How do we earn the most curation rewards? Why do some Steem authors get upvotes so fast? The answer is using automatic upvoters especially on popular authors that guarantee huge curation rewards.
Autovoters like the one I just started using at https://steemvoter.com/ ensure that I get my vote in right away on the authors I am following which maximizes curation rewards because we are using a square root curve on a linear rewards system. Those that vote early get more rewards while those voting late earn much less. Before hard fork 19, this was less of an issue because of the exponential rewards and linear curation rewards where upvoting a post with a lot of upvotes already would give the maximum curation payout which is how we got a ton of high value posts for a few authors while most earned close to zero. Now, upvoting early works the best with an autovoter which seems to be motivating a lot of us to start using this strategy.
What Do We Do with Automatic Votes and Curation?
My hope in talking about the power and limitations of automatic upvoting is that we find a way forward together that is most helpful to each of us. While I refused on principle to use an auto upvoter for my first months on Steem, seeing the earnings and being on the receiving end of so many automatic votes changed my mind.
Using an automatic upvoter such as https://streemian.com/profile/fanbase allows upvoters to earn WAY more curation rewards than doing it manually! Streemian even has an option to follow all upvotes by another account which leads to huge waves of votes automatically like those on @curie upvotes. How much?
Autovotes Earn 2x to 6x More!
The examples here and the data below show the power of using an automatic upvoter that votes early and selecting authors with the highest probability of a high payout to maximize earnings. I first discovered this in my @curie tutorial at https://steemit.com/curation/@jerrybanfield/earn-steem-for-finding-an-undervalued-steemit-post-and-submitting-to-curie-1500598670-0433114. In this tutorial, I discovered that @curie was earning 6 times as much in curation as me using all auto upvotes versus my manual curation. The data here explains exactly how that is possible using two examples to begin followed by a table with author comparisons.
First, the example curation rewards payout in Steem Power below shows one upvoter that just changed to an automated strategy from manual voting previously. Note that this is on two different posts with almost the same voting power with the second post earning more Steem Power despite having less in total rewards and an equal vote on both. Voting early automatically guarantees at least double curation rewards most of the time if the total from the post is $20+ and the automatic upvote comes in at 45 minutes or less.
- 0.048 SP earned for voting MANUALLY LATE on https://steemit.com/upvotable/@jerrybanfield/there-must-be-some-kinda-way-outta-here-in-upvotable-26 late on a post earning about $160 in rewards.
- 0.087 SP earned for voting EARLY AUTOMATICALLY on https://steemit.com/steem/@jerrybanfield/facebook-bitcoin-steem on a post earning about $100 SBD in rewards.
In this second example, we see the return on a high value post voted late manually by one upvoter when compared to an early automatic upvote by another upvoter. The data is estimated in the second case because I adjusted the reward for differences in Steem Power of the two voters.
- 0.017 SP earned for voting MANUALLY LATE on https://steemit.com/witness/@jerrybanfield/meet-steem-s-top-10-witnesses
- 0.113 SP (ESTIMATED EARNINGS) for voting on the same post as above within 30 minutes of release with an auto voter.
Voting early maximizes curation rewards earned from upvotes as we can see for ourselves when we test out Streemian or @steemvoter. Those of us like me now using automatic upvotes earn on average 2 to 6 times as much in curation rewards when compared to the majority voting manually. I made the switch after 3 months of refusing to use auto voters and then seeing this data changed my mind. As long as automatic upvotes are allowed, then it only makes sense to use them to earn the most!
The Benefits and Limitations
I receive huge motivation to do more posts of the highest quality because of knowing how many users have added me to automatic upvoters. Knowing this also helps me to schedule about the same number and quality of posts each day because when setting an autovoter the number of posts the author makes per day is an important calculation. Automatic voting is a huge benefit for authors to earn a consistent reward for effort instead of results because with more helpful posts comes more results.
The huge problem with this strategy is that it is very difficult for most of us as authors to get on an autovoter because of the data I show below. If this is not a big enough limitation, voting automatically also allows authors to post complete crap and earn a lot of money for it as some have argued I did by earning $300+ posting a picture in my boxers. When an author devoting all day to write posts on Steemit that then earns $1 or $2 checks the trending feed to find authors posting the same thing earning $100 to $500, it provides good motivation to either quit or figure out how it is possible.
Another limitation with auto upvotes is that we may actually earn less from our readers and lower the amount of views we get. Part of the motivation to read a post is to decide whether to upvote it or not. When we already upvoted, why bother checking that author's blog? How often will we remove the vote from our bot to do a higher vote when the author does an amazing post?
Perhaps the worst part about auto voting is that authors may actually be earning a lot less for high quality posts versus manual voting. Before the percentage of upvotes on my posts shifted to so many being automatic, I used to get a lot more high value votes and actually earned more than with so many automatic votes. While I am very grateful that so many authors set me on automatic votes, the total payout often is much less for me versus manual curation because of the autovoter percentage versus manual.
For example, one author was kind enough to add me to a 10% automatic upvote on all my posts. That same author previously was voting about 20% of my posts up 100% meaning that overall assuming the same voting ratio, the difference is 50% less in total earnings. With my earnings being enough, this is fine for me but how does this impact authors barely making enough to consider Steem a hobby? Before setting up automatic upvoting, I often would vote posts by authors I enjoy following up by 100% manually giving as much as $38 at one point and as little as $2 recently after loaning my voting power out temporarily with https://www.minnowbooster.net/market which will be finished in the next few weeks! When I am putting that same author on an auto voter at 10% or 20%, that author often ends earning about half of what they were receiving before as I can see with my voting power consistently being higher than with manual voting.
Finally, the #1 benefit and downside to using an auto upvoter is not wasting voting power or having to even check Steem to keep earning curation rewards. What I love about using @steemvoter is that now I can go on vacation for two weeks if I want to and I will still keep earning more curation rewards than I was by actively curating every day manually. While it is nice to maximize my earnings, this is so powerful compared to what I was doing before that I would argue it is significantly lowering the value of manual curation and even reducing the amount of posts we are reading on Steem.
When we combine all these ideas together, the curation rewards get crazy for some authors!
Auto Upvoting Top Authors Early Pays ... Really Well
If auto upvotes were spread all over Steem evenly, there might be no point in talking about this. What actually happens is a lot of the voting power is aimed at posts from top authors because voting early on posts with the highest likelihood of getting the highest earnings equals the most curation rewards. See for yourself using the data I collected from one upvoter cleaning up on curation rewards with auto upvotes on popular authors with established followings frequently in the trending page and on what I call upcoming authors with less overall average upvotes. Note that the upvoter used in the examples below has much more more voting power than the upvoter used in the examples above. The data below shows curation rewards per vote in Steem Power.
In summary, upvoting posts from popular authors early with an autovoter consistently brings upvoters 3 to 5 times more than upvoting authors not consistently earning $100 a post. The maximum rewards come from upvoting popular authors that have a high percentage of manual votes especially from whales which is why recently my posts have been ideal for earning curation rewards with an autovoter.
When competition from automatic voters gets too high on an author relative to the manual upvotes coming later, the rewards tend to drop a bit which is why the earnings are so good upvoting me today. I have been hesitant to make this post after preparing for it for months because just mentioning this may ruin what is currently is a perfect situation for curators voting my posts up automatically. It is worth the risk to me because we need to look at how this is impacting our whole community.
What Do We Do?
Currently our curation rewards system is heavily biased in favor of upvoting popular authors early that have the best chance of getting later manual votes while authors not on autovoter radars struggle to earn anything. Naturally downvoters can try and get the auto upvotes removed by threatening users or downvoting posts on an individual author to try to ruin the curation rewards. With users setting an auto upvoter and forgetting it, this strategy becomes a big waste of time because these upvoters do not even notice all of this happening.
For those of us actively watching our votes and rewards, it is easy for us to adapt our votes to wherever the highest curation rewards are coming from as competition goes up on some authors too much to make a good reward while new authors emerge with few auto upvotes. In the worst case for a downvoter trying to fight the existing system, an author could actually end up receiving increasing support from upvoters rallying against a downvoter resulting in the author earning even more upvotes after a downvoting war than before.
I am not sure what the ideal solution is which has motivated me to just bring this up and trust the discussion to help us see if this is how we think our curation rewards system should work or if it needs changes. As a witness, a meaningful part of my service is to contribute to the discussion about how Steem is working and to help us consider if this is how we really want it or whether we should make changes in a future hard fork. While I love the equality rewards system compared to pre hard fork 19 system, I think being aware of the bias towards automatic upvoters now is worth considering as we prepare for new updates in hard fork 20.
Thank you very much for reading this post which was written specifically to respond to hundreds of reader comments asking for insights on how posts get 500 votes often within an hour of release and how to maximize curation rewards!
PS: Witness votes are the most important votes we make on Steem because one vote for a witness lasts indefinitely! Would you please make a vote for jerrybanfield as a witness or set jerrybanfield as a proxy to handle all witness votes at https://steemit.com/~witnesses because when we make our votes, we feel in control of our future together? Thank you to the 853 accounts voting for me as a witness, the 197.3M VESTS assigned from users trusting me to make all witness votes by setting me as proxy, and @followbtcnews for making these .gif images!