Commit 832e42e9 authored by Eliot Berriot's avatar Eliot Berriot

Initial commit

parent 68b232cd
# Retribute
Retribute is an attempt to design a standard that support decentralized and automated tipping and crowdfunding.
## What is the problem?
The initial idea and motivations are available at: https://eliotberriot.com/blog/2018/05/11/funkwhale-content-monetization-trust/
Supporting creation in a sustainable way is a difficult problem to solve. Existing solutions include:
1. Payment before content consumption (such as buying a CD, or subscribing to a payed streaming service), which is most of the time really inefficient, because the production and distribution of the content medium absorbs most of the payment, and the creators get little. This option is one of the most common, but also quite inaccessible to small creators, as the production and distribution requires a lot of resources
2. Advertising, where creators sell their audience to brands to fund their work, which is invading, also really inefficient, poses privacy and censorship concerns, and only available at a certain scale
3. Tips, where audience support the creators financially using a third-party platform (Patreon, Liberapay, Tipeee, Flattr), sometimes on a recurring basis. In this scenario, creators get most of the money, a fraction (less than 10%, usually) kept by the platform that collect the payments from the users.
4. Crowdfunding, where creators request financial support from their audience in order to fund a specific project, here again using a third-party platform to collect the payments. This platform shares the same business model as in 3.
Now, let's talk a bit about the pros and cons of each method.
Item 1 is probably the most canonical way to support creators, and purchasing something before enjoying will be familiar to a lot of people. As a creator, assuming the production and distribution is dealt-with correctly and you have some success, the income will pour-in regularly. Since this method is really old, the distribution networks are well-structured, powerful, and widely available.
Unfortunately, if you cannot pay at least the medium price, this makes it impossible for you to support creators using this method. As explained before, small creators may also have difficulties to afford the cost to produce and distribute their work on the big networks.
Advertising is a pretty-clever solution that makes the support almost completely transparent for the end user. The content appears financially free, and the very act of consuming it will support the creators. It works regarless of the audience wealth, which makes it appealing at first.
However, ads have hidden cost, both for audience and creators. First, designing and displaying ads has a cost, and end users support this cost when buying a product from the advertised brand. The cognitive and privacy cost is also huge for the audience. Advertising may also subvert or affect the quality of the produced content, reducing its cultural value. Last but not least, advertising revenues only work for creators with a big enough audience.
Tips and crowdfunding are interesting because they work at any scale, and yield the best outputs: almost all the money that is given by the audience reach the creators, which is simply not the case with advertising and content selling, because of the number of intermediaries. There is theoretically no upper or lower limit to the amount that could be given to a creator by these means, and they happen to be purely opt-in.
As an audience member, you can access creator's content without tipping them, tip them whenever you want and have the resources available. Thanks to recurring payments, your income as a creator can grow linearily with the size of your audience.
But, if tipping and crowdfunding are so great, why are advertising and content selling still a thing? Well, not everything is perfect in those systems. First, the whole ecosystem is fragmented between multiple providers, each with its own user experience, rules, conditions, features. As a creator, you can either chose one and loose potential support from a portion of your audience, or manage many, which will quickly become a pain.
As a user, this fragmentation means their is no standardized way to support your favorite creators. The typical flow includes: 1. accessing a content, 2. search a link to the creator tipping page somewhere, 3. create an account on the platform if you don't have one, 5. send your pledge, 5. repeat for each creator
You can easily understand how it can be a burden for everyone and limit the flow of contributions.
## What could be a solution?
Now, let's imagine we automate the discovery of support options for creators. As a user, you would be able to find instantly how and where you can support any given creator, and match it with your own means of support, all of this happening in the same app, thus completely transparent and easy for you.
As a creator, this would reduce the load of communicating around multiple tipping systems in parallel, effectively increasing the chance to receive financial contributions from your audience.
Additionally, automating support options discovery would make it possible for existing content platforms to suggest you creators to support, based on your activity. Apps could reuse this suggestions to automatically pledge creators on behalf of users, based on a configurable budget and supported platform types.
Automation of the most repetitive tasks would reduce the barrier to entry for creators and audience.
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