Ben Young
Ben Young
March 9, 2021

One big thing

Reader David Berkowitz put me on to, a way to create tokens for rewarding engagement in your community. The tokens are backed by the website. It’s early days so really what you can do with it is quite open. Users can be gifted tokens or buy/sell them.

David mused on some of the things he’s thinking about here, I think if anything this helps community managers get better and more creative with their communities. And in a way gives permission to do so. Check out his $cmo coin.

They’re not the only ones, Reddit is pondering tokens too, crypto publisher Decrypt has launched their own too and so has this band.  

Decrypt is incentivizing its users to read and interact with its content in exchange for the publication’s unique take on cryptocurrency: its utility token (DCPT).

The publisher is also capitalizing on readers’ affinity for games by turning engagement into a rewarded action. Users of the site’s app, which launched nine months ago, can create an in-app wallet and earn tokens for taking actions on articles like reading (three tokens), reacting with an emoji (one token), or sharing (two tokens).

The tokens are closed within the publication’s environment and are not publicly tradable like security-backed cryptocurrencies, but they are exchangeable for items of value provided by Decrypt and site sponsors. These items include T-shirts, stickers, access to promotional events or premium content.

Seth Godin would love these, the tokens can become, a badge of ownership. I’m in this community, it’s part of what I believe. The sheer existence of them helps build that.

The analogy I think of, it’s like microtransactions in mobile games, you can get involved in the community and earn coins to get additional benefits or access, or you can pay for them to help support the community. Both are additive to the community. Win/win. It’s not as easy as that but you can see the vision for when it’s done well.

Notable stories this week

  • Spotify podcast listener numbers will surpass Apple’s this year.
  • Publishers look for new opportunities in events businesses after a transformative 2020 and Bleacher Report’s House of Highlights wants its creator-led challenges to rival live sports.
  • How I make thousands on YouTube, without being YouTube famous.
  • [Twitter thread] On how you can make a living from nearly any niche, a clubhouse chat summary.
  • ^ Related, Spotify CEO explains how the company plans to help artists (and itself) make money.
  • Decrypt created its own cryptocurrency for super readers. An emerging trend bringing tokens into publishers community.
  • Stuff, New Zealand largest news site left Facebook seven months ago and traffic is fine.
  • Google Just Dropped Another Privacy Bomb on Independent Ad Tech.
  • Firefox replaces GA with a fake no-op GA container.
  • Airbnb’s Brian Chesky says SEO was not one of the top growth drivers for AirBNB.


  • SEMRush to go public, their s1 is worth a read.
  • Brandwatch acquired Cision for $450m, creating a PR, marketing and social listening giant.
  • Mobile attribution company Applovin is set to go public.
  • Roku buys Nielsen’s advanced video advertising business. Enables them to replace linear ads with targeted buys.

Campaign of the week

  • Maybe a polarizing piece of content, but Pfizer is using branded content to educate the public about vaccines.

Smartest commentary

  • “I can rank 2 millionth among around 30 million total YouTube creators in terms of overall subscribers and still make thousands of dollars per year on the platform.”Thomas Smith, YouTuber

Datapoints of note

See all our Covid-19 data here.

  • SEMRush has 67,000 paying customers.
  • This year 28.2m people will listen to podcasts on Spotify.
  • Disney has added 1,000 new advertisers over the past year through such programmatic deals and is aiming for an 80% revenue increase from automated advertising this year. Disney expects programmatic to make up to 50% of its total ad revenue by 2024.

That’s it for this week.