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New Social Network Tsu -- Which Pays Users Who Post -- Raises $7 Million

Tsu pays its members using ad revenue.


New social network Tsu believes it can get you excited about seeing advertisements. (Seriously!)

That’s because Tsu, which launched on Tuesday with a $7 million investment led by Sancus Capital Prive, is splitting its ad revenue with users, paying them for actively posting on the platform and inviting their friends to join, too.

New York-based Tsu, which looks a lot like Facebook at first glance, only takes 10 percent of the ad revenue it generates, passing the other 90 percent back to users, according to founder Sebastian Sobczak. All the ad revenue Tsu makes in one day, for example, is distributed to users based on how many organic post-views they get during that 24-hour period. The more views and engagement you generate as a user, the larger portion of the pie you get.

This breakdown certainly benefits the site’s most popular users (i.e. celebrities), but there are other ways to make money, too. Smaller percentages of this revenue pie are also used as incentive for people to invite their friends to Tsu, which is invite-only. Users also receive payments when the friends they invite share engaging posts, too.

The idea is that content creators, not just the platform provider, deserve to reap the monetary benefits that come with having an active user base.

“If you contrast the established networks today, they’re like radio stations playing everybody’s song and not giving them any royalties for their work,” said Sobczak. “It’s very unusual that all these amazing [users] provide this free content that is very valuable to them and is a hundred percent monetized.”


Despite only launching publicly on Tuesday, Tsu received some early support from investors and users alike. In addition to the funding from Sancus Capital Prive, Tsu accumulated a handful of celebrity users on the platform during the site’s beta test, including rapper 50 Cent and NBA star Carmelo Anthony (although neither celeb has been active over the past two weeks). Celebrity users can often help to put new social products on the map, and Sobczak hopes Tsu is one of them.

The money and early celeb attention doesn’t mean Tsu is going to dethrone Facebook anytime soon. Paying users to join your service may not be common, but it’s not unheard of, either. Bubblews, a social network founded in 2012 with a similar mindset, pays users when the content they share generates engagement like comments or Likes. The payouts are small — about one cent per Like — but the idea remains the same.

Regardless, for Internet users sick of watching Facebook’s ad revenue climb with the help of their personal data, Tsu might offer a reprieve. Or at least a way to earn a quick buck.

Correction: Tsu launched mobile apps for iOS and Android on Tuesday. The original version of this story said those apps were still in the works.

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