Back in June, we covered Pay with a Tweet. Developed by German-American Innovative Thunder, Pay with a Tweet bills itself as "the first social payment system where people pay with the value of their social network." In other words, rather than paying with currency, purchasers of any kind of content tell their friends on Twitter about it instead. Interested content owners simply sign up with Pay with a Tweet, including the download URL, the tweet to be posted and a link to their company's website. Purchasers, then, follow a "forced viral" model to promote the product in question far and wide. Pay with a Tweet is currently available for testing on Innovative Thunder's own book, "Oh My God What Happened and What Should I Do?"
We had a feeling it wouldn't be long before we came across another like-minded initiative. As if on cue, along comes SocialWhispers, a site that enables the exchange of online content for a tweet or status update on Facebook.
Created by Glasgow-based web design firm Pretty Klicks, SocialWhispers is named for the potentially significant value that even a single mention on social media such as Facebook and Twitter can have. The site offers a free web button that content owners can place on their own web pages to "sell" material in exchange for such a "social whisper." Musicians, video producers, writers, artists and even brands or service providers can then use the function to help increase the odds that their songs, videos, articles and other socially distributed content will go viral. A professional version, meanwhile, offers unlimited buttons, live statistics, automatic URL shortening and more. Pricing for the SocialWhispers pro version begins at GBP 300 per year.
Ventures like Pay with a Tweet and SocialWhispers offer small businesses and content producers an alternative to Twitter's own Promoted Tweets, which is currently only available to a limited group of advertisers while Twitter tests the system.
Are "social whispers" becoming the new currency of choice in the online world? It's certainly starting to look that way at least for digital content. The question is whether consumers will soon get sick of being marketed to by their friends and family, or whether we'll develop whisper-etiquette that will forgive the occasional marketing tweet if we know our friends are getting a freebie. One to experiment with!