When it comes to the value of your online activity, a shifting mindset may be emerging. All sorts of major websites rely on their users to supply them with content – everywhere from Facebook to Reddit to Yelp – but despite this, the websites are the ones making all the money. Granted, getting people to do your dirty work for free isn’t a new phenomenon, but obviously paying people for their work isn’t a new idea either – YouTube, for instance, allows users to monetize their videos. With this in mind, some startups out there are trying to build a brand by financially incentivizing the kind of things people are already doing online – things like writing restaurant reviews.
Atlis is an app for both iOS and Android that’s looking to take on the model of sites like Yelp by paying users for successfully recommending restaurants and other businesses to other users. According to Grub Street, unlike other review sites, Atlis tries to focus on the positive: Users in need of help pose a question about the kind of place they’re looking for – “a bar in the Village that’s good for groups and not too loud” is the app’s example – and then other users respond in real time with their suggestions. If your recommendation proves to be a successful one (for duplicate recommendations, the first one that comes in is the one that counts), you get a monetary kickback. Grub Street says the pay is currently $5 that can be sent directly into your PayPal account.
As with any new app, whether Atlis will find its footing remains to be seen. Right now it’s only available in New York City, meaning it still has a long way to go before becoming an international phenomenon. Still, the company has already raised $2 million in funding and received a positive nod from Google, whose business team called it one of ten emerging companies with high growth potential. And Google knows just how much things can change: Remember when you did your searching with WebCrawler?