How Much Is Our User Generated Content Worth?
A few days ago, mycube.com published an infographic in their blog. It is about the amount and value of user generated content on social networking sites, and at the end it asks: "Shouldn't users own their own content?" Well, in my opinion the answer is: NO.
Just like the Huffington Post is sued by writers who published articles for free and then had to witness the sale of the site for ridiculous money to AOL - and many people agree with them - I don't, and I feel we are looking at things from the wrong perspective.
The infographic mentioned above states that a combined total of around 3,7 billion dollars are made from Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube and Facebook alone - from "our" content. While it seems to be a normal reflex to think that we should get a share of all this money, we forget that we get value in return: I want to get links to interesting articles from Facebook friends, I want to see the latest NBA highlights on YouTube, I want to be able to look up someone I will encounter in a meeting on LinkedIn and I want to have my daily Conan O'Brien tweet. And I want to have a Like-Button in my own blog or be able to embed some YouTube video. And I want to use Technorati. For free. I am writing this post and won't get a cent for it, but I am writing it as a contribution to a discussion and, of course, as a possibility to extend the reach of my own blog (at least the parts that are in English), happening on another free platform named Blogger. That's more than enough value to me.
So while Facebook generated 1,86 billion USD turnover in 2010 (and let's assume there were 550 million users during that year in average), everyone contributed content worth 3 dollars and 38 cents - consider this your fee to make Facebook happen, and it even did not come literally out of your pocket. It's a bit more than 28 cents a month, and that is by far less than the value the platform has given me. On YouTube, we all watch around 720 billion (!) videos per year. Weigh that against the 945 million in revenue: 0,001 dollars per video, and I had priceless moments watching YouTube. It's simply worth it to give them my content for free. If we combine the 5 social networks mentioned above and their roughly 3,7 billion total turnover in 2010, and again assume only 550 million different users would have visited those in total worldwide, we have an average value contribution of 6,73 USD per user during the whole year. Consider this your flat fee to use these 5 networks: slightly more than half a dollar per month.Continued on the next page