Many social networking sites provide value for users, from quick and easy ways to keep in touch with friends and family, easy event planning, to media-sharing, but Sqeeqeee.com may just be the first social networthing site out there. Its unique platform allows users to make money by engaging in normal social networking activities like those you would do on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram: talking to people, sharing images, all the while gaining “Sqeeqee Bucks”. Which can then be cashed out as a real paycheck. Not the sort of money which would make a millionaire: but definitely enough to pay for a coffee or modest lunch.
“The end goal for Sqeeqee is to do for Facebook what Facebook did for MySpace,” said the founder Jenny Ta. However, most startups experience a burn rate as they run hard and fast to acquire users, in comes the need for capital funding.
According to Jenny, “While Angel investors do provide a good deal of mid-stage venture funding that’s available quickly to help get companies started down the road to profitability, VCs are really the mainstay of a business’s increasing growth toward IPO or acquisition. As we increase our visibility in monetizing social influence, we continue to lean on our VC partners for not only funds, but guidance and thought leadership.”
VC, or venture capital funding, is often accompanied by stringent guidance and CEO training by industry professionals, sometimes accompanied by other non-monetary forms of assistance to companies. This can be crucial, guiding firms through difficult growth phases and around significant industry hurdles.
According to sources on the website, Sqeeqee.com allows individuals with profiles on the site to monetize their profiles: designating specific spaces for ads and sharing in anything from 30 to 50 percent of that ad’s revenue. And what’s more is that it can consolidate all of an individual’s disparate social media accounts, allowing them to be easily managed… while also acting as a search engine all in its own right. Products can be bought there, and users can even easily upload and sell their own items, so it could easily corner the craigslist market as well. Users can crowdsource funding for projects, offer coupons, sell apps, even donate to charities.
Sqeeqee appears to be setting itself apart from the myriad of ‘follow’ based Social Platforms by revenue sharing with users, instead of selling them something through advertising. Advertising dollars that is becoming increasingly difficult to outpace spending, common to social startups.
Forbes, Inc, Techcrunch, and Mashable have all said the same; “The vast majority of social media sites fail to monetize and to keep the individuals who first make their accounts if the rest of their personal network doesn’t join.” And competition is hot; there were more than 1,000 patents filed for new social media sites in 2008 alone, and those sorts of numbers have remained reliable. Another potential problem is the notion of intrusion. Many consumers don’t want ads scattered over their websites: there’s a reason AdBlocker is one of the most popular browser extensions. And for some, widely spread ad content (even if the user is getting paid for it) may not overcome the kneejerk instinct to find them intrusive. Sqeeqee seems to overcome that issue where by revenue isn’t coming in from advertising.
Another consideration is cluster targeting. Most popular social media platforms got their best foothold by targeting smaller communities first. Facebook being closed to the university crowd is one of the best examples. And even ancient social media dinosaur MySpace gained the foothold from which it grew into a global phenomenon in the west coast music scene. Cluster targeting is effectively the same as the more traditionally touted ‘niche’ business, but it’s usually from niche clients that broader works gain traction.
Jenny Ta, and Sqeeqee.com, seem to be removed from the normal ‘rock and hard place’ positions well-known to social and tech startups: the concept is sound, the coding works; but the old adage, ‘if you build it, they will come’ is not always true, and potential users are increasingly fickle.
Sqeeqee.com is already positioned to capture a massive market share: available in eleven languages and with apps available in all the app stores, they seem to have done everything right. Banking on the fact that users can be motivated to be more engaged through their RevSharing model.
For now, things look incredibly promising, especially given that social media giants Facebook and Twitter losing users by droves, to smaller players like SnapChat, the market is becoming prime for a big shake-up.