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Twitter Has Sharp New Competition Afoot in Pheed

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October 19, 2012

Twitter Has Sharp New Competition Afoot in Pheed

By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer

Social media is one of those phenomena that many are involved in, nowhere near so many fully understand, and some of those who are--or were--involved believe that it may be much more dangerous than first envisioned. So when someone starts talking about "the new Twitter (News - Alert)", it's worth taking a closer look. In the last several days, some fairly major names have moved toward the new social media site known as Pheed to get in on the ground floor.

Pheed has already drawn some fairly big names in the celebrity community, including Miley Cyrus, Ashley Tisdale, Paris Hilton, Chris Brown and more. While those claiming to be "the next Twitter" have come and gone, and even major brands like Google (News - Alert)+ struggle to make headway in the market space, it's worth questioning just what makes Pheed so different that celebrities--whose entire way of life depends on aggressive promotion and keeping their individual brand name front and center--are interested and logging on?

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Pheed is somewhat unusual; a wholly self-financed endeavor that's working out of, of all places, a mansion with six acres on Mulholland Drive. Pheed launched just a few days ago, but they've already got 350,000 unique visitors to their credit, a number that will likely only be improved when their iPhone (News - Alert) app finally clears Apple's rigorous approval department. But Pheed's biggest difference is that it comes with a cash flow building option built right in.

"Pheeders", as they're known, can share their various content--text, photo, video, even live broadcast--for free, or for a subscription rate. Subscription rates can go per view--anywhere from $1.99 to $34.99 per view--or on a monthly basis, from $1.99 to $34.99 a view. Pheeders establish their own price points, and own the content, but Pheed takes a 50 percent cut to cover bandwidth costs and storage and payment processing, with a healthy margin left over for profit.

Content on social networks currently, as Pheed sees it, is weak. Users are too busy trying to build follower bases to cut through the sheer amount of noise on Facebook (News - Alert), and that's leaving the content distressingly poor. Pheed, meanwhile, wants to give users a better way to focus more on making the content better.

By some measures, Pheed's plan is working. Miley Cyrus' Pheed actually drew 10,000 visitors in half a second for an audio recording. But there are inherent problems with Pheed's plan. One, sure, Paris Hilton's packing 8.9 million Twitter followers. David Guetta, another recent celebrity signup, has 35 million Facebook fans. But how many of them would pay Paris Hilton one red cent for anything she had to say? Moreover, what about those who don't have big followings? Where's the impetus for anyone who doesn't have a massive social media presence to join Pheed? Sure, Nana Mary can put up her big stand-up comedy routine, but if no one knows she exists, it's really not going to matter how good her content is. No one will come to see it.

Pheed's got a point. Content on social media is a problem. But the other problem is that content takes time to develop with any kind of skill. Time to develop content requires other resources on hand. Pheed may well prove valuable for established artists who already built a following and have a following willing to contribute for new content. But that's a comparatively limited field. Still, Pheed's clear focus on improved content, and it’s clear connection to tastemakers, may well make Pheed a potent niche market force and, ultimately, a success.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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