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The Business Model of Paying users Vs Paying-users

One of those ‘paying users’ is the ‘conventional’ user who pays for your service. The other, though is just the opposite – you pay the user as a part of your business model! And by ‘user’ I mean the ‘C’ in the typical B2C business (rather in this case –a C2B business).

One such interesting concept that I came across recently and one that falls in the second category is Carpaisa. Their tag line says it all – “Brand your car and get paid”. The user (a car owner) registers with Carpaisa, after which one of the many registered advertisers would put up a vinyl sticker ad on the car, the car owner would keep the ad on his car for a certain period of time, and the advertiser would pay the car owner depending on certain predecided parameters (Carpaisa, ofcourse would get a cut out of the deal)

This somehow reminded me of mGinger – a service where users can register to get paid for receiving promotional SMSes. I had registered with mGinger a long time back (have not exactly got rich yet though!)

The commonality between the two is that the user registers with the service purely with the intention of making money (without much of an effort). In case of mGinger, the effort is actually zilch, all you need to do is be ready to receive a few SMSes everyday. And the best part is, no one really knows that you are – well – earning a few bucks this way (if at all you do)!

However, in case of Carpaisa, there is a big difference. It is not an online/mobile promotion any more, but a promotion in the physical world. The user’s car will actually be doubling up as a brand ambassador for the advertiser company. And well, everyone on the road will (obviously!) know about it (that precisely was the advertiser’s intention in the first place). However, my sense is that it might be a bit awkward for many to put up an ad on their cars.

The basic theme in both the services is to lure users into registering by showing them an easy way of making money (not that anything is wrong with it). But the users have nothing else on their mind really! (Oh that also reminds me of SpeakAsia – the online survey site where they claim to pay users for filling surveys– they are even showing TV Commercials these days!).

Money being the only driver for the userbase is somehow not a very comfortable feeling for me. What’s your take?

[Guest article by Mandar Kulkarni. Reproduced from his blog]

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