7 Days to $0: Those Worthless Old Steemit PostssteemCreated with Sketch.

in #steemit3 years ago (edited)

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A friend of mine is thinking about releasing his book chapter by chapter on Steemit. At first, I thought it a great idea, but recently I had second thoughts when I realized that upvotes after 7 days = $0 to authors, meaning there is no passive residual income. The side effect of this is that Steemit encourages authors to post frequent content over content of long-lasting value. Plus my friend would lose (a little) control once his book is locked on the Steem blockchain forever.

This post considers the risks and rewards of posting long-lasting content from the standpoint of residual income.

And to anticipate a couple objections from the outset:

  • Yes, older posts have value as they continue to benefit readers.
  • Yes, frequent posts can be high-quality and of long-lasting value.

That said, I'm more concerned with how authors can justify spending two weeks of time researching and writing a high-quality post that will still have considerable value five years later -- when that post earns them $0 after 7 days.

Please hit me up in the comments, tell me where I'm wrong, or just generally help expand my understanding.

How Authors Monetize Posts

Before turning attention to Steemit, it's worth considering how authors make money without it. Here are a few common ways people make money online with their content. They can also combine these approaches into broader strategies.

  • Advertisements: While most of us hate online ads, for content producers they provide a continual source of possible income. If viewers see the content a year later, a little bit of ad-revenue comes the author's way. Then there is YouTube, where well-produced video could see a spike in views and revenue a year later if the topic is suddenly trendy.
  • Sponsorships: A sponsor pays for permanent or semi-permanent placement on the post. This is popular with podcasts and could apply to written posts. Podcasters typically do not want to go back and edit older episodes to replace the sponsor.
  • Affiliate Links: The author recommends a product or service to the reader using a link and receives a small commission (at no cost to the reader). When done respectfully, this is great way for readers to support authors. (On the flip side, the author loses the reader's trust when indiscriminately linking to crap, or shilling). A great example = British Man Earns $700/Month Writing Fish Tank Reviews.
  • Patronage: Asking the reader directly for money. This can come in the form of a Patreon subscription, crowd funding, posting a Bitcoin address, PayPal (ugh)...
  • Branding: Authors can also expand their brand by using the posts to guide people to other products or services they provide: t-shirts, e-books, online courses, consulting...

Where Steemit Fails

Steemit fails an author looking for a long-term monetization strategy in a number of ways:

  • $0 After 7 Days: Already covered. But consider this: Today your a minnow, tomorrow you're not. All those gems you posted last year -- photos, poems, essays -- are still generating views and upvotes. In the past, this post was valued at $0.01. Today, you're receiving a steady trickle of upvotes. At this point, you've basically donated your body of work to Steemit, Inc for content that draws an audience and keeps an audience.
  • Cannot Edit Posts After 7 Days: While this has many benefits from a blockchain perspective, there are significant drawbacks for an author to consider. Let's say you...
    • Created a killer list of resources for people starting website. The SEO rankings are fantastic and people are able to find you. However, a year later some of the links no longer work or better options emerged. Ideally, you'd just go into that page and update the content and retain all hard-earned SEO ranking. Can't do this on Steemit.
    • Stumbled into creating a popular series of posts with links to products (e.g. on Amazon) you've used an believe in. Can't retroactively update those post links.
    • Created a few posts with long shelf lives. Can't retroactively add other ways for readers to support you: advertisements (probably a good think), affiliate links, patronage, and branding.
  • Cannot Resteem Posts After 7 Days: @doodlebear pointed this out in the comments (I didn't know this). Resteeming is like retweeting -- basically sharing a post with your followers. When the post cannot be shared, the post essentially gets buried and it's hard for anyone to discover it. This points again to an extreme bias on Steemit toward frequency and recency.

Making Steemit Work

When considering monetizing content that has long-term value, Steemit primarily works when it is a supplemental strategy, not the primary strategy. And even when used as a supplemental strategy, some care is needed to make Steemit work. Mostly this comes with careful planning that leverages the short-term incentives Steemit favors alongside other long-term residual incomes that keep the posts value alive...

  • Create Your Own Website/Blog: Optimize it for residual income strategies and direct readers to it with links in your Steemit posts.
  • Set Up Income Strategies in Advance: Patreon account, affiliate programs... And link to them in your Steemit posts (preferably in a way that doesn't become a bloated list of links at the bottom of every post).
  • Cultivating Steemit Presence: Building your reputation in advance of your launch. This happens basically by participating in the network: commenting, upvoting, posting. There are tons of posts on this subject to look up. I'm no expert here.
  • Maximize Steemit Payout: Essentially, posts (or series of posts) become a campaign, possibly with advertising budgets. This includes bid bots, curation guilds, possibly currying upvotes from whales in advance... Again, there are a lot of posts out their explaining his.

This supplemental approach is currently popular for a YouTuber, who's Steemit posts include both YouTube and dTube links. They get an initial flush of income from Steemit/dTube, but receive that and more on YouTube with residual income a year later when the SALT token takes off and people discover the video explaining what SALT is.

For older work you have laying around, you can use Steemit to recycling platform. Simply cash-in on older work that's no longer generating any income, but might have a second life and audience on Steemit. Combined with the strategies from above, you just might be able to re-boot the project.

Can Steemit Change?

Of course it can. What I'm less clear on is why thre is a 7-day limit on upvotes that pay out. I did a little research on the topic and the best I came up with is this GitHub discussion:

(mvandeberg) ... The 7 day payout was chosen because 99%+ of votes on content happen in the first 7 days. There are a couple percentage points that happen between day 6 and 7. I don't want to cut into that time too much. This lockout time should be the minimal amount of time needed to moderate pending payouts. We had intended this to be just long enough for bots to moderate and then have the comment get paid.

I believe this is something Steemit should change. I'm guessing there is some complexity involved in keeping posts active forever -- any post could be eligible for trending if there is a big surge in valuable upvotes and comments on an old post. It also means a lower level to keep track of upvotes to pay out.

Nothing worth doing is easy.


I'll propose my alternatives in a future post...

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I am publishing a book in passages here myself and I don't see that as a big problem. Two things need to be considered:

  1. You don't publish in chapters but in small passages (400-600 words), so a reader who finds it after weeks or longer there is a good chance there are fresh passages younger than one week.
  2. As you wrote yourself, you have to publish continuously, so when the first book is finished, you publish the next one. So, over time you can collect a readership.

What I would find more important is the possibility to resteem old content. Currently, that is limited to 7 days as well and the consequence is that old but good content can't be rediscovered.

I will follow you now.

Oustanding points. I didn't realize that about resteeming -- hope you don't mind I added that to my post (with credit given).

I like the idea of a page-by-page approach for building audience, reputation, and the account... The book then becomes a springboard for your Steemit life. It will help you with everything you post afterwards.

For someone who want's to post a book and then sit back, Steemit has big drawbacks.

You got me wondering: How easy is it for people to start reading your book from the beginning? The current view of someone's blog can't be sorted, excludes resteems, or even filter by tags. Furthering this idea that older content doesn't matter.

hope you don't mind I added that to my post (with credit given).

Suit yourself;-)

How easy is it for people to start reading your book from the beginning? The current view of someone's blog can't be sorted, excludes resteems, or even filter by tags. Furthering this idea that older content doesn't matter.

Yeah, this is really crappy here and you do point on something I haven't thought about: Adding a link to the 1st part in every passage.

What I do is adding two links with one to the next passage and one to the prior one. I also use the same title and only vary the number of the passage, so you can find the passages directly via changing the URL (for advanced users..). Problem here is that berniesanders doesn't like me and has flagged my content several times. So I had to post it again, which results in a new URL, but that's I guess a special problem^^ And last but not least there are search engines. My book is a translation and when someone searches for it he finds my translation. This means, you can also search for a specific passage. But of course, that won't work for a stand-alone project.

hey, I just found out that you can get yourself a nice utopian upvote if you make the book open source and put it on github. Not sure if that only counts for translations, but you never know. See here

I know I'm late here lol, but I have started using the coffee Source link at the end of my posts. It gives them a way of checking out your older posts collected in one place at least. Not the best fix, but I'm hoping it helps people catch up on expired posts. Example. https://coffeesource.net/lordsnek/

You definitely have to be careful what you post on steemit - this is very much my secondary blog, my main Blog - revisesociology- is over at WordPress.... as with most things the twenty most popular posts account for a significant chunk of the traffic, and so I refine these every month/ year etc... and I can structure it with pages, it's so much better. Effectively I earn for years after the original post as traffic means ad revenue.

Steemit, with it's 7 day pay-out thing would be terrible for anyone with educational content.... for those with a more journalistic style, it can work, or just streem of consciousness/ journal type material.

Or as they guy below says... serialisations are a good way of organizing things on here.

Don't forget this is still in its experimental phases... so it will change and to my mind it basically needs become like a word press clone, there's a good reason why WP powers half the internet, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it I say.

P.S. If you power up to 5K SP (OK that's a LOT of money) you can actually earn yourself a very decent income on here... I'm not doing too badly with a 1.3 K SP invest.

Thank you for confirming! For me, the passive residual income is key.

I agree --- Steemit is definitely in its experimental phase, which is why it's so exciting. When I can see how powerful it is now, I can imagine it being unbelievable in the future. For me, allowing upvotes to payout after 7 days would allow minnows to build a body of work that effectively becomes a long tail. While each post doesn't earn a lot, collectively they can add up. (Content discovery would need to improve considerably on the website.) So if you write poems or scifi and someone really likes your poems and starts reading your old ones, they can just keep upvoting.

Where Steemit really rocks right now is the community. I've had more quality discussions here than anywhere else on the internet in the last 15 years. It reminds me of my early days with a blog in 2000-2003.

On the community front check out @abh12345's curation contest and those involved with that, they're a good bunch of people, also @anomadsoul is very community minded. I could go on, but those two especially.

Sean I just did a google search for steemit and passive income because it is flawed as it stands. Thanks for posting this, Added my valueless upvote.

What a downer. Would be interested to know if this still is in effect. Can't find anything to the contrary. How very disappointing. When I first learned about Steem/Steemit I clearly saw it as a great way to monetize stuff in the long run - contrary to the ad-driven marketplace on YouTube and elsewhere on the web. If content creators really had the incentive to create good quality for the long haul, that would make Steem/Steemit quite powerful vs the ad-driven networks. But it seems I was mistaken. And this analysis was right, https://medium.com/chain-cloud-company-blog/platforms-pt-2-there-is-no-free-money-on-steemit-and-golos-40152d418723 : Steemit is an ad-driven network.

There's something incredibly flawed about rewarding new content at the cost of losing long term quality, which points in the direction of Steemit being not so much different than making it anywhere else on the web, if not an outright scam, where the investors can cash out early, at the cost of creators.

I agree with what was said. Suddenly Steemit seems much like a dayjob with a salary than the step towards financial and artistic freedom, many online creators seek.

I do wonder, if it wouldn't be possible to build a genuine blockchain-based social network/video sharing network, but in combination with a subscription based model, which made sure the cash flowed from viewers/readers to the creators whose content was most popular/used on the network, but also accounted for production value or artistic value and other factors which make something valuable for the human race. Without compromising users' privacy.

I feel your disappointment. It stopped me in my tracks with a couple of my projects. Now I'm building websites around my content. I'll eventually crosspost on Steemit once I've had a chance to build up those accounts, but only as a supplemental step or a funnel with links back to my websites.

Another side effect of this 7 Days to $0 is that it effectively kills curation. I think of curation as people sifting through all the trash to pull out the gems. On Steemit, that only pays if someone does it with recent content. And yet, at this point, it's undeniable that 99.9% of the best content on the Steem blockchain is older than 7 days. And it's also true that 99.9% of recent posts are trash. So there's not much to curate.

Unfortunately, I don't hear a big clamor around here to change it, so it's probably not anywhere on the Steemit roadmap.

That said, I believe the value of Steemit is the community. It's an excellent place to engage in thoughtful conversations with people. Just don't expect to get rich. And don't spend a ton of time producing high-quality content just for Steemit. It's better to generally build your reputation with thoughtful comments (like the one you left here) with other people. It will build your reputation score, your following, and it just might make you a little money here and there.

And remember, whatever you post here is on the blockchain FOREVER. You can't delete it.

Oh, and welcome to Steemit!

really good post
you are right dear

Very well said my friend. Thanks for this post. Steemit will definitely change their someone features. It's need to change. Blessings to you man 😊

This post has received a 4.08% upvote from @lovejuice thanks to @seanlloyd. They love you, so does Aggroed. Please be sure to vote for Witnesses at https://steemit.com/~witnesses.

Thank you so much for this post. After doing days and days of research I've just now learned about the "7 days to $0" thing.

What a total deal breaker.

The whole point of getting a creative project online is that it will (hopefully) generate passive income for years to come; that it will keep generating value over time as more and more people discover it. I was really excited to get my comic on Steemit, but if content is only valued here for 7 days, there's really no point in me participating.

This, and I am tired of trying to figure out all the hidden rules and cryptic voting algorithms. XD

Thank you again, for saving me the disappointment before I set up shop!

It's really frustrating, I know. It's like there's a huge amount of promise in front of you with one fatal flaw. I'm amazed at how little I've found written up about this. So I think I'll continue to explore the subject more in future posts.

Plus I think this 7 days limit completely screws up curating -- makes it more like hourly wage work instead of trying to find the real gems. It takes longer to find gems than the last 7 days.

I have some project of my own I trying to figure out right now in terms of how to best use Steemit vs my a project website & blog.

Steemit could still be a good place for you to tell people about your content and direct them elsewhere. It's why a lot of folks still post to YouTube, even when dTube exists.

Best wishes!

It takes longer to find gems than the last 7 days.

Exaaactly. With the 7-day limit Steemit is more like a news site, isn't it. It's rewarding to post and curate content relevant to current events.

I think the platform could work if you already have a large number of followers who already have a lot of SP. But probably not so great about building a following from scratch. I donno, Steemit is a really really cool idea, but a lot would have to change before I consider investing time and effort here.

I also wish you luck with integrating it into your creative presence on the web! Maybe you'll discover a totally new paradigm and we can all copy you. :D

This post is 8 days old and we upvoted it. Went from $1.04 to ... $1.04
Shoot, you're right, it's only 7 days now. Thought it was 10.

Haha! I appreciate the upvote, anyway! The good news is upvotes after 7 days don't decrease your voting power.

didn't know that, thx. what about upvotes today, for an article over 7 days old? Assuming that doesn't get paid either, bc the whole article is what deals out the rewards?