"Curafied is a platform that helps digital content creators earn monthly income by charging a low monthly subscription to fans for their content creation and curation directly—not from “patron” donations or advertising sponsorships. We’re exploring a new direction for our startup, and I would like to tell you about it in case you have any feedback or want to help.
The concept of creator compensation platforms is not new, however my aim has been to improve on the current models. While I don’t consider myself a content creator, I am certainly a (huge) content consumer. Call me a Millennial, but there is a MULTITUDE of things—from home projects to anxiety management—that I have successfully navigated with the sole help of blog posts, podcasts, and online videos. Such is the power of content creators in today’s world.
But also in today’s world, the “Big Social” platforms are profiting tremendously while the individuals who contribute their time and energy posting to these platforms are all too often left in the dust, seeing only pennies as compensation, if even that. As much as I would love to help these creators financially, “patronizing” by making donations seems a bit off-putting. I can’t help but think, “No one is making donations to me to help me pay my bills,” and, “The content is still going to be free anyway.” But the plight of content creators is important to me and I wanted to figure out a different way I could help—so I went ahead and built a platform that would allow content consumers like me to support creators directly for the ability to access some or all of their work. This seemed like a more reasonable tradeoff than the misleading concept of donations or a mere tip jar somewhere.
The financial piece is just one of the problems with Big Social. Creators and influencers also face losing exposure through algorithms that change on a whim and being at the mercy of a handful of often egregious policies that they have zero control over, including advertiser preferences and even loss of content ownership rights. These are issues I wanted to tackle with my platform as well.
After a few months of mulling this over, I pitched the concept of Curafied at Dayton Startup Week in 2017. A female angel investor was intrigued by the concept and business model and we began working together to take this idea to a prototype. A few more angels hopped on board and the first iteration of Curafied launched just at the end of that same year.
The web-only platform we built was set up such that creators could sign up for free and start posting videos, photos, and blog posts behind a paywall. We call this content space a Collection. Fans and followers of the creator pay a small subscription to access his or her Collection, as well as access to a subscriber-only live chat. For every subscription to their Collection, a creator receives a portion of the sale.
the idea of converting Curafied to a platform co-op for content creators seem quite promising. With my angel investors also becoming excited by this potential pivot, I began trying to piece together what our co-op would like. Who would be the members? And what would be the conditions of their membership? A few concerns popped into my mind, such as how the goal of a platform, generally, is to get as many people using it as possible; no user caps. As a co-op, would Curafied have to limit the number of content creators and curators we accept? And what about my current investors? Where would they fit in? What about future investors? Is that even a thing with platform co-ops?! How do investors view platform co-ops?
These are the types of questions I aim to answer this summer through user research and a personalized workshop with Jason Weiner and his team of cooperative business consultants. My goal is to have identified the specific type of content creator we want using the Curafied MVP (minimum viable product), what that MVP needs to be, and how to best structure and accommodate our different membership classes." (https://cmci.colorado.edu/medlab/2019/07/09/curafied-co-op-story-prequel.html?)
- If you would like to reach me to learn more or to explore becoming part of this process, please contact [email protected].