Did You Know Some Steem Apps Are Taking Your Rewards!?
As I was browsing through Steemit aimlessly yesterday (as I typically do) I came across a video that grabbed my attention and quite frankly caused my jaw to hit the floor. @dnews broke the news (to me, at least) that DTube is getting 25% of Your Author Rewards. I watched every second of this video in amazement. How did I not know that Dtube was taking 25% of my author rewards? And now I wanted to know how much other applications built on the Steem blockchain were taking.
Here's How It Works...
With Hard Fork 18 (v0.18.0) came the introduction of author reward splitting, otherwise known as "Comment Reward Beneficiaries". With this feature not only can you share your rewards from comments but also from your posts. Instead of taking everything for yourself you can add a beneficiary to share your hard earned rewards with. If you'd like to learn more about the process of setting up a beneficiary for your post, see this article by @heimindanger as he explains it very well.
So How Can Steem Apps Take My Rewards?
Well.. you would assume that you would need to explicitly give permission for a Steem app to be able to take a portion of your rewards, right? Not exactly. When you log into an app it is up to you to understand how the app functions and how the developer rewards themselves for their hard work in building the platform. Not to mention, they have costs with maintaining and improving these apps. This is why most Steem developers have have decided to monetize their efforts using this feature.
And before you start thinking, "These guys are robbing me blind!".. remember that it's monetization like this that incentivizes developers to spend their days and nights writing complicated lines of code. This in turn allows us to move away from sites like YouTube, SoundCloud, Facebook, Instagram, etc. So I'm not saying that this is a bad thing. In fact, I think this was a brilliant idea. What I have issue with is the amount (or weight) that some of these apps are taking. I also feel that there should be more transparency between developers and users. As a user, we have no say in how much we allow an app to take from our rewards. They decide on a set amount for ALL users. And as you'll see from the table below, some take as high as 25%! And most of us aren't even aware that this is even happening.
|App||Purpose of the Application||Beneficiary Weight|
|Dtube||Crypto-decentralized video platform, built on top of the STEEM Blockchain and the IPFS peer-to-peer network.||25%|
|Dsound||Decentralized sound publishing and monetization platform based on Steem blockchain and IPFS.||25%|
|Utopian.io||Utopian uses the Steem blockchain to reward Open Source contributors.||25%|
|Dmania||Make money with memes, funny pictures and videos.||25%|
|Steepshot||Image platform that rewards people for sharing their lifestyle and visual experience.||15%|
|ChainBB||Blockchain based decentralized forum software powered by the Steem blockchain.||15%|
|Esteem||Opensource Steem Mobile application with support for iOS, Android, Windows Phones.||5%|
|Steemit||Steemit is a blogging and social networking website on top of the Steem blockchain that rewards both authors and curators of content.||0%|
|Dlive||The first decentralized video live streaming platform built on the Steem blockchain.||0%|
|Busy.org||Decentralized social network with a unique and feature-rich interface for the Steem blockchain.||0%|
My hat goes off to Dlive and Busy as they've opted out of using this monetization feature. Of course there's nothing to say they won't implement this at a later time as expenses begin to add up. But I highly doubt they'll go from 0% to 25% as that would be a huge jump and probably upset a lot of people. And obviously Steemit isn't going to take your rewards. Heck, they're even paying our account creation fees which tells you they're more interested in people coming to the Steem blockchain than anything else.
Why Should I Continue Using These Apps?
You may be asking yourself if it's worth even using these applications anymore. The short answer is Yes. There are several benefits to using say... Dtube instead of YouTube... or... Steepshot instead of just posting your pictures onto Steemit.com. The first and probably the biggest benefit is this little thing called exposure. You see, when you post your video on Dtube it also automatically posts on Steemit.com. This means you could possibly have twice as many people watching your video then if you had just posted it on Steemit with a YouTube embed code. It's the same thing with Steepshot. When you post a picture there it also gets added over on Steemit.com. And believe it or not, there are people who only use Dtube and Steepshot; they never even come over to Steemit... ever. So you're really hitting two different audiences with your content.
The second benefit is that that 25% being taken from Dtube is far less than the 45%+ that Google takes from your YouTube monetization. Okay, maybe this isn't a benefit, but one hell of a justification. If you're a YouTube creator and you've gone through the YouTube Adsense agreement in all its fine print, then you'll know that Google earns around 45% from the ad revenue created from your videos. This is assuming that your video doesn't become demonitized in which case Google takes 100% of the ad revenue.
Another benefit is something that not everyone has experienced. But every so often, when I post on one of these alternative platforms, the developers themselves will upvote my posts. I've had this happen numerous times with @dtube and @steepshot and it typically means big bucks. In fact, I've had this happen often enough that its totally outweighed the impact of the rewards I'm sending over to them each week. This may not have happened to you yet, but if you stay consistent, and post quality content, there's no reason you shouldn't see a dev upvote in your future.
Aren't There Any Workarounds?
Yes, sort of. Some users who have become aware of the "Comment Reward Beneficiaries" feature that apps are using have found workarounds. However, there's no possible way to use these applications without giving up the percentage of your rewards that they have set out in their code. To bypass the sharing of your rewards you would simply need to quit using these apps altogether, which I doubt many of you are willing to do. I know I'm not willing to part ways.
Dtube - Some users are now uploading videos to YouTube and embedding it into a Steemit post, then wait a little bit and upload the same videos to Dtube. This still gets them their double exposure and they earn 100% of the rewards they are supposed to be paid out from the Steemit post with the YouTube embedded video. This seems like a bright idea but then your Steemit blog has two of the same posts on it which to me seems kind of tacky.
Dlive - Embed your YouTube Live videos into a Steemit blog post. Then post again to Dtube after the live session has ended. And I'm not 100% but I think you can also upload previously recorded videos to @dlive as well. Triple exposure anybody!?
Steepshot - You could post your #photography or #travel pictures to Steemit.com in a blog post instead of using the Steepshot app. However, this will not get you the double exposure and could actually hurt your rewards as Steepshot has become very popular and typically gets me more upvotes than if I just posted to Steemit.com.
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As far as the other applications go, there aren't really any workarounds that I'm aware of. I don't even consider the ones above to be great ideas but it hasn't kept others from utilizing them. You'll just have to weigh the options for yourself and decide what is best for you and what you're trying to do here on the Steem blockchain. At the end of the day you may just be creating more work for yourself than it's worth.
I'm personally not changing a thing. Although I was initially shocked to learn that I had been sharing my hard earned rewards with these apps without even knowing it, I plan to continue as I always have. There are way too many benefits to using the apps that I use. And I'm more than happy to do what I can to help them succeed. One thing I do wish is that the use of this function was more apparent. I hope that in the future these applications will put a warning on their login screen such as the example below...
I think a notice as simple as this would go a long way with building trust with the users and helping them to be more aware of what they're participating in. Everybody loves transparency. And let's be honest, with all the lines of code that goes into these apps, one more wouldn't hurt! 😉
What are your thoughts? If this is all news to you, will you be changing how you use any of these applications? Do you feel there should be more transparency? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
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