped with more and more exchanges pairing directly to fiat, tokens will become ever more valued on their actual worth. Not on daytrading and HODL potential.

Medium currently struggles as a platform, struggles to become financially viable. If a user-generated content platform with known names and founders, and a team, with an actual track record, struggles... what makes you think that the content published on Steem is worth more?

Blogger didn’t become the exit many thought their hard-crafted content was worth. Blogger was only an interesting platform to acquire for Google because it opened a new, a fast-growing platform for Adsense to spread over.


Photo by Jeremy Paige on Unsplash

Vertical social mobility is not a reason for investors to invest in unless there are transactions, there is a possible return they can earn from. Unless there is a business model behind. An Adsense to Blogger. A “How to Spend It” to the Financial Times. Not max. 25% shared curation rewards. Not a short-term ROI generated from delegating to bidbots.

If Medium, despite prolific high quality content contributors, struggles chances are that the content many a Steemian writes and earns with is... over-rewarded. Unless at the very least such content can improve in quality, and the best contributors are both highlighted and rewarded accordingly again, Steem is philanthropic a place to be.

A short term earning venue waiting to implode.

The attention economy will only pay you as much attention as your content is qualitatively worth and valuable. Not as awesomely as you think it is to earn a quick buck here. As you may even have become entitled to expect to earn.


One of the struggles for the 'established' content producers is that there is no establishment to support them as most of the SP is distributed by bidbots on very little of value content.

The curation projects generally target retention of people who will only be retained if earning Steem which is impossible for as more people arrive to compete, they will not have the power to reward enough consistently. And as you mentioned, they get gamed by people targeting them.

For a couple of months, I was considered a 'high earner' but this of course disappeared as the available manual curation pool shrank into near extinction. The support I get now and the once all important engagement, has come through a mass of effort and expenditure of personal resources (time and energy) yet, it is unlikely to ever be enough to actually compete in the marketplace as it is dominated by opportunists and blind votes cast.

I don't have answers for this but, Steem is not a charity, it has to tie value to content through an organic community in the same way an algorithm may exclude content on another platform.

Many of the 'power accounts' are down because (like @guiltyparties said) they often relied on their benefactors and became complacent within the community. Many rarely engaged well with the community other than those who could add value to their post. Not all mind you.

I can't offer much but I do my best to get to as many comments as I can possibly reply to (depending on personal circumstances) because it is there that real retention can be made as it engages an audience without offering masses of Steem value. Long-term retention is in relationship and experience, not upvotes.

Yes, I would love to have more large accounts choose (the rare few who care about content do) to support me or a curation project drop a vote from time to time. But, for now, I will continue to rely heavily on the community to keep me here producing and, do my best to support other people who are thinking long-term also as I think it is the best way to make this place a power in the future markets.

In comparison to some platforms, I (and others similar) may be over-rewarded but, in relation to Steem, there is a whole slew of low-value content rewarded heavily while the real content goes begging in the streets with a community who largely walks on by. This needs to change as it is the content that will eventually set the standards and, engage the users as in time, there will not be enough SP to share to offer value to all.

Setting this process now by rewarding consistent, long-term, quality content producers will mean that those who come in will have to outperform them which will ramp up content quality again. I can't wait for the day that Trending is filled with content producers who create work that I just say wow about because it means that the system has driven quality to the top organically and that is when Steem has proved itself.

Right now, new users come in and see the low quality that earns and says, I can produce that, and they all can. It is competition at the bottom of the barrel.

Many of the 'power accounts' are down because (like @guiltyparties said) they often relied on their benefactors and became complacent within the community. Many rarely engaged well with the community other than those who could add value to their post.

Complacency, combined without the need to actually compete, is definitely one of the biggest risks. Risks preventing the content quality from becoming truly awesome because it is too easy.

... but, in relation to Steem, there is a whole slew of low-value content rewarded heavily while the real content goes begging in the streets with a community who largely walks on by thinks only about how to maximize themselves.

Fixed that for you.

I think several years ago when operating the blog network I would have paid more for one post daily from you than you earn on average every day at current market rates.

While I wouldn’t consider myself a candidate for trending because of content quality, I know how to push an idea, how to share an opinion. Despite being much newer in the scene, and having published much less on Steem, I think we are in the same basket: neither of us benefit any autovote of significance nor do we resort to other methods.

Instead... all content we push is our actual brand and reputation. The rest... that’s just us hoping that there may be some justice in this cyber-world too.

Btw, these are some early morning thoughts that came to mind from your post and they created a bit of a wall but I think your post deserved some comments so I made up for a few who should have commented but didn't ;)

Hehe. Thanks.

I didn’t expect too many comments on this. Unless part of a discussion circle already, calling a spade a spade isn’t too appreciated too often. And when, more often than not it finds appreciation with a silent crowd not truly willing to risk putting themselves out there and that also possibly at the cost of being downvoted by more sensitive souls.

I'd classify Steem as randomly-philanthropic.... we've all gotten bigger upvotes for posts or comments that weren't any better than our usual... and applications like @dtube and @dlive... well, quality isn't even a question there.... you have more luck producing shorter videos consistently over great videos.

Who is the target market of Steem? Is it content creators? Is it content-consumers? Or are we all just statistics to entice Entrepreneurs to create their own SMT? Given the terrible searching options, I don't think it's content-consumers, and the random payouts regardless of quality, I don't think it's content-creators....

Personally though, I've got a couple of ideas to help Steem reach content consumers... but first I need to learn how to code...

“Randomlyphilanthropic”, love it!

Technically Steem is a social experiment, right? Otherwise [cough] Steem’s UX is poor by design [/cough].

There are already several open source which make setting up an own vertical easier than before and almost code-less.

That is very true... but to set up what I want to set up, the way I want it... I'll have to code it.

Maybe there may be other ways to get going and find validation. Ways “not waterfall”. Maybe a MVP is hackable with much less effort.

You wouldn’t want to code for months at something which nobody uses.

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In the current state of Steemit, I think that it is more important to have a good marketing strategy than writing quality post to be succesful in Steemit.

There is so much publications in Steemit that there is very difficult to get your post noticed without using having a big follower base. Bidbots exploit that, and there are also some accounts that sells resteems.

It is important to fight against those services and promote curation trails that looks for good quality content.

Aha, I see. So that's why a lot of sites are branching out of Steemit. Hmmm. 🤔🤔🤔

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Is there anything better than Steemit? Steemit is getting diluted but what's the ratio to retention? 🤔

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There probably isn’t anything better yet right now. Which makes it much more important to not milk the cow until it’s dried up.

I know quite some bloggers who are here specifically because projects like the ones mentioned allow them to make a much better and easier dime. So I’m going to go a different angle here and say that retention is higher than among people who start a blog because they heard you can earn from blogging. And then realize maintenance, hosting issues, and nobody clicks their ads [because they can’t generate sufficient traffic to make $3 CPM matter].

How do we keep Steemit from drying up then? Aren't Steem created by witnesses?

On another note, I wonder why Steem isn't doing as good as EOS in terms of cryptocurrency to USD value.

Your point on bloggers is the same reason why I write on sites like this. 😂

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Because EOS and STEEM are different, not necessarily similar platforms, with different functionality. As such any comparison is not applicable. Also: hype.

Hmmm ok. 👍

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