Jason Calacanis offers to pay for Attention and Gestures

by Tom Carroll

Jason Calacanis made an offer to the top contributors of flickr, Digg, Reddit and Newsvine:

We will pay you $1,000 a month for your “social bookmarking” rights. Put in at least 150 stories a month and we’ll give you $12,000 a year. (note: most of these folks put in 250-400 stories a month, so that 150 baseline is just that–a baseline).

This offer illustrates the dilemma many attention and gesture based applications will face. The most valuable (the famous 20%) contributors are worth cash. Forget what Mike Arrington says about netscape and desperation, he’s really missing the
important point. He thinks that Digg is vulnerable because most stories come from a small number of contributors. Nope not it. Digg is vulnerable because it lacks a fair exchange of value for the high caliber contributors.

Google gives away great applications for free, they make lots of money based on the attention and gestures of the crowd, and they understand the cost for acquiring that data. Today many companies take for granted the attention and gestures they receive and assume that the acquisition cost of that attention and those gestures is limited to hosting and marketing. The companies forget about talent and the fact that the attention and gestures they depend on are jointly owned.

So Jason is right on in his follow up post:

Some entrepreneurs are very threatened by this concept because for the last couple of years they’ve gotten a free ride on the backs of the masses. Now, it’s true that Flickr provided a free service and value to their users, as does DIGG and REDDIT, but the top 1-2% of the users on these services are providing much more value to the companies then they are getting back. There should be a market for the 1%

Jason’s offer is a wake-up call for companies who are free riding on the attention commons. Nice job Jason.

Oh, and my question for Mike Arrington, Which is soulless? The free ride on the community or the offer of a more equitable relationship for those who contribute.

Link Summary:

Jason Calacanis’s RSS feed
Paying the top DIGG/REDDIT/Flickr/Newsvine users
Why the Web 2.0 and media elite are so upset about paying amateurs

Mike Arrington’s RSS feed via TechCrunch
Huge Red Flag at Netscape