Featured Story

Scam or Spam? A Look at the New Social Network Tsū

Tired of Facebook already?  Are you enraged by the thought of Facebook or Google Plus using your online information to make ad money?  Wait, do we really need another social media platform?  Well, there is a new social media outlet called “tsū”  (Prounouced “SUE”).  And it comes with the promise to give you money rather than make money of your posted content.

TSU

Here is a fantastical thought,  “What if Facebook paid you for every like that you received or every friend that you recruited?”  Tsū wants you to believe this is the way of the social internet future.  Get paid for the content that YOU create.  However, there is a catch.  You have to build a social network of followers.

Launched on October  21, 2014, it offers users the ability to generate ‘income’ on their personal user account or profile.  According to founder, Sebastian Sobczak, “it’s based on a platform that will give 90 percent of its ad revenue back to its users.”  This is according to a FOX interview Sebastian Sobczak gave shortly after launching the new social medial platform.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  However, Sobczak is quick to point out that “it may sound like that, but it’s actually true.”

Well, after some research, it’s only partially true.  According to Billboard, ad revenue is generated from page views and only 10 percent of the money generated goes to tsū. Of the rest, fifty percent goes to the profile owner/content creator and the other 50 percent goes to the network that brought that particular user to the network.  As you will see, the formula and breakdown of revenue gets a little complicated.

So, how can a new startup social media site survive on only 10 percent revenue share?  As of November, tsū only had a few thousand users and at this writing, some have reported over a million users.  However, this cannot be verified anywhere.  In fact, there are a lot of things that you will not be able to verify through tsū.  This will be a ongoing trend withTsū, never really getting a concrete answer.

Facebook made over 8.6 billiion dollars in total revenue in the 9 months ending September 30, 2014 (Total Income from Operations).  However, they have over 864 million daily users.  How long will it take, if ever, for tsū to reach that market share?   I predict never.

Well, 50 percent to the owner/content creator sounds really good right.  Most of you will say , well 50 percent is better than no percent.  However, this is where it gets a little confusing and complicated.

“That 50 percent propagates by an infinite series of thirds up a “family tree,” starting with the content creator, otherwise known as a “child.” The person who invited him to tsū, his “parent,” receives a third. The person who invited the parent, the “grandparent,” receives a third of that third. Tsū’s pay-it-forward algorithm that distributes these funds is based on their invite-only principle.”

In order to bolster recruits, some sites are even promoting “tsū invitations” in order to parent potential children.  You see, in order for tsū to be successful, you must have as many children possible to grow your network.  I don’t know about you, but this model that describes followers as children reminds me of a religious cult of sorts.

Also, most people who are using tsū don’t realize that the only person who can see your content is the children, grandchildren and so forth or the parent who invited you and his/her followers.  Someone outside this circle will never see the content, thus no money is made.  It’s a closed circle/platform or rather a pyramid or sorts.  Someone already wised up to creating a platform called tsumatic that allows TSU users to advertise their usernames and shortcodes.

But really, If this sounds like a Pyramid scheme, it is. And we all know that in pyramid schemes, only the people at the top echelon benefit or make money, and it usually doesn’t last. In fact, this may be worse than a pyramid scheme.  The thing that most people don’t realize right away is the money generated in your tsū bank account is not the same as your neighborhood bank or personal bank account.  It’s not real money.  You never receive any real money for your content, just virtual money in a virtual tsū account.

And that is only part of the story.

Amanda Blain, who owns her own social network, is quick to point out that tsū plays into the human desire to ‘get rich quick’.

“I’ve seen complicated formulas and math talking about the possibilities of your massive profits on Tsu. Whatever numbers and magic hoopla you’d like to put, In my opinion, Tsu is a scam. Spend your time on your OWN website creating your OWN content and spam your network with that..”.  In other words, make your OWN business, sell your OWN content and build a network of people who you can market to and will buy your goods.

She points out quite nicely how the numbers just don’t add up. She can’t quite put her finger on the advertising model, but it’s obvious that it involves a pyramid like recruitment of followers rather than build a true social network in order to make money. This is all in the disguise of “you, the creator and owner of information should reap the benefits of your work and content”.  Sounds to me more like a creepy business network of spammers and scammers.

So here is what I see as the most controversial points concerning the tsū model.

#1  The model for tsū is based on recruitment of followers and its numbers with the promise to generate income

This is the basics of a pyramid model. Really, do you want to be in a network that spams people to follow you in an effort to bolster a virtual bank account rather than make real connections and friendships?  It is no accident that everyone saying how cool tsū is at this point, wants you to sign up through their link or tsū ‘invitation-code’ so you have to initially follow THEM as you sign up.  Having only launched a month ago, people are treating this like an IPO and are under the impression that they will ‘cash-in’ as the site grows and their followers do to.

∫Really, $1 a day.  Maybe, for now, but not for long.

∫Really, $1 a day. Maybe, for now, but not for long.

You may make a dollar a day when there are only a few thousand users on the ground floor, but what happens when there are billions of users?

As Amanda so eloquently points out, “Each user, each person invites will “weaken” the worth of the network causing eventually people to make fractions of a penny. FRACTIONS OF A PENNY on actions. Do you stop for a penny on the ground? 5 cents? Do you see this going any other way?”

According to their FAQ (see below), they payout when your tsū bank account hits $100. “That is something you or the majority of people who use tsū will never actually earn because you are making fractions of a cent each day. Or say 1 cent a day… ( a number I’ve seen a few people saying they have earned) It will take 10,000 days or roughly 28 Years to earn $100. Are you making less than a dollar a day? And how many hours are you putting in? Your pay rates here then are less than a newspaper route or data entry jobs listed online.”

I see the real winner here, and it won’t be you.  Many will argue that Facebook does the same thing, but won’t give you a penny.  Yes, but who actually signed up on Facebook to make money?  If you don’t like the way Facebook does business then start your own site.  You may also say that  a small group of people did just that along with a 7 million dollar investment capitalist.  But how is this any different from the way Facebook is doing business or any other social media site is doing business today?  The lure to make virtual money is just not for me.

That is my second point.  Virtual money.

#2  Any income made is in , what I call “fairy dust” or virtual money.

And once you do hit that $100, then what?  Sound a little like monopoly money or remember bit-coins?  How is this different. It’s not.  Much of the money collect in your tsū bank account is redeemable only through ‘vendors’ or ‘coupons’ of companies, who I’m sure, pay REAL money to advertise on the tsū website. This is similar to the model employed by Facebook, but without a get-rich-quick twist in an effort to boost your following. How is this done?   By spamming other tsū members to follow you.

What happens when those followers dry up? What happens when people get tired to getting spammed for ‘likes’ and ‘follows’. You get the picture.

And then, after months of hard work,  spamming everyone on the planet to follow you on tsū, you can’t even get your hands on ‘real money’.  Certainly, according to Sebastian Sobczak, you can donate ‘money’ to your favorite charity.  So, how do they get their money.  There is something that smells fishy and something we are not obviously told.  In fact, there is no contract, no printed checks, no Paypal account transfer, no nothing.  Good luck on ever seeing ‘real’ money.

In the beta testing period, many celebs like 50 cent and pro sports figures like Carmelo Anthony took part in the startup.  Of course they will benefit the most from posts.  But  how much of that virtual money will actually trickle down to the masses?

According to the tsū website:

∫ We believe in quality content, real ownership, and the value of one’s own network.

As a free social platform, we recognize members for their likeness, image and content by sharing earned revenues.

Create content, interact with your community, and invite your friends and followers to join what is now your personal network.
As a content creator, you’ll earn fair value for all the social things you normally do.

How do you ‘earn fair value for all the social things you do”?  It stops there, you must then sign up to gain access. No more information is given to you. And beware, there is no delete button for your account once you sign up with tsū.  This should be a huge red flag.

If you want to know more about tsū, click here to the tsū faq page.

In an update on November 11th, Amanda wrote “Supposedly 2 super power users have reported making the $100. Out of  supposedly 1 million users. You have better odds on winning the lottery for $100. Or making more money by doing data entry in a 3rd world country. They posted a picture of a hand written check. Yes. Hand written. To Andrew Fromm’s company name. Yes. His company name. Perhaps he struck some kind of deal? As his profile is in his personal name…. Or are you able to just say my company made this under your personal account? I don’t think the IRS will like that. Any which way.. I assume tsu does not plan on sending out many checks (or to any foreign countries) if they are hand writing checks. Since their whole slick is YOU GET PAID FOR YOUR CONTENT.. you’d think that check writing software would have been a bit more of a priority. There is still zero facts on what you get paid for although they show nice views and shares.. you get a standard “tsu royalties .4″ each day with zero explanation.”

I recently read a number of comments on videos supporting and promoting tsū as the next big thing, the next thing to replace Facebook and Google Plus.  It seems many of the commenters know very little about tsū and how it works.  Most seem to be a little ‘disgruntled’ at Facebook and the workings of their ad revenue.  Tsū seems to fill a void or stroke a chord with people disenchanted with the money-making giants in internet advertising.

I would be the first to say, that tsū is probably not for them, but they all seem to be flocking to the site in some kind of anti-Facebook craze.

Apparently, there are some people on the internet who don’t take lightly to being told this new network may be a scam.  Unfortunately, Amanda had to close her comments because of all the ‘hate’ spam she received after writing one of the most thought-provoking, critical thinking posts on the internet about tsū.  My hope is that people will look into this site and shed more light on it.  Time will certainly tell whether this social network will sustain itself or disappear like dust in the wind.

Have you ever wondered why people spend so much time on Facebook?  Tsū may just take the act of ‘wasting your time online’ to a new level.   I’ve already witnessed countless people in chats spending countless hours on tsū spamming potential followers for the lure of money.

Sure, Facebook makes billions of dollars per quarter in ad revenue.  But, hey, we are not Mark Zuckerberg. Can this platform be improved. Sure it can.  However, startups like tsū are behind the eight ball and will fall short of expectations.

In the high-tech world of social media, if you are not selling a product, you are likely to be the product of someone else.  That is how twitter, Google Plus, Facebook and other social networks survive.  Startups will come and go.  I think this one doesn’t have a chance, but stranger things have happened.  Who really knows.

As I read through various comments about tsū, one post stood out from the rest.  LIke a light in a fog.

∫A single light in the fog.

∫A single light in the fog.

I’d like to know your thoughts?  And remember, do a little research before you jump on a new social platform.  Good luck.

Resources:

FOX News (YouTube)
Billboard
Amanda Blaine (Is TSU a Scam? 6 Things to consider)
Facebook (Investor Relations- 3rd Quarter 2014 ad revenue results)
Tired of helping Facebook make money? Tsu may be for you (New York Business Journal)
Tsu: The New Social Network That Pays You for Posts, Friends (Daily Finance)

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16 replies »

  1. Great post. What started as just some thoughts has really ballooned out. I wish more people asked questions instead of believing what they read in graphics… 🙂 The how does the charity get paid raises a good question about why you can’t. (I assume cause tsu gets a charity tax receipt for your donation) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Another great point which I know you mentioned in your article. It still amazes me the number of people who fall into this just because ‘it’s new’. I found out about TSU through another WP user who had it plastered all over his blog in order to attract his ‘children’. It kind of creeped me out. Anyway, I have a real distaste of internet scams and trollers. That’s just me.

      Like

  2. Great article my friend I enjoyed reading it, however me as an artist I will use as many social media outlets to promote my art. This is the reason why I will continue to use Facebook, Instagram, ect ect and yes even tsu. Also if it is a get rich quick scheme it will mostly likely be one of the greatest ever and will be fun to watch it all crumble. I am glad we can look at this site from all perspectives to try to understand what this site is & what it will become.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are great places to promote your work that won’t play on you having to recruit ‘children’ to your tsu account. In fact, most artists will use social media once they are established (like FB and Google+) to showcase their work. Most people are not like you, they are in it to try and ‘make some money’ blah blah blah. Choose your social media outlets wisely my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. No one has to recruit “children” if you use TSU like you use any other social media, what’s the problem? if people start using tsu though you you will have “children” and they will use tsu like any other social media… people are thinking too much about the money, it’s not about the money, it’s about you having ownership of the content you create (whether you reach 100 dollars or not – that’s not important). Facebook WILL sell your content and you contacts! it’s right there in their statements. If you can socialize without being that invaded in your privacy isn’t that better? and if you can make some pennies with it? even better? no one is forcing anyone to anything… you don’t have to download a thing, you don’t have to give your identity or any data… if you like it, you stay, if you don’t just walk way… no one will force you, or follow you… (TSU INVITATION LINK REMOVED BY ADMIN)

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    • You fall into the category as a user using TSU as just a social network, not to make money. I don’t think anyone is disputing this as another social media outlet. It’s just built on the wrong premise: 1) Making money for sharing the content of other users, 2) It’s a pyramid scheme, 3) It also uses your content to build its worth, but wrongly implies that you will make hundreds of dollars doing it. Nothing is farther from the truth. And if you think you will just be able to walk away, yes, that is OK too, but in that time, they will have used YOUR content to sell. And think of all the sleezy users that will troll YOUR content. You will constantly get SPAMMED by TSU links so other users can build their network. Yes complete strangers will want you just so THEY can make some money. So, really Sara, do you really believe this network is just ‘not about the money’? Good luck with that. I don’t expect to change people’s mind, but I do hope to enlighten some of them. And yes, if you are happy making ‘pennies’ for your content, than more power to you. It’s just not worth my time. Facebook, as much as I dislike it in so many ways, is way ahead of the curve and no other social media outlet coming this way right now will take over its market share. Not any time soon, but maybe sometime. And why would you want to share YOUR content with strangers anyway. If you read the first message board post I posted in this article, you can see that people will be sharing other peoples content, rather than their own. So you get paid for a picture you post? Well, believe you me, TSU will use that information too, just like FB. But don’t let me stop you. Have fun with it and see what happens. I predict it won’t be around very long.

      Oh, and thanks for your little spam link, but no thanks, so I removed it from your post.

      Like

  4. I’ve been on Tsu for almost 4 days. Off the top of my head, some annoying things would be filtering out the “useless, spammy noise” and maybe the lack of “real time” refreshing re notifications – but that’s all so far. I see this post came out at about the same time Tsu released, I’d be interested to hear what you think about it now? To be honest, I’m having a lot of fun on it. There are ALWAYS gonna be trolls, cons, people who try to spam and take advantage of anything and everything. I don’t post things online that are meant to be private so I have no problems with strangers seeing my content 🙂

    The money thing is secondary to me right now. I liken it to a “bonus” or cool side effect. And if anyone annoys me on the platform I just don’t friend or follow them. My feed pretty much represents me, so I’m gonna try fill it with stuff that’s inspiring, funny, interesting, thought provoking, answers questions etc in the hopes of attracting like-minded people. And while I plan to have my Tsu link visible, I’m not gonna go herding people to it. I’ll approach people I know about joining, but HELLS no do I want to be mistaken for a dumbass spammer, I respect my audience and myself too much for that 🙂

    But thank you for your frank article about it – I always try to get at least 2 different perspectives on things, to make sure I get the pros AND cons xx

    Like

    • I have to say I really liked your view on this.

      I don’t agree with the article probably because the reason I joined TSU was to see the art and creations, the things people I admire do.

      I have very hard settings in FB, not showing most useless stuff, really concentrating on the things I like but most of the content is not showed. The pages I like and follow need to pay to get to me!

      And yes, most local businesses can survive by only showing a percentage of what they do to local people but if you like and follow people from the other side of the world you can’t be happy to see something new every few weeks.

      But I too am curios to see what everyone thinks and a different side of things is interesting. Maybe that’s something we can all agree. If you want to make money TSU is not the answer. If you want to share your work, passion, interests and who you are, then go to TSU and share it and get everyone to see it, without you paying for it.

      To me FB is about keeping in touch with old friends and anyone i like that is far from me. TSU is about the art, the talent, the amazing things people can make and do that inspire me to try harder and not give up!

      Like

  5. What amazes me most is that several reputable news outlets have written about this, totally without any critical remarks or analysis. True con artists, these Tsu guys.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Tsu *IS* spam, Or at least stoops to spam for it’s advertising and as such, I want even LESS to do with them than Farcebook.

    Case in point, I run a design business on Secondlife and it’s almost HOURLY that I’m having to mute, Report and Ban spam bots mass-inviting people to Tsu. To the point ll is considering banning the accounts of over 800 people. And it’s little doubt those people have yet MORE botnets.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Sadly it sort of worked in a way as I’d never heard of them until said spam, And that led me to reading up on this article and following other sites to learn more about them. But the more something is hyped, The more wary I am of it and it seems that by spamming more people in to join, There’d be less money coming in to share, And whoever was at the uppermost parts of the shared user pyramid would be the richest. >.>

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  7. And now what is your take on the website? It currently boats upwards of 5 million daily users, numerous people have actually cashed out and received their checks (I’m actually awaiting my first check to arrive as I write this), and it hosts over 42 legitimate charities who’ve also cashed out numerous times and used those funds for their cause. Also, not to mention, now that the site is almost 2 years old, that it’s gone through significant UI changes and now categorizes content so others may find what interests them. Also, the content has been visible in major search engine results, for some time now, nullifying the need for “spamming” to attract a following.

    Like

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