Digital Gojo (DG)is a research and development project exploring use-cases for a web monetization ecosystem focused on high-quality Ethiopian cultural content. The goal of the project is to serve as a virtual “home” / “gojo” for accessing a variety of content according to the user's interests, such as news, music, e-books and magazines, audio books and podcasts, art, children's content, games, and other original media.
Our platform has finally launched and can effectively demonstrate value to the creative community by monetizing multimedia content, as well as, to its audience, who will be able to access a curated selection of cultural content. DG’s premier content offering, Fun with Fidel, a tool for school-age children to learn Fidel (the Ethiopian Alphabet with Ethiopic/ Ge'ez script) was also successfully tested and launched since our last report. Since then, we've been receiving amazing feedback and positive reviews from users.
- To build platform for Beta Testing with web and mobile access
- Distribute & Monetize the Sample Content
- Demonstrate monetization model between creators and viewers.
- Establish social media presence
- Produce and distribute promotional demo video (more on that in the Communications & Marketing section)
- Better understanding of user base and profiles
On-board Subscribers via Coil (due to the above mentioned obstacles with wallet linkage coupled with Coil’s phase-out).
The platform has been released through traditional channels. However, due to on-going setbacks integrating ILP's prescribed wallets, we've yet to connect our platform with the ILP main-net. While we work to resolve issues with the respective wallets, we've brought-to-life the DG creator portals via the Rafiki testnet (link coming soon). After weeks of refining the UX and UI, we've finalized a design that channels the core values of ILP and GftW by centering the user's privacy, data, and monetization metrics.
Final Design for the DG Creator Portals and Dashboard
As we continue to expand our user base we are also exploring new use-cases for distributing and monetizing content on the platform (check out the what's next section for the next content model we are looking to on-board).
- Working with our dev and marketing we finalized the creator portals. We built out our social media presence by establishing profiles for both the platform and the Fun with Fidel game (more on this in the Communications and marketing section).
- Engaging in targeted-visibility promotional events and community engagement programs.
- Producing the promotional demo video for our marketing efforts.
As per our marketing strategy and timeline we've continued to engage key Ethiopian and Eritrean-Americans who are nodes within their respective communities, to serve as unofficial brand ambassadors for the platform and its offerings. In addition, Our promotional demo video has allowed us to utilize social media through targeted ads to promote both the Digital Gojo platform and Fun With Fidel, respectively.
The project was represented at community events and projects from 2021 to 2022. Some notable promotions include the Technology Day programming during Design Week Addis Ababa , the ArtCreates panel discussion hosted by the British Council, and finally the Habesha Newtorks Panel Discussion. During these events, we were able to introduce the team and the benefits of the platform as well as the GftW.
The DWAA event, this past November, was particularly notable as we were able to present the platform for the first time to an audience of tech enthusiasts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We were also able to engage our core user base of content creators that may seek the platform to monetize their multimedia content.
Since Fun with Fidel is DG's current and only offering, we have focused more on populating its social media, as it automatically drives users back to the platform. With this strategy in mind we have developed its Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.
As we continue with our product roll out, we will focus on the following:
Driving our promotional activities to traget the Ethiopian/ Eritrean diaspora communities
Developing more content offerings. The next type of content we are looking to add to the platform is A Culture of Coffee an e-book on the origins of Ethiopian coffee and coffee culture
Expanding on the monetization payment gateways. As per our original proposal we are eager to explore integration with Ethio Telecom’s newly released "Telebirr", a mobile payment platform, as well as the Chapa API which offers the first payment gateway in Ethiopia to support e-commerce and credit card transactions.
Copy of a Yahoo Finance Article on the rise of Chapa in Ethiopia
Digital Gojo has ignited a new model for commercial and cultural access. We remain committed to our vision to be a digital sanctuary for our target audience of viewers and creators, with your support.
Our project could benefit from more access points for payment and system integration. The overall wallet on-boarding process for the only two payment gateways the protocol offered (Uphold and GateHub) was very cumbersome for users that are based internationally in non-western locals. The UI/ UX was particularly horrible, as these portals often offered no access to "help" or "troubleshooting" without passing certain flawed verification processes.
Screenshots of the problematic UI from GateHub's on-boarding experience
As you can see in these screenshots, you can’t even click the “Help” button without first verifying your phone number. In this image from my GateHub experience you can see where I used two different functioning US numbers, in different formats, but the system continued to reject them as ”invalid”. This type of all-or-nothing on-boarding UI presents a very frustrating “brick wall” for new users and is a significant deterrent to mass ILP web monetization adoption. We're a fairly tech savvy team and can only imagine what a turn-off this would be to someone more novice.
Attempts to establish a payment pointer for project YouTube channel
The process for establishing an Uphold business account was less finite but arguably more frustrating. After countless emails and failed document verification attempts, all of that energy and correspondences with their customer support representative resulted in no account or wallet established.
The rigidity of the on-boarding process did not allow for any flexibility therefore we could not set up even basic payment pointers for Youtube, let alone sync wallets.
Screenshots from the many correspondences with Uphold Business Customer Support
Other than resolutions to these technical issues, the project could also benefit from more opportunities to connect and expand our user base, this can be in the form of targeted press, as well as, participating in more virtual engagements and demos across the ecosystem.
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. The Digital Gojo project presents a big opportunity for Ethiopia's creative economy, and we're only just getting started. Sign up for updates here!!
PROMOTIONAL DEMO https://www.youtube./watch?v=iK_mx0t_3-A
TRADITIONAL PLATFORMS https://linktr.ee/addisfutureslab
AFL WEBSITE https://www.addisfutureslab.com/
DESIGN WEEK ADDIS ABABA https://www.designweekaa.com/
D!NK TV https://www.youtube.com/@dinktv_