Since our interim report, we’ve continued to work on producing the POWER PLAYS podcast and the good news is, we’ve finally launched our second season! All eight episodes can now be streamed over Cinnamon, and transcripts are available exclusively to Coil subscribers through our website. You can find all our web monetized content here.
(This particular page is not behind a paywall, so non-Coil subscribers can navigate to it and see what content is available, but if you click on any of the episode titles, access is restricted to those with Coil memberships.)
A few episode highlights include:
- Grammy-nominee Kokayi Issa speaking about how Black creators can benefit from web monetization
- Nathan Schneider proposing that we combine the rich heritage of cooperatives with the promise of 21st-century technologies in order to create a new kind of online economy, one free from the economics of monopoly, exploitation, and surveillance
- Lior Zalmanson sharing brand-new research into how small creators have monetized their work and looking particularly at which strategies most entice content consumers to pay for the content they view
- Richard Whitt, who until 2018 was one of Google’s most senior attorneys, on rethinking ad tech and how we can create a future where the Artificial Intelligence lurking behind our various digital interfaces doesn’t harm us
- Amber Case, a futurist, on what she predicts the Internet of 2031 will look like, and why Interledger, Unlock, and the InterPlanetary File System protocols excite her so much.
We were initially supposed to have these episodes ready by April, but we weren’t able to meet that deadline unfortunately. We are very grateful to Grant for the Web for being so understanding and flexible and granting us an extension.
Our primary objective was to produce eight audio episodes about the web monetization ecosystem and its technology. This has now been accomplished.
We said that one episode would be released each week, over eight weeks, free of charge on all major podcast listening platforms, but that users who didn’t want to wait would be able to 'buy' immediate access to all eight episodes on the podcast's website using web monetization technology. We are pleased to say that this is now possible - users with a Coil subscription who head to our website are able to listen to episodes, and read transcripts of these conversations, up to eight weeks earlier than everyone else.
We set ourselves the ambitious goal of having at least 5% of our listeners head to the podcast website to 'buy' immediate access to all of the episodes, thereby trying out web monetization technology. This hasn’t yet happened, but our episode catalogue has only been online for the past three days. In total, over the grant period we raised €86, or about $102, through web monetization technology, which was less than we budgeted for (we hoped to raise $220) but nonetheless has proven to us the utility of Interledger and shown that it really can be a revenue stream. As awareness of the technology grows, we are hopeful that we will convert more listeners into Coil subscribers, and thereby grow our revenue achieved through web monetization technology.
We also created a legal entity in Delaware to be a home for the podcast, now and into the future, following advice from our counsel.
Our primary activity was producing our podcast episodes, which included scheduling interviews with guests, doing prep to inform the conversations, briefing guests and editing conversations, and then distributing these episodes through various listening platforms and on Cinnamon. All episodes were then transcribed for accessibility purposes.
We upgraded our website to include our new brand assets (such as our new podcast cover), to include popup windows that raise awareness of Coil, and to include a special portal that is entirely web-monetized and hides transcripts and episode audio files behind a paywall for a period of exclusivity. Our website runs on Webflow, which unfortunately is not friendly for web monetized creatives, so we intend to publish a blog post on this forum later this week which will be a tutorial into how to web monetize a Webflow website.
We have primarily been raising awareness of the new season of POWER PLAYS through low-cost, high-reach advertisements that have run in various email newsletters.
All of these advertisements ran on or after July 6, when we published our first new podcast episode. We have more newsletter advertisements scheduled to run in different newsletters once a week for the next seven weeks as we find that one $25-50 ad can attract 150 to 200 new listeners, and these are listeners whose backgrounds match the audience we are trying to attract.
We do have a small presence on social media, but to say it is not a significant source of listeners for us would be an understatement. Our conversion rate of social media posts to listeners is next to zero.
However, we do ask our interview guests to share a link to their interview on their social media profiles, and in some cases this can generate 5,000 to 10,000 downloads of that particular episode. For example, when we interviewed Mance Harmon in season one of POWER PLAYS, we received 10,000 downloads in a day after his company, Hedera Hashgraph, shared a link on social media.
We intend to ask our guests this season to share links, too, but we will do this once the exclusivity period for an episode ends and it is now freely accessible via Spotify or Apple Podcasts. This may seem counterintuitive given our podcast series is intended to promote web monetization technology, but we are seeking to raise awareness of Interledger during our audio conversations, and then encouraging people to try out Coil to hear the next episode of our podcast earlier. This is our experiment, and it might not be the right one, but we think removing the friction in order to learn about what web monetization technology is, is really important before we can realistically expect a passive listener to try the tech out.
POWER PLAYS isn’t over. We will develop a third season later this year, and we intend to keep it web monetized just like this season was, with exclusive early-access to content for Coil subscribers.
We will also publish a couple of ‘bonus interviews’ with Grant for the Web grantees on our Cinnamon channel over the coming weeks. We interviewed some other creators for this season, but ultimately the conversations didn’t feel right to publish to our current audience which largely consists of policymakers and investors. We’ll instead repackage these interviews, cap them at about 10 minutes, and upload them to Cinnamon to see if they resonate with the audience there. Cinnamon seems to have a more creative audience, so it’s very possible that’s the best place for those particular conversations.
Please consider listening to our podcasts or reading the transcripts, and sharing links to the episodes with your friends or professional network.
We’d also appreciate a review in the Apple Podcast player, if you have it, as Apple’s algorithm has really grown our audience and every five-star review we receive seems to translate into a few more listeners.
More than anything, you can help us out by helping us grow our reach so that more people can learn about the Interledger protocol and the proposed web monetization standard.