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I stare at something said to be “new”, the new social timeline called “Pheed”, that is supposed to meet a facebook cross social link with a multimedia timeline (Twitter+Youtube+G+…). Big deal or not?

The previous innovation like “paying walls”, standing in a premium model for contents as “pay-per-view” principle is really risky, while there is so much piracy and virality, around the world in a few seconds, sweeping copyrights, patents and barriers in few clics. They bet today on a special private teasing, with celebrities, somewhat like the music world has been tumbled down with piracy and search for another revenue source, playing with “fans attraction” considering they will be able to pay for such private and exclusive contents. In this case, whatever our beliefs, what’s the deal and the size of the potential threat to other timelines?

Balancing his audience from place to place is somewhat dangerous, even if you’re a rock star…Lots of celebrities who opened a private space should ask themselves: how many of them will follow their tracks to Pheed, and the deepest needs they will follow then? But we must not throw the idea too early, because, while twitter and facebook are late in their ability to make real “money”, Pheed is so straight forward in its expectations, that we see clearly where the value is: celebrities. Where twitter created “certified accounts” but didn’t value them, Pheed seems decided to make these “stars” bankable, with a clear model: subscribing or “per view” access to exclusive contents. Fair enough, it gives what fans wait for.

Talking about design and interface, the user experience targets younger audiences of  “fans”, allowing them to request for more “exclusive contents” from their favourite stars. It’s quite a “multimedia” console, “twitter-like”, with easier access to any media you want to push: text, audio, video, picture, RSS. Talking about contents, so called provided by premium stars, we could doubt an instant on the ability of “trust” and reliance for these contents: another huge machine for promotion by majors’ marketing teams. So there’s probably teens or even younger targets, who could pay to be addicted to more relevant contents for their idols, but who pays in fact? Parents. And where’s the limit they would cross to satisfy their children?

In fact, do we still have to call Pheed another “social network/platform”, where any content is probably driven by money and influence of large marketing machines? Social means “hey, I spent more money than you with ‘idol’ one” account…Big deal so far but who cares? Another teen toy, to addict them to brand, star life and virtual world…Is it the kind of education we want for our children, where’s the lesson for life that Pheed is supposed to “display” to this catcha target?

1millionUBut beyond all, it could become a targeted cash machine, another “content channel” dedicated to closer relations between fans and stars. Where you see Youtube launching several thematical channels, you can understand social platforms as more than twits and chats, building their whole environment, like old loyalty programs with physical cards. Lead into this environment, fans may consume lots of things, including contents but goodies and more stuff from the brand. There’s no such way to link Pheed to Facebook’s fans pages…And make it the cash machine for focused and premium content? But so far, Stars’ facebook official pages and published contents are free right now…? So is there a chance it could become successful on Pheed?

I don’t finally know where is the frontier between “social” which is the way we share and chat about “things, subjects and passions”) and “paying shop” where the final goal is simply “buy” something rare and exclusive. Can it be something sustainable enough to make and keep audience, in a long period, to create a huge database that stands for anything else than “making money”?

If Pheed becomes the “twitter that likes cash”, it may find the way to revenue faster, but more targeted. Is it then a big picture or will stay a fashion fever surfing on social passion? Future will tell us…

One thing is sure: “No need for Pheed, but some will greed”

More ideas at:

http://frenchweb.fr/social-media-pourquoi-pheed-ne-sera-pas-un-succes/84388 (in French)

http://www.techwyse.com/blog/social-media-marketing/new-social-network-pheed-is-it-really-just-for-teenagers

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