There’s no shortage of Digg style social voting sites currently available, but to date the general move in user generated content sites towards compensating users for participation has not come to general users of social voting sites. Propeller (previously Netscape) offered money to top Digg users to participate on it site in July 2006. However, new service Ximmy aims to take compensation for participation to the general public.
Here’s how it works: Users earn points based on the activities they undertake that can be redeemed for cash. For submitting a story or leaving a comment on a submitted item, users earn one point. If a story they submit hits the front of Ximmy they earn 15 points. Users accumulate points until they hit a balance that can be cashed out. 1000 points can be cashed out for $10, 1800/ $20, 3200/ $40, 6000/ $80, 12,000/ $160 or 20,000/ $300. The money is paid via Paypal.
Ximmy itself isn’t brilliant, for example it isn’t pretty to look at and I’m betting it’s a very standard Pligg install, but it’s the payment program that makes it interesting, at least in an overall market perspective. Will Ximmy steal away top Digg and Reddit users looking for pocket money? probably not, but expect Ximmy to be the first of what is likely many new social voting sites to come that offer compensation for user contributions, and ultimately that’s a good thing.
There’s also the counter argument that users of social voting sites contribute and participate for the enjoyment and social aspects services such as Digg provide, and even the off chance of getting 15 seconds of fame. That will always be the case for some users, but as the noise continues to increase and online users are forced to chose between one site or another as their capacity to interact across many sites hits its natural peak, I’d bet that sites such as Ximmy (although perhaps not Ximmy itself) will win the hearts and minds of a decent portion of the market, after all, if we’re going to spend time building value for these sorts of sites, it’s not much to ask in return that we should be compensated for our time, even in a small way.