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Cover image for Freemitization β€” Grant Report #1
Greg Hannam for Vivid IoV Labs

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Freemitization β€” Grant Report #1

This post will be an update on our progress on the Grant for the Web project: Freemitization.

Progress on objectives

I go into detail for every aspect of the project below in the Key Activities section however in the interest of brevity here is a TL;DR for our progress:

-- Demo of freemitization module Demo Recording
-- Initial build of revenue sharing via smart contracts (Demo coming soon)
-- Release of alpha Peerkat platform on the ThunderCore Hub (Blog post coming soon)
-- Created a UX survey β€œThe Web Monetization Survey” to collect primary feedback from WM users (Final review in progress)
-- Arranged, recorded and released our JAM podcast sessions ready for our content marketing campaign - see our post
-- Began researching and developing ideas on becoming a Web Monetization service provider (More details coming soon)

Key activities

As previously stated we received the grant to work on four main areas; advancement / integration of Web Monetization technology via the creation of two Web Monetization focused modules and development of the Peerkat platform, a user research project and promoting the technology through educational materials via the various marketing channels.

You can see all our objectives in this post

1. Web Monetization

Milestone update:
[βœ… Done] i. Integrate XRP tipbot, gather technical information about ILP and advertising implementation
[πŸ›  In Progress] ii. Work with Web Monetisation testing various ways to serve ads to non web monetized users
[πŸ›  In Progress] iii. Create, user test and iterate prototyped solution for serving ads with a number of users from each target group. Build out once acceptance criteria are passed through defining wireframes for user journeys (happy/unhappy paths) and accessibility requirements.
[πŸ›  In Progress] iv. Finalise the freemium module and release to developers, begin design and development on redistribution of payments
[πŸ“‹ To do] v. Gather feedback from developers and improve on freemium module, Implement first iterations of redistribution model
[πŸ“‹ To do] vi. Finalise redistribution module, release to user and developers for testing
[πŸ“‹ To do] vii. Make any improvements, fix bugs based on testing

i. Research phase

Our first idea was to use XRP Tipbot again to build some sort of crypto aspect into our platform before we worked on the Web Monetization part. However, we came to the decision to postpone this for two reasons;

  1. The XRP Tipbot is an experimental product and we feel it is unlikely to be developed and supported further unless it is acquired,
  2. we realised tying ourselves to Twitter logins through the tipbot wasn't a feasible long term strategy so we opted to use a different model with a focus on interoperability.

ii. Development of Web Monetization

After the early works phase, we began to implement the technology. We encountered a number of challenges on the technology side namely;

Development and testing resources.

One of the issues we had to think about is how we can mock the events. It would be great if there was an example of how to do so in the documentation. We were able to find two great resources to replicate Web Monetization; Web Monetization simulator and monetize. We used these two modules to implement our own mocking module.

Error events

We also needed a way to catch Web Monetization event errors. The example on the webpage test Web Monetization is good, but we are also implementing a similar approach in our freemitization module.

We registered new events such as monetizationstart-error and monetizationprogress-error to catch when errors occur.

We also investigating two more events called monetizationreceipt-proof and monetizationreceipt-error, to explore other cases where third party verification services are being used to confirm payment receipts.

Non-active webpage

Our use case requires active monetization to prevent video adverts. When a page is not active for example if the user is on another tab or application, the Web Monetization payments stop.

We are exploring the use of creating a new event called monetization-paused to handle this case in the interim, although a more native solution would be preferred.

ILP resources

We have come across some older articles and examples which are no longer supported, it would be good to have a clearer view of ideas which are no longer being pursued and things that do not work anymore.

iii. Freemitization prototype system

The first phase of work has led us to produce a prototype system, a demo of which can be viewed here: Demo Recording

iv. Finalise the freemium module and release to developers, begin design and development on redistribution of payments

Whilst the Freemium module isn’t ready to go we are confident we will have something relatively soon. We have already made progress into redistribution of payments using a smart contract to do this. We are aware of some scaling issues with this approach so will look to minimize those as we continue developing a solution.

2. Peerkat Platform

Milestone update:
[βœ… Done] i. Define and develop MVP for all tiers of service, incl. Digital analytic requirements and onboard initial testers (whilst grouping them into target user groups and profiles in accordance to GDPR)
[βœ… Done] ii. Collect feedback from alpha testers and fix bugs, develop additional features, work on integration with Uphold Wallet
[πŸ“‹ To do] iii. Enhance user profile page (based on qual/quant data) and integrate social features
[πŸ“‹ To do] iv. Optimise onboarding process to streamline user acquisition including referral mechanism
[πŸ“‹ To do] v. Integrate freemium module into platform for further usability testing, add UI elements to improve UX
[πŸ“‹ To do] vi. Test and implement gamification of platform with user voting
[πŸ“‹ To do] vii. Develop task and reward system in app to entice continued use

i. Define and develop MVP for all tiers of service, incl. Digital analytic requirements and onboard initial testers

We set out to build a live streaming platform, and that does still remain the case, however we realised prior to starting the Grant for the Web project we would have a cold start problem i.e. no users. In order to gain users, we first partnered with the ThunderCore team that has a DApp store with 100k monthly active users. We released an alpha version of our app to this community of crypto enthusiasts.

One key part of an alpha (or beta onwards) is to gather usage data and see where things drop off. In this regard we opted for Mixpanel and Google Analytics.

Here is our Master Dashboard for the information we get from Mixpanel.

Peerkat Mixpanel

And our google analytics
Peerkat GA

While the alpha has had a good start we now need to focus on content and retention, but these will come with further development.

ii. Collect feedback from alpha testers and fix bugs, develop additional features, work on integration with Uphold Wallet

As above, with the launch we can now begin testing with alpha users and collecting data.

To start we have asked a basic question of what type of content the users would like to see more of, and here are the results:
Content feedback

This gives us a good steer to focus what content we look to bring into the platform sooner.

We are currently assessing the Uphold integration, which may be put on hold for a while longer as we focus on the Web Monetisation area.

3. Community and marketing

Milestone update:
[βœ… Done] i. Establish partnerships with key supporters
[βœ… Done πŸ”„ Changed] ii. Create content plan for following 6 months, release one podcast and two educational blogs
[βœ… Done πŸ”„ Changed] iii. Run workshops for user experience, release one podcast and two educational blog
[βœ… Done πŸ”„ Changed] iv. Collate and synthesise findings from user experience workshop and share with ecosystem by publishing findings, release one podcast and two educational blogs, plan Christmas content competition
[πŸ“‹ To do πŸ”„ Changed] v. Run Christmas content competition, plan new year grant giveaways. Optimise content distribution channels, release one podcast and two educational blogs
[πŸ“‹ To do πŸ”„ Changed] vi. Release one podcast and two educational blogs, distribute grant giveaways, Web Monetization webinar by Ike Iwumene
[πŸ“‹ To do] vii. Release one podcast and two educational blogs, content creation & distribution webinar

i. Key supporters and partners

Prior to Grant for the Web we had already secured our main partnership with the ThunderCore Hub DApp store. This is and will continue to be a cornerstone of user adoption strategy for the foreseeable future while we iterate on the product to get to version 1.0.

We have a number of other partners and collaborators that have been involved during this process and are ongoing, these include; UCL CBT, Encode Club, Mousebelt.

Otherwise, we are continuing our outreach to more content creators, particularly in gaming and crypto to see if they would be interested in reaching a new audience. In this regard we are in early stage talks with a number of e-sport outfits to collaborate on bringing exciting new content and experiences to the platform.

Changes to objectives

Podcasts and blog content - Since writing the Grant application we decided that a better approach for our content marketing strategy would be to generate more podcasts, interviewing a greater number of grantees and guests and focus our energies on promoting that content through the various social channels rather than producing blogs. It took awhile for us to get the correct platforms set up in order to release the social media content. That’s now in full swing.

User workshops - These workshops were intended to bring a group of people in a room together to work through Web Monetization onboarding. This has proven more difficult to facilitate than anticipated and therefore got changed to focus more on the user interviews detailed in the UX report, and research gathered by the survey.

Content competitions - We had to change many of the milestones above as we missed getting the platform out in time for a christmas content competition.

Further to this we are not yet in a position to fully embrace user generated content on the platform. There are many obvious legal and regulatory headaches with allowing any content onto a site. We have been working with a team to clear some of these up, however it looks like we may not be able to achieve this competition idea in the way we envisage.

Grant Giveaways - with the above competition on hold it may also be that the grant giveaways will need to go on hold to. These were initially intended to award the competition winners for the best / top rated pieces, however we are yet to build these functionalities.

4. User Experience Research Report

Milestone update:
[βœ… Done] i. Secondary research and synthesise into themes to identify gaps in knowledge for primary research of target user groups.
[πŸ›  In Progress] ii. Design primary research based on what we want to learn from secondary research using quantitative user feedback from MVP (survey) and qualitative (user interviews), to understand user acceptance and additional needs/features. Synthesise insight to deliver opportunities for the project team by personas.
[πŸ“‹ To do] iii. Plan, design and conduct user tests for Web Monetization
[πŸ“‹ To do] iv. Plan, design and conduct tests

i. Groundwork secondary research

We completed secondary research pulling together articles and reviews of the current Web Monetization system. We can add a number of works from other grantees, and will release these as part of our UX report.

ii. Design primary research based

Working with UX specialists to refine our primary user research report and we are almost ready to launch our survey. In the survey, we ask questions about the current Web Monetization ecosystem and how we can improve it.

We have secured a number of collaborators for the ux report where we will compile the best research to date and present as a graphically designed webpage.

This will become extremely useful research for the Web Monetization community and ecosystem of projects to learn from the findings. We hope it will help inform the development of the next generation of brilliant user-focused web monetized products and content. The results will be collated and published by Vivid IoV Labs at & relevant channels with the support of the Grant for the Web.

We are still in the process of defining and setting up user interviews.

Communications and marketing

Our main objective so far has been to release the podcast, with this started we can begin the content marketing campaign to amplify the posts.

In a separate series of posts I will run through our stats month by month so we can track the progress of our efforts.

What community support would benefit your project?

Four things that would be incredibly useful:

1. Contributors

Request for any contributors to "The Web Monetization UX Report"- please get in touch to register interest in contributing to our WM UX Report, community effort and contributions will be credited to the author, along with our survey results we will be collating and presenting all of the research as a public webpage.

2. Fill a survey

Filling in our UX Survey as soon as it is live - the more comprehensive study, the better this will be for the ecosystem/participants to learn and benefit from.

3. Spread the good stuff

Please like, subscribe and comment on any you watch as it'll let the algo's know we're doing good stuff and get the word out faster!

Web Monetized Link || YouTube || Anchor || Spotify

4. Be a guest

We need more podcasts guests! We are interested in talking to all of the Grant for the Web community. From looking through the Grantees list there are some amazing projects and we believe each one of you guys has something great to share. So if you would like to be on the podcast hit the "Podcast Me" button on the side of this post or sign up here

What’s next?

With the release of the podcast we now have a core of content with which we can use to leverage the various strengths of the social platforms to effectively get the word out. I will go into how we intend to do this in a deeper dive post coming soon to the forum.

Our plans for the next couple of months remain largely unchanged in that we will play catch up to hit the rest of our proposed milestones, whilst continuing to build on our momentum gained so far!

We have also begun to research how to best support the Web Monetization ecosystem going forward and have identified several issues. One of the most pressing we feel able to answer is the lack of Web Monetization service providers. As such we are in early conversations with our partners to refine this idea and should have something coming out about it soon.

Additional comments

Drop us a line on any of the above, always happy to jump on a call to help the community grow.

Hope this post was semi-coherent and somewhat easy to follow, felt like a lot of info to get across when I started πŸ˜….

Relevant links/resources

Freemitization Demo

Web Monetization simulator
test Web Monetization

Podcast Post
"Podcast Me"
Web Monetized Link || YouTube || Anchor || Spotify

Top comments (3)

chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

Note: we have added your podcasts as "Podcasts" for the community space. Check out the left side nav bar!

gjhannam23 profile image
Greg Hannam

Brilliant, cheers Chris - we're lining up more as we speak so can add as we go πŸ‘

chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

The rss will pull them in automatically!