The other day I was browsing through our merchandise here on Hive, looking for something to buy.
I was in a main aisle, high traffic area, we call it the trending page, I was expecting to find something I like, and I did, but I didn't buy it.
It caught my eye, I picked it up, starting reading the product. It was a development post. At the end was a question: "What have you built for Hive today?"
I thought about leaving my answer but instead put the product down, went back to browsing the merchandise.
"What have I built for Hive today?"
As a seasoned veteran content creator on Hive — someone who has been with this through thick and thin since close to the start — you'd probably expect me to say: "Nothing. I haven't built anything."
My answer though was simple. A fan base. I've spent years attempting to build a following/fan base.
That's something we all have in common.
Everyone here wants someone to take an interest in their product.
I offer arts, entertainment, stories both from life and fictional, commentary, thoughts, opinions. In my mind, nothing is worthless. I'll do short form, long form, middle form, I'll invent a form, and whatever else I feel like doing. A little something for everyone; hopefully.
All of it is intentionally designed to get attention. That's what we do in this business. That's why these products exist.
I'm one product on one shelf, sitting next to other products. Hive is much like a massive department store. I suppose if I was actually utilizing one of these communities, the community would be the department my product could be found in.
In theory, the customer walks through that front door and eventually finds their way to me, picks me up, looks at me, if I'm what they want, they vote. Done deal. Transaction complete. Share a few words. See you next time. Have a nice day.
That consumer has room for more products so they go fill their baskets.
Everything can be found in this store, plus more on the way, since so many are working towards making onboarding easier while others are attempting to attract more products/content creators, daily.
This department store has a lot of departments. A lot of shelves. Plenty of products. More on the way.
Our aisles are empty.
Products are collecting dust.
More and more people working on getting more and more products on these shelves. Working feverishly, day in, day out. Filling those shelves.
That costs a lot of money to fill a department store. Each and every one of us content creators is potential money out the door; but I held on to my earnings and then some.
The aisles are empty. That means no new consumer money is coming in the door. We're great at creating products and filling the shelves but refusing to sell it is the fastest way to bankruptcy.
Content is a product we refuse to sell.
Severe lack of dedicated paying consumers.
For nearly four years I've watched people talking about onboarding. They never bring up the role of the consumer/curator. Always focusing on attracting more creators.
Talking about retention. "How do we keep these people around?"
Like most products, many seem to expire. Why? Nobody around to buy their product in time. Not enough consumers. Empty aisles.
I'm around still today because I spent years and years building. I like to respond to everyone as promptly as possible. There was a time, back in the day, I simply could not keep up with the inflow of comments reaching my blog. These days the blog is quieter than usual but the numbers are still much higher than average.
Majority of my following came here to produce content and hopefully earn. Pick fifty random names from the list, you'll probably find a blog of sorts. Many of these content producers leave for various reasons; rarely sticking around to simply consume. I think majority of the new folks who've decided to follow my blog since the Steem/Hive split are also hoping to find success here as a content creator. I wish them luck.
If our followers are struggling content creators on their way out the door, that just leads to more struggling content creators since the fan base is dwindling down. Everyone here has followers who've gone silent. Not good for business.
Many new creators come along, produce their content, scratch their heads, wonder where everyone is. Many seem to want that big juicy whale vote or my watered down but still tastes good orca vote.
What is more valuable?
a) One $10.00 vote
b) 1000 votes worth a penny
Even though the value on the surface is equal, the 1000 customers is far more valuable than one customer.
There are a few big whale votes out there but certainly not enough to go around, especially if there was a sudden influx of new creators. Many folks give up when success can't be found, plus in general this content creation gig is no easy feat and takes years to get off the ground.
At this point there are only about 300 orcas. That's only 300 customers, and even fewer whales. New users will want to find success. Thousands of us already established want to continue as well and be successful.
Our content is a product we refuse to sell. Attracting creators but refusing to market the platform and content to paying consumers is much like hiring a performer but forgetting to put butts in the seats that surround the stage. Staking HIVE tokens then voting is how the consumer buys our product.
If you look at everywhere else in the arts/entertainment/information industry, you'll have thousands of consumers to every one content creator.
Look around. Where are the consumers? Why are there thousands of posts and barely any comments under majority of them? This community focuses on attracting more and more creators. The role of the consumers is almost always overlooked, yet when you have a product, the consumer plays the most important role.
People hit 'like' buttons all day. They spend hours writing comments under articles and videos. Thousands of people daily donate to content creators. They buy subscriptions. Always spending money. Hive offers them a better deal.
The consumer no longer has to throw their money away. The consumer gets consumer rewards; they get paid to consume, provided they paid, much like buying a membership. The cost of that membership is however much they want to pay. They can have their money back if the token doesn't tank. They were going to burn that money anyway so it's no real loss. Quite similar to charging up a prepaid debit card, then slowly tipping over time; with added perks.
We can continue marketing and attracting creators, filling up the stage with performers, but without people in the seats filling the stadium, this is a waste of time. Lack of dedicated consumers has been one of main problems we've faced since the earliest days, starting many years ago. Any other business that operates like this knows you need to bring money in the door. Again, content is a product we simply refuse to sell. We just keep making more product.
It's not the end of the world.
We're just getting started here on Hive with a fresh set of legs.
My role, along with many others, is to keep the shelves full. We're giving the consumer something to purchase.
Like everyone else, I only have two hands. We can only do so much.
If I'm a product on a shelf, like a bottle of Coke, then yes of course I do my best to attract outside eyes to my product, so they walk through those front doors of this massive department store. It's also important though for the department store to market their front doors to the consumers. Products exist everywhere and it's always a battle to attract these people, plus keep them coming back.
Youtube and various sites that offer reading material is like Target or Walmart and right now we're just that mom-and-pop store on the corner. I really want to see that change.
It takes a lot of time and teamwork. I hope people are on the same page as me here. I've been writing about the importance and lack of these consumers for what feels like many years now.
So I insist, when you're out there working on marketing and onboarding, please try to find ways to attract dedicated paying consumers. Unlike being a content creator, it's nearly impossible to fail as a content consumer, meaning the goal is to attract people who will stick around, which in turn leads to higher chances of success when it comes to producing content, and far less of these quiet days hanging out with the tumbleweeds.
This place pays the consumer far more than anywhere else. A nickel for leaving a comment is more than all consumers on Youtube earned in ten years. They love hitting like buttons, too.
Over the years I've seen a lot of folks suggesting reinventing the wheel or moving the goalposts but part of the solution to many problems we face here is written above, and the stage has been set for years.
Not complaining either. I'm just eager to get the ball rolling here and start seeing some of this potential realized. Not a fan of stagnation. Trying my best to build that fan base; helping keep people, attention, interest, and money, here, on Hive.