Brownbook Offers Users Earnings

User-generated directory site has introduced a new program that allows users to earn money when a business claims a listing or signs up for different ad products on the site.

Whoever provides an listing entry and/or review content — there are some rules that govern this — gets a share of lifetime revenue generated from the business. The “rev share” is pretty generous for such a program:

Year 1
Assuming you start by adding, updating and reviewing a total of 100 listings.
Assuming that 10 of those businesses subsequently claims their listing and adds all the promotions you’ll earn $40 (20% of the total revenue) in the first year.

Year 2 +
Assuming you add, update and review a further 100 listings in each of the following 4 years, and that again 1 in every 10 of those businesses claims and adds all the promotions.  You’ll earn a further $40 each year

I spoke to Brownbook yesterday at some length about this and we discussed the various scenarios involved. Founders Dave Ingram and Marc Lyne had thought through all of them.

Of course, people only get paid when a business “claims” its listing and/or signs up for promotional products. That suggested to me that some of the contributors to Brownbook might become quasi-salespeople for the site, notifying businesses that their listing had been added to Brownbook, and so on, in order to collect the money for their effort. Yet the money probably isn’t enough for people in developed countries to devote significant time to this. Rather it offers a reward for something they may already be doing.

Ingram and Lyne pointed out that the economics might be quite different in developing countries, where US$40 represents a good deal more money than in the US or EU. They just launched the program last week so our discussion was largely speculative and not based on any early data they have.

I mentioned the MerchantCircle program, which is conceptually similar. But they distinguished it by saying that the MerchantCircle program appeared to be much more explicitly about generating sales. They said they were more interested in finding a way for users to benefit financially from their participation in the site rather than creating a sales channel.

Here’s a video of CEO Dave Ingram speaking about the program.

2 Responses to “Brownbook Offers Users Earnings”

  1. Brownbook Makes ‘Sales Force’ Statement « Screenwerk Says:

    […] is an attention-getting device, because the founders said to me that they weren’t seeking expressly to create a quasi sales force, although the practical […]

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