Blinked is an existing social media platform that allows users to get paid for their recommendations and digital ads. It is also the first media platform that will deliver up to 90% of advertising revenue to users through the blockchain and the Blinked decentralized social media model. It’s grown to more than 13,000 users while just in development and now it’s getting ready to launch Blinked 5.0 with a new token environment that rewards users in multiple ways.
We have the opportunity to talk to Julie Benlevi-Little who serves as the CEO of Blinked. This is a great way for us to learn more about Blinked such as how it came to be, who the founders are, what motivated them to create Blinked and much more.
Julie, thank you for setting some time aside to answer some questions on Blinked. As there are many ICOs and projects that are coming out every day, lots of people don’t even want to research most of them anymore as they usually tend to not prosper and run off with the money.
What is Blinked and is there a need in the market for this token?
"Sure. Thanks for having me. Blinked was developed to solve a few problems in both the recommendation space and social media space. We’re the first universal recommendation platform that drives almost all of revenue to users.
We’re all busy using social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, while they earn billions of dollars in advertising from our presence. We love the idea of a decentralized platform and directing up to 90 percent of advertising revenue to users via the Blinked [BLKD] Token, while enabling them to get recommendations on absolutely anything. Kind of like watching the world cup or Superbowl, and earning from the ads you see because you’re already watching those programs. Users will also be able to earn BLKD tokens for contributing their recommendations to the platform.
Also, there are so many different recommendation platforms focusing on niche or specific markets, such as travel, dining, home repairs, etc. But there have been no universal recommendation platforms that focus on everything, anywhere. Blinked enables users to get recommendations on anything (people, places, products, services, technology, events and more) directly from their friends (and not strangers), worldwide."
What led you to start Blinked and why? "I come from a digital background and have been building digital platforms for many years. Blinked is actually my third startup. The recommendation space is currently monopolized by one company in the U.S. (Yelp) and we believe users worldwide are looking for a platform that comes with a greater level of trust.
Blinked was developed to be a universal recommendation platform where users can find recommendations directly from their friends on anything, while enabling users to earn simultaneously from being engaged with the platform."
Blinked has some reputable influencers in sports backing the project, what are their roles in Blinked?
"Yes, that’s correct. Our investors, advisors and influencers include Prince Amukamara (Chicago Bears), John Brenkus (ESPN), Yoenis Cespedes (New York Mets), Big Sean (a Roc Nation artist) and too many more to name. We have an incredible team of 20+ people behind us."
Amazon, the multi-billion-dollar company, is one of your partnerships along with Open Table. What is their role in Blinked?
"Yes. We are more of a decentralized business, but are leveraging their capabilities to enable users to make restaurant reservations or purchase any products that are recommended by their friends. A behavior they are already quite familiar with."
Going through Problem 1 on the White Paper (WP) – Users do not receive compensation for contributing and recommending products/services on platforms such as Yelp. Blinked has solved this problem by creating a platform where the same users who recommend products/services will receive compensation if they recommend through the Blinked platform. The compensation comes in form of Blinked Gold [BGZD]. As this is a valid solution, does it not create another problem for users to have to learn about cryptocurrency – how to store BGZD, how to cash out etc?
"An understandable question. Users are very familiar with contributing content on platforms. They’re just not used to getting paid for it. We think this will be a welcome addition to learned behavior. There aren’t any new actions they need to take and will simply find their Blinked Gold [BGZD] earned in their Blinked wallets within the app. They can exit from within the app in what we call the “Blinked Arcade” and exchange their token for things such as hotel rooms, products, services, etc. or they can exit externally."
Walk us through Solution 2 where users are compensated for consuming advertisements – say User A watches an Altcoin Investing Video Ad, and half way through the video they decided to keep scrolling – Do they still receive compensation?
"Users receive compensation based on their level of engagement with the platform and the content. So if User A watches a 30 second video for Altcoin Investing, they will receive the full compensation (up to 90 percent) for that video. If they watch half of it, then they receive half of the compensation (45 percent). The compensation is relative to their interest in the content. Users are shown ad content that is of interest to them based off of the type of content they contribute or follow. So you’ll never see an ad for content that doesn’t apply to your interests. There also aren’t ways to game the platform just to earn."
Solution 3 in the WP allows users to monetize their own data – how would user A go about monetizing their current profile information such as what movies they like, restaurants they recommend, people they follow etc? Also, do you think that the current social media platforms are not doing a very good job in keeping users data secure? Will blinked be able to do what Facebook and some other platforms essentially have not been doing very well which is securing users data?
"For starters, we’re building on the blockchain. It’s an entirely different level of transparency. If users are engaged, they are inherently monetizing their own data because they earn based off of their own level of engagement (recommending, getting many likes on a recommendations, earning from ad content).
For the first time, users are the ones making money from their own social media activity. All of this data is captured on the blockchain, and so there’s no lying about how much a user has earned or how many people have seen a particular ad.
If you advertise on Facebook today, you have to trust Facebook’s analytics and they decide how much you’re going to pay them. But there are very few ways to verify or audit that information without having to use other platforms (that you also have to pay for). It’s way too complicated and not a very trustworthy system. We’re cleaning that up. We’re turning the curve with the way social media is done today.
Facebook's transparency has been an issue for a while (Cabridge Analytica, etc.) and users are ready for a new way of doing things and a new dynamic – where they are the earners."
Isn’t reviewing a product the same as recommending/not recommending it? For example, user A tries out a phone case and likes it – He/She would essentially write why they like it and, in the review, they would recommend it descriptively. OR perhaps User B tries the same phone case but does not like it and simply does not recommend it with no reason?
"Recommendations and reviews are not the same. You can review something and not necessarily recommend it. You can check in somewhere and not want to recommend it.
Blinked is a true recommendation platform. There isn’t noise of what you don’t like because if it’s not recommended by someone you know, you won’t see it.
If you like it, you Blink it. Plain and simple."
What can users expect from “The Blinked Feed” as compared to their Facebook/Instagram feed?
"The Blinked feed includes recommendations on anything from the people that you choose to follow. It’s not that different from other social media platforms where you select the people and sources you’re interested in. Then you see the recommendations and content as you scroll through.
The Blinked feed is a sideswipe (left to right) action, and you can see so many different things getting recommended in real time. You can add people you want to follow at any time.
I sometimes forget that I’m the founder of Blinked and get sucked into the content in a matter of seconds, because I’m seeing things recommended by my friends that I’ve never known before. It’s kind of awesome."
Blinked has essentially two tokens – Blinked Token (BLKD) and Blinked Gold (BGZD), could you explain to the readers the difference between the two and why there is two tokens.
"The Blinked [BLKD] token is the external token that users may exchange for Blinked Gold [BGZD], the internal, stabilizing token. Users may exit the same way they came in by exchanging back to Blinked [BLKD] Token from Blinked Gold [BGZD]."
Lastly, why raise funds by way of an initial coin offering instead of doing it the traditional way like other social media companies have done?
"It’s a new era of decentralization where users are able to participate in the success of a social media platform. We’ve already tested a model where users get rewarded for their content, and so it makes complete sense for us to integrate a token economy and an environment where users earn.
ICOs are an exciting way for users to participate in the success of a decentralized social media platform."
Any other comments that you would like to make to readers?
"We’re an existing platform with 13,000 users, an incredible team, and existing product and are excited to let users around the world earn for a change."