Advertisers over the years have relied on digital platforms to obtain data they can use for their target audience.
While this data is meant to be safe and secured owing to the guarantee of privacy, both digital platforms and advertisers are raking lots of cash from this, however, the owners of the data and the users of these digital platforms end up with no additional funds to their wallets.
On one hand, these digital platforms offer you terms and conditions to use their platforms for free, thus users are left with fewer options.
Is it possible to use a digital platform, where your safety is guaranteed, while also earning money? Yes, and one platform that is ensuring this possibility is ImagineBC, a new media company. It’s a secure platform for unique content experiences that pay members and creators back.
ImagineBC was built from the ground up with your privacy and security in mind. Through the utilization of Blockchain Technology, we enable our member’s data and personal information to be stored on the most advanced and secured data-storage system available – preventing anyone but you from accessing your information.
Blockchain Technology allows ImagineBC to treat every member as anonymous, while still verifying that every member of the community is who they say they are.
We had a chat with Erik Rind, CEO and Founder of ImagineBC, who took us through how the digital platform is securing the platform for unique content experiences that pay members and creators back.
Tell us about ImagineBC?
ImagineBC came into existence about three years ago, and I had spent the vast majority of my career nearly 28 years in what’s known as the HCM space human capital management, which is payroll, HR, and benefits.
I pivoted into ImagineBC because I got interested in blockchain technology, and as I was starting to attempt to implement blockchain technology on our HR software, I realized that what we were really trying to do was get people to understand that they need to take back ownership of their personal data.
Now, this was three years ago, and nobody really knew anything about how important personal data was or how it was being misused by the tech giants.
We later abandoned using Blockchain for our HR product, because we feel that people should take back control of their personal data. But how do we get them to understand how important that is? What are we going to do that they’ll find interesting?
We, therefore, settled on the fact that people should receive a fair value for the use of their personal data and that really is, in essence, the core of what ImagineBC is all about.
So we’re a digital media company, but our model is that the advertising revenue that we take in, we share back 90% of it with our community, with the hope that when our community receives the money from the advertising revenue they’ll spend it on one of three things.
They’ll spend it on content on our platform, donate it to social causes of interest, or, they’ll take it back down into the physical world and spend it on important things, like, food and electricity and a roof over their head.
We believe that every individual has the right to receive fair value for the data, and their personal use of their personal data from advertising.
Our platform is set up to accomplish that the revenue is shared with them as they make money from their personal data.
ImagineBC is revolutionizing the digital content experience by offering safety and equity for all, is this offering available for all regions?
What we found out was that it’s very difficult to sell this concept here in the United States, we, however, have been very fortunate with our partners on the African continent.
We should be rolling out the platform over the next couple of weeks in South Africa. Working with our partner Zawadi, we could also get it up and running in Nigeria, and potentially some action in Botswana.
Why do you think people over there in your country are resistant to this revolution?
It comes down here in the United States, it comes down to what’s known as the privacy paradox. Although people are now becoming aware, however, how important is how their private data is being used, and they’re not willing to make the sacrifice.
Nobody’s unplugging from Instagram or TikTok, or Twitter. So I believe our success, expected success in Africa will allow us to eventually succeed here in the United States, but we can’t yet create the proper value proposition for Americans to understand that even if you only earn a few bucks a month with your data, that’s still important, because you could donate it to a charity.
Now, the difference on the African continent is that the value proposition we have available to us in South Africa is we’ve partnered with a startup in South Africa called Zawadi, as they have a relationship with the largest retailer in the country.
The value proposition that’s going to be afforded to the individual in South Africa, especially for those that purchase airtime on their mobile device is this, they do not need to spend extra cash from their wallet in purchasing airtime.
By just watching a couple of ads a day, you can get 30 to 50% more airtime every month. That is a very strong value proposition to a very large sector of the population in South Africa, as well as in Nigeria, Ethiopia and other places that we are touching.
That’s the core value proposition that we’re bringing to the people through our platform in partnership with Zawadi. We haven’t been able to find that same strong value proposition here in the United States, but it is a very powerful one throughout the African continent.
We can say this because the retailers signed on almost immediately because they saw the incredible advantage in increasing their bottom line, as they would make more money in commissions from the telecom companies through airtime sales for just essentially watching a couple of ads.
This ability to provide this service back to the people is unique because we are redistributing wealth away from Facebook, Twitter, and Google, we’re giving it back to the people who deserve it.
In addition, not all the money that they’ll earn on our platform will necessarily be used to purchase airtime, but additional cash can be moved into a money market account within the E-wallet of one of those other large companies.
So now we’ve got people becoming active participants in the financial economy of the country. And they’re doing that through the use of their personal data, and our platform is the vehicle by which that can happen.
How ImagineBC work?
Within days of deployment, our app will actually be on the SIM card of every device our retailer sells. When your SIM card is activated, you’ll be able to activate your account on our app, branded by Zawadi, and powered by ImagineBC. Following activation, there would be ads. Surveys are readily available for your users in South Africa to start earning money.
Some of the earned money will go to the immediate purchase of additional airtime that will be credited back to your device, the rest of that cash will be then put into a balance within the app.
Users may now choose to transfer money to their main account, or turn them into vouchers to purchase a product.
So it’s straightforward, the app will already be on the device, Once you’re registered, then we’ll open it up, we’ll let you share a bit of information about yourself, however, you control that information that, so we can find the right ads to give to you, such that when those ads are displayed on your mobile device, you choose whether you wish to watch them or not. If you prefer the latter and watch it to the end, you immediately earn Rand.
How will content creators and brands benefit from ImagineBC?
In Africa, the focus has been on earnings, but as I mentioned earlier, not all the earned Rand from the ads will get spent on airtime. For balance, what we want to do is to content providers properly compensated, unlike how other related digital platforms dictate how users are paid.
We hope that users will use the balance within their app to purchase valuable and quality content on our platform.
They are not necessarily diving into their wallet, they are using the available balance within our app to purchase the content they desire.
Our studies have shown that people would pay for content they are interested in if they find value. The content provider earns up to 70-85% of the payment, while we take 10%, the remaining 5% is redistributed back into the community.
The content provider earns 70 and 85% of the content that they set their price on. Users are buying their content using essentially credits they’ve earned by watching ads rather than money from their wallets.
What tip did you learn from Jaron Lanier?
Initially didn’t get it until I listened to his interviews, He gave me the direction and the purpose. We already had gone down the path and knew people needed to take back control of their data, but we didn’t really know what we were until I heard his Interviews. These interviews are brilliant.
This model you are deploying is unique, do you have a white paper?
I’m not your traditional startup, I’m 60 years old. I’m a grandfather of three. I took no outside investment as I am funding ImagineBC with the profits I make for my HR company.
This doesn’t mean, we won’t take external investment, however, for now, we don’t need any yet, hence no requirement for a white paper.
What’s your view on securing privacy on digital platforms?
More than a media outfit, we are a tech platform that offers tools and capability for content providers to put their content up in a way that doesn’t violate their users’ privacy.
What we have learned is that, when leaving content providers to their own devices, they lag in providing content for users, we don’t want to spend the time chasing them down all the time to get content, thus, we are changing our content strategy into three different tiers
We will either fund the content ourselves, in which case, we will make the 70 to 85% and that would only be for the content type that we’re really interested in, but we don’t feel that is important on our platform yet.
The way we will most likely go is we’ll identify content partners who are consistent with the type of content we want to put out, which are educational, informational, or inspirational.
If it doesn’t meet one of those three criteria, you’re not on our platform. So we will compensate our partners to produce content on an ongoing basis, but still, allow them to keep that 70 to 85%.
When are you expanding to Nigeria?
I can’t give you an actual date, but we are working with our partner Zawadi to replicate the South African model there.
We haven’t gotten the final buy-in yet, however, I can say that the purchasing signals are looking good, and since we are so close to a successful launch in South Africa, the final hurdle is for us to get a final commitment from Nigeria.
Thus working with Zawadi, we hope we could probably be launching this in Nigeria probably early summer.
Featured Image: Erik Rind, Board Member, CEO & Founder, ImagineBC
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