After finally getting invited to use Voice, I spent a solid 2 days using the platform. Now I’d like to share with you everything I’ve seen and experienced along this journey.
At first glance, Voice looks like a polished product. After further inspection, you’ll find it’s not. I mean, more than half of the accounts I run into quit posting months ago, probably after realizing you can’t make money on this platform. It was actually way more than half, after going through hundreds of accounts, there are only a handful posting regularly which are the people who are doing well. There is a lot of new people coming in now, so it doesn’t appear that way, but if you look at older accounts, most of what I’ve found have stopped using the platform.
Feel free to follow me there and check out my profile: https://app.voice.com/profile/scottcbusiness. I will continue to use it and test more.
While there may be a nice community here, you can still get that anywhere and it might as well be like Medium with a pretend token that represents claps with a few bonus boosting features. As I explain below a lot of the concepts sound cool but are inherently broken and this “blockchain platform” represents little to none of the values that are commonly attached to that phrase.
One of the many flaws to the way that Voice works is where after the time has run out for people to Voice It your post, the winning Voice person is then listed there forever and can pin one of their comments at the top of your comment section. You and anyone else are only given 24 hours to react to this, so you don’t really have much time. So, then what could happen when someone gets a lot of tokens and has a pornographic profile or something else you don’t want to be associated with and always becomes the top voice of your content? They will have to censor them by design or fix this so they will be doing this a lot. After reading all of their terms and rules, I found that they do state in the ground rules no pornography, violence, spam, deception, illegal activity, abuse, discrimination, or hate. Sounds a lot like Twitter, so given they state that free speech is their bedrock, I beg to differ. You can find that here: https://help.voice.com/hc/en-us/articles/360038941031-What-is-unacceptable-on-Voice-
Something that was also kind of odd that I was seeing a lot of was blank posts being published just to harvest tokens and people were “Voice It”ing them. On top of that, all my notifications were just from people taking back top voice from me and I never noticed when I got actual post comments & engagements or follows.
It seems weird that anyone can permanently attach themselves to your content unless you buy them out. That could almost be used as like a form of brand extortion. They also get to put their comment as the top comment which could also cause huge problems.
It’s also interesting that embedding content doesn’t work so the only platforms you can use for video are YouTube or Vimeo which are fully centralized. That means if you only use decentralized or censorship resistant video hosts or you are banned from YouTube or Vimeo (like me), then you cannot share videos on Voice. Also, if you do share YouTube videos now and cannot edit posts, then if you do get banned, all of your content will also become unwatchable. This means that for any video content creators, this platform is not censorship resistant by any means.
Moderators will remove your posts as they need to. While you can appeal, your content is not truly “immutable” as they claim. Refer to their explanation: https://help.voice.com/hc/en-us/articles/360038553732-Content-removal-appeal-process. If you do something a moderator disagrees with they may just mute you and prevent you from doing anything including earning tokens explained here: https://help.voice.com/hc/en-us/articles/360038941051-Why-was-my-account-muted-.
The problem with this platform is pretty clear. It’s supposed to be a crypto platform which generally tends to mean that it’s crypto-monetized and not just simply that a token is used for boosting like Minds (except you can still make some money on Minds). So if they don’t REALLY support free speech, they aren’t censorship-resistant, don’t support or patronize decentralized platforms, are centralized, and require your real identity and verification. Luckily, they don’t require ID like previously anticipated.
They also currently incentivize you to Voice it on every article you possibly can because you will either maybe make more money or get free advertisement on someone’s post forever. Given tokens will be reset, it makes sense to just spam out your tokens wherever possible for free ad space. Also, will this actually work if and when tokens can be bought? If you can buy them, then you will have to fight just to not have control over what is attached to your own content. If you can’t buy them, then the people who found out they should just Voice it every post they can in the recent posts for ad space or more tokens, they will have a huge advantage.
After one day my impression is that most people won’t appreciate that someone can pin their comment as the top comment and get attached to your post forever potentially if no one else takes the top Voice or you can’t afford to.
One question I have is if someone becomes the top Voice permanently, can I then just delete the post? If I do will they get their tokens back or are they mine? I found the answer after some searching: https://app.voice.com/post/@digitalmaniak/voice-grinching-where-do-the-voice-tokens-go-1597455167-1. This post highlights this phenomenon termed “Voice Grinching” where you delete a post after someone has won the top spot. The author keeps the rewards, but the top Voice loses their earnings, ad space, and future earnings. This is a big problem, especially in the future if Voice tokens could be bought.
Voice doesn’t give you much information on how to earn tokens. In the help section they just write: “Voice Tokens are earned through signing up, visiting on a daily basis, and being an active user within the Voice community.” You can find the actual breakdown under “About Voice Balance” here: https://help.voice.com/hc/en-us/articles/360038941491-About-Voice-Balance.
These are the main ways you can earn tokens:
Sign Up Bonus – You get 30 days-worth of daily tokens to start off. The current value is 100 tokens a day so you get 3000 tokens (this amount may change after resets).
Activity Bonus – Given your account isn’t muted, you will earn Voice tokens daily. The amount currently is 100, but this may change. You must sign in to collect these within 7 days of earning them or you will lose them.
Voice It Rewards – When you create a post and someone Voices It or you Voice a post, the earnings are shared between the author and the curator. When you first Voice a post, 1 token is dedicated to the post and paid to the author. After that, all increases are divided between the curator and the author. 33% goes to the curator, 33% goes to the author, and 34% is burnt and taken out of circulation. You will see these in your wallet as either creator or curator rewards that you must collect.
Engagement Rewards – If your post gets at least 10 likes or comments then it becomes eligible to earn you rewards. However, if 24 hours have passed with no new likes or comments, then you can no longer earn engagement rewards from the post.
After breaking all that down, it becomes very clear to me what the issue is with these tokenomics. You can’t earn from your content if people aren’t consistently engaging with it from the beginning. The problem then is that if you post at a bad time or you just put a lot of work into something and it isn’t noticed in the first 24 hours, you will earn nothing. On top of that, this prevents you from earning anything on your old content meaning that all of your hard work in the past cannot be rewarded.
I’m also left wondering that if there is no KYC and it’s not actually verifiable then what is the value proposition of Voice? It’s not really verifiable without moderators who have to moderate everyone and check posts and do everything that legacy platforms already do now. How will it scale effectively? I mean they spent $30 million on the domain Voice.com. I sold all my EOS.
It was actually quite funny when I realized me and 2 other accounts were the main people who were actually “Voice It”ing everything (I don’t know what the plural of Voice). We three realized it’s gamified to just have you go around throwing your tokens at everything cause they’re free and this is all a big ad space grab in beta that will be permanent.
With all that being said, I’ll still be using the platform and testing it out. It’s still technically in beta. Hopefully, they take the criticisms out of this and put them to use.
This is an interesting platform that may appeal to some people for its value proposition of being mostly real people, then this for you.
If you wanted something different than what you’re getting from legacy platforms this isn’t for you.
If you value decentralization this isn’t for you.
If you value free speech and not having moderators muting you or removing content this isn’t for you.
If you want to make money, currently this isn’t for you.
If you hope you will make money on Voice in the future, I would say the tokenomics deem otherwise.
If you want to control whether or not someone can pin a comment on your post and have their profile attached to it forever this isn’t for you.
If you don’t want to give out your full legal name this isn’t for you.
If you don’t want to rely on the platform being invite-only, currently this isn’t for you.
If making money is possible in the future, but you don’t want to KYC verify, this likely isn’t for you.
Shout out to Travis who proved that you can make two accounts and the whole verified guarantee is somewhat ludicrous. If they have to do it manually too, then again, how will they scale? Please do not take this as me reporting him, rather I’m congratulating him on doing the hard work of a true beta tester. I encourage you to follow him @TravCrypto on LBRY and anywhere else he is. On Voice, you can find him under @trav.
Since the post could get removed I’ll share some screenshots.
There was an official response by the Director of Product Management @ Voice, but to me it reads like they check it manually which again, how can this scale?
Unfortunately, there were also tons of people who were just posting blank posts because everyone is going to still “Voice It” to either earn more Voice tokens or get free ad space. You also earn for “curating” content which further incentivizes you to spam “Voice It.”
Given I’m not muted or banned for this, we will all learn a thing or two. I am being very critical, but all of this can be improved upon as they are still in beta. I was a little let down given the amount spent and the promises made.
What do you think of Voice? Are my criticisms warranted or accurate? Where else do you go for crypto-monetized or blockchain social media platforms? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to like, comment, share, and subscribe.