Content, available in English, will initially be free. When readers log on to the site for the first time, they’ll receive a certain number of points—Chang calls them “karma points”—which will slowly be depleted as they click through articles. To restock on points and maintain access, they will have to share the site’s stories through social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. It’s a bit like multilevel marketing—the more readers spread articles, the greater their access. Those who bristle at being asked to share content can buy points; five points will cost 99¢. “I’m sort of riding off of a gaming model where, instead of pay to play, you can share to play,” Chang says.
Chang plans to pay contributors a competitive up-front fee but also give them a percentage of revenue generated by their articles. “We’ll know the click-through rates for every single article, so we can actually give you a cut for the advertising that goes through,” she says. “You won’t get paid once; you’ll get paid continuously.” Chang plans to bring in revenue by running the site as a data platform—a way of collecting reader data that can be shared with third parties—and deploying targeted advertising.
Take two things I hate: free-to-play gaming with in-app purchases/DLC and page view blogging that promotes eye-catching headlines and controversial stances. Mash them together. Congratulations, you have the first issue of Sasangge.
Gamification is a neat concept, but just because you can apply it to something doesn’t mean you should.