Digital Gojo is a research and development project exploring use-cases for transforming Ethiopia’s local and international creative value networks into a sustainable web monetization ecosystem.
It's been an exciting 3 months since we began the project and remain excited about the possibilities. We're currently preparing to launch a working prototype for distributing and monetizing content while examining new models for commercial and cultural access.
As I mentioned in my introductory post, the concept behind Digital Gojo is to serve as a digital sanctuary for our target audience of viewers and creators. A "Gojo" is a traditional hut-style habitat and iconically signifies the "every-home" in Ethiopia. The platform will serve as a virtual "home" or interior space where they can access a variety of content according to their interests such as: news, music, e-books and magazines, audio books and podcasts, nft art/ crpytomedia, children's content, and games.
(The image on the right is one of my rough concepts for the gojo interior while the image on the left is a later version developed by the project team)
Our strategy is to focus on establishing a core user base, particularly in early beta and alpha phases, through the development and release of our in-house children's content "Fun With Fidel", a tool for school age children to learn Fidel, an Ethiopian Alphabet with Ethiopic/ Ge'ez script. Through this, we've established a multifaceted use case to test out creator monetization models with the Digital Gojo platform while presenting a key on-boarding hook to attract users.
Personal Note: As a parent, and someone interested in accessing this type of rich cultural and educational content for my children, I knew that the initial barriers of signing up and setting up a wallet and would be less of an obstacle for eager parents looking to augment their children's learning.
Working with the design and animation team, we established which character styles would represent specifci learning experiences. We also began developing the look and feel of these tools and experimented with a variety of forms and textures before settling on our final prototypes (furry and balloon characters). In tandem with this work flow, we’re also finalizing the UX / UI for the app and website.
Progress on objectives
Although "Fun with Fidel" is the sample use case for the platform, our original goal was to develop three very different content formats. This objective shifted during production, as the cost estimates for developing the different formats were too budget heavy. In addition, we realized managing these disparate mini-projects could potentially overwhelm our lean team. Instead, we adapted the project scope to expand "Fun With Fidel to provide all three use cases in one. It provides three types of educational tools as content: a Musical ABC-esque song, Amharic alphabet sounds with visuals, and a letter tracing game. Other changes to our original project goals was the development of XR elements that are now being adapted for use during the marketing push (more on that in the Communications & Marketing section).
Our Original Objectives:
Complete or Near Completion
- To build platform for Beta Testing with web and mobile access
- Distribute & Monetize the Sample Content (3 Use Cases)
On-board Subscribers to Web Monetization via Coil Subscription / Digital Gojo Wallet
Facilitate monetization models between creators and viewers
As we finish up the final aspects of the backend development, we are also preparing the marketing and PR strategy for the beta test. This will be a crucial time as the user experience can either make or break platform adoption. Once we have launched the product internationally to the Ethiopian diaspora community we will be exploring inroads to the local Ethiopian market and if / how the platform can be integrated with Ethio Telecom’s newly released "Telebirr" mobile payment platform.
Communications and marketing
The communications and marketing strategy will be rolling out in mid-late January. The first phase will rely on getting the beta version in the hands of essential Ethiopian-Americans who are nodes within the community. In addition, we will also be utilizing social media to promote both the Digital Gojo platform and Fun With Fidel content, respectively. The final phase will move into audience engagement and prizes, which is where the XR will come into play as we utilize some of the 3D assets to create interactive teasers.
Community Support & Problem Solving
One of the key issues we are looking to resolve is ensuring that the Digital Gojo platform can facilitate a variety of transaction types and pricing models for a myriad of creative content while still being compatible with the web monetization infrastructure. In an ideal scenario, the type of transaction and pricing model will be up to the creator to decide upon uploading their work to the platform and activating the appropriate payment structure.
My belief is that Interledger’s web monetization can and will be as flexible as creators need it to be and the audience can access content by syncing wallets/ payment pointers and approving/ signing the predetermined transaction types (similar to when we purchase cryptomedia).
Allowing the platform to facilitate payments in accordance creator’s desired monetization model will require multiple payment structures and transaction options. For example an author may want to upload their book for purchase or as a “rental”. Is the IL API flexible enough to allow for different payment requests? For the "Fun With Fidel" content we were interested in a subscription based pay-to-access model, where parents could pay a one time annual access fee that could be renewed every 12 months. Although, there are aspects of the content that can easily be integrated with Coil and Cinnamon, there are also some experiences that need to remain native. This is an essential crossroad we are looking to resolve and would welcome ideas from the community on creative approaches to incorporating a variety of payment structures.
In addition, although the web interface is unaffected, the app version of the platform has stalled a bit due to the centralized architecture of the Google Play and Apple App Store. We are now exploring progressive web apps (PWA) versus third-party alternatives that would be compatible the Interledger API while still allowing access these marketplaces. If the community has suggestions on any specific 3rd party app distributors that support the web monetization ecosystem we are trying to build and support, do let us know. In the meantime, we are finalizing the web interface. The only draw back is that this makes the tracing game less interactive for users and functions more as a simulation.
We remain grateful to GftW for this opportunity to experiment and explore pathways to bring web monetization to the Ethiopian community.
We thank you reader, for following us on this journey.
Beta is coming soon!! Sign up for updates here.
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