According to Daisy Whitney with TelevisionWeek, video site Metacafe has announced that their Producer Rewards program which gives creators of video content $5 for every one thousand views of their content, has resulted in more than 27 million views thus far, driving traffic to the site while also creating a way to create revenue for video producers, giving an incentive both for creators to post their content there and for advertisers to pay more attention to the site.
Could this business model work as a permanent fixture? According to Metacafe, it already is showing signs of major success for content creators. They have reported that the top eight creators on their site, through the Producer Rewards program, have topped more than $10,000 each for their video content on the site, creating a lucrative return on the online videos in a two month span.
Whitney sites the Nielsen Net ratings as ranking Metacafe as "the 8th most viewed video site with about 2.6 million unique visitors per month."
Not surprisingly, the site has been having trouble with artificial views, as they have already banned several IP addresses for attempting to artificially boost their numbers. The folks at Metacafe write, "We want everyone to earn money with Producer Rewards and we welcome any kind of self-promotion you can think of that brings more people to the site and to your videos. But we don't approve of people being tricked into visiting Metacafe or clicking on items that promise one thing and deliver another. Nor will we accept multiple accounts being created to boost the popularity of a single user or multiple views from a single IP for the same clips over and over again in a short space of time."
I think it's a great idea to create incentive for compelling user-generated content, but the Metacafe folks are becoming well-aware of the challenges of not getting ripped off from making such an offer. They said they consider it a measure of success that people are trying to beat their system, but it's going to be an interesting struggle as they continue trying to expand the Producer Rewards program.
Further, the site attempts to create some bar of quality for content, as Metacafe emphasizes that they will not take low-quality video, videos whose primary intent is to promote other website (if it "just shows someone typing in a url of a cool site that has nothing else to offer but showing us the site"), or videos that duplicate the idea of another video already accepted into the Producer Rewards program.
These types of rewards programs are obviously working well, as the numbers indicate, but Metacafe's own writing underscores the many difficulties and headaches in managing a program like this and trying to constantly update a system so that it cannot be "beaten" by the collective devious intelligence of users.