Game Changers: Is Pheed the New Social Network to Beat?

O.D. Kobo took the best of all the social networks and created one seamless platform, then he got celebrities to endorse it and allowed users to make money on it.
Faith in Focus Columnist, The News & Observer Publishing Company
April 04, 2013



Name:
 O.D. Kobo
Company:
 Pheed
Location:
 Los Angeles
Age:
 37
Website:
www.pheed.com

What he does: Pheed is the hottest social media platform you probably aren't using unless you're a teenager or a celebrity. The website launched in October 2012, and the mobile app for the iPhone followed one month later. Pheed is made up of bits and pieces from the big social media players like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, allowing users to share digital content from text to photos to videos all in one place. Users have an option to make money by charging others to subscribe to their channels or on a pay-per-view basis.

How he started: "You have Twitter for text, Instagram for photos, Viddy or Vine for videos, Soundcloud for sound and Ustream for live broadcast," Kobo says. "With so many options, it becomes difficult to know where to put your content, and no one wants a dozen apps on their phone. The idea behind Pheed is that you can share all forms of digital content in one place in one clean and easy to use app." After being frustrated by the capabilities of other forms of social media, Kobo, who is a veteran Internet entrepreneur, co-founded Pheed and provided seed money.

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Why he's a game changer: "We are the first social platform that allows users to monetize their content if they wish to do so," Kobo says. "While it is free to join Pheed, and many users choose to share their content for free, we believe it is fair to offer content creators the option to monetize their content if the desire is there. Our hope is that this incentivizes great content creation for the Web."

Pheed burst onto the social media scene with a stable of celebrities like Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus on board. That upped Pheed's attraction to teens and, in four months, it became one of the most downloaded social media apps in the iTunes store. Some weeks, Pheed is downloaded more often than Facebook or Twitter. 

Kobo believes Pheed also stands out from the rest because users can take ownership of their own content.

"For creatives—photographers, artists, musicians, actors, comedians, athletes and brands—this is very appealing," Kobo says. "We live in a digital age where it's not clear who owns what. Pheed users can actually select a copyright button, which will encrypt a physical watermark on photos and video with the channel holder's name so that content is always linked back to its creator."

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What's next: Kobo is working to expand Pheed by releasing an Android version of the Pheed app in the next few weeks, as well as adding new photo and video filters to the program. He has also tossed around the idea of trying to get to the 10 million user mark. (It's unclear how close he his, because the company hasn't released any statistics.) 

"The fact that we are so new and growing so rapidly is very humbling," Kobo says. "All we can say is how grateful we are that people have taken so quickly to the platform and seem to love what we have built."

Game Changers is a new series from OPEN Forum, spotlighting innovative entrepreneurs who are disrupting their industries or the business world as a whole. Know a Game Changer? Submit tips at pitches@openforum.com.


Carla Turchetti is a veteran print and broadcast journalist who likes to break a topic down and keep her copy tight. That's why this bio is so brief! Carla blogs via Contently.com. 

Photo: YouTube

Faith in Focus Columnist, The News & Observer Publishing Company