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Cash in on a newTube - USC Daily Trojan

Cash in on a newTube - Lifestyle

Cash in on a newTube
USC student lures users to video-sharing site Flixya with cash incentives.
by Amanda Georges

When you find yourself glued to YouTube, do you ever wonder why anyone bothers to flood the Internet with these inane videos? What, there was money to be made?

No, YouTube is not starting to pay its users. But, Flixya.com, a new video-sharing network is doing just that.

Co-founded by USC multimedia and creative technologies graduate student Ivan Wong, Flixya offers a new twist to online video networks by giving users three different incentives to contribute: a revenue-sharing program, a rewards program and a charity program. While other sites, such as www.revver.com, have offered similar incentives, Flixya is the first site to offer all three, Wong said.

With the dramatic rise in popularity of video-sharing sites, Wong and co-founder Adam Oliver, a former director of www.stubhub.com, saw the opportunity to allow users to share in the revenue. As captured in the Flixya motto, "share everything," Wong and Oliver set out to provide users a motivation to share videos - and give them their rightful portion of the profit.

Flixya is designed to grant money where it is due. After a user uploads a video from sites such as YouTube, Revver or Google Video, Flixya uses Google AdSense to target ads onto videos to be displayed with the video. The greater the traffic is around a video, the more money that video will generate. The creator of the video is then given 50 percent of the money earned from AdSense.

If a user elects to take part in the rewards program, he or she is awarded points for certain activities on Flixya.

These activities range from sharing a video to recommending the site to friends to simply commenting on videos. Points earned from these activities can then be redeemed for prizes, including iPod nanos, gift cards or an Xbox 360.

The site's last payment option is the charity program, where the user's take is donated directly to a charity fund. Participating groups include the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Doctors Without Borders and the American Cancer Society.

Flixya.com has enjoyed steady growth in users and traffic since its official Aug. 1 debut. Wong is looking forward to the growth and expansion of Flixya. "With the release of new features and the announcement of key partnerships, our goal is to double our traffic over the next few months," he said.

But what does all this say about video-sharing networks? Wong assures Flixya works to deter those who create content just for the money. "Our content-management system allows for moderating spam and inappropriate content, which translates into a rich and uncluttered end user experience," he said.

Colleagues at Revver - which will soon team up with Flixya - also expressed an interest and concern over video sharing as a new industry. Micki Krimmel, director of community at Revver, muses about the Google purchase of YouTube in her Revver blog, feeling the move is a positive sign for Revver and Flixya.

"That's a serious amount of money that validates online video as a viable entertainment medium," Krimmel wrote.

This growth, however, is also a cause of concern. "Deals have been made left and right with big media companies. Google, YouTube and Big Media stand to benefit a lot from the new partnership. But what about the artists? Who will protect the independent creators who have fueled this new media revolution?" she wrote. Krimmel's suggested monetizing keeps the artists' best interests in mind.

Sites such as Flixya and Revver are too young to gauge the effect of monetizing online videos. Even video sharing itself is a changing and growing business.

Trevor White, a freshman computer engineering and computer sciences major, however, isn't impressed by Flixya.

"I would be surprised if the site was around in six months to a year," he said.

White said he agrees with critics who doubt Google's ability to make money from video sharing, and predicts that same doubt applies to Flixya.

Whatever lies in store for video networking, Flixya and Revver are proof that there are still innovative ways to tap into the growing business.

posted by Flixya @ 8:56 PM,


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