The battle around paying users

I told you that I was tracking the netscape vs. digg business model discussion surrounding compensating contributors. This debate has continued to sizzle (particularly as youtube video distribution skyrockets) and theirs a great post at publishing 2.0 on it. Worth reading the whole thing but here's an excerpt....

It took eight months for Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz to mastermind a now iconic Web video that shows them creating intricate fountains of soda by dropping 500 Mentos into 100 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke. The video became an instant hit after it was published in June on Revver, a service that shares ad revenue. Within days, bootlegs showed up on Google and YouTube. Voltz, a civil litigation lawyer, figured out the process for getting the videos removed. But as copies kept reappearing, Voltz learned that he had to keep contacting YouTube to take down each new version.

The Mentos/Diet Coke video was seen 5.5 million times on Revver and made Grobe and Voltz $30,000. But Voltz estimates they lost another $30,000 to pirated copies. And for several days recently, blogs buzzed with attempts to sort out the rights of artists to control uploaded videos. As the prospect grows for making money online, what started as a lark for many is becoming all too serious.

User-generated content is going through a novelty phase, where most “users” are content with attention as a form of recompense for their efforts. But for savvy “users” — or in this case video production artists, let’s get real here — getting paid in attention while hosting platforms like YouTube get all the take-to-the-bank revenue is sheer lunacy.

To all the Web 2.0 sites that think they are going make a fortune off of “free” user-generated content — it’s the users calling…they want their money. And if you don’t give it to them, they are going to take their content elsewhere.