For those who are unfamiliar with Tsu, it's a new social networking platform that claims to share profits with its users by way of revenue from 3rd party ads. With a stagnant world economy still in limbo, it's no wonder this new platform with its supposed ability for users to monetize thru shared revenue is being so heavily utilized by so many. Besides a world of internet users now taking notice, Tsu has apparently caught the attention of our staff in Strategic Social Networking as well, where they've identified it as being a potential multi-level-marketing pyramid scheme.
After carefully reviewing those findings, I wouldn't necessarily call it an all out MLM, but I can say we have taken the liberty of removing posts that promote its use by spamming the networks short codes in our communities; and in some cases banning the users in question at our moderators discretion.
While the idea of Tsu may be brilliant, the platform's FAQ's alone spell a lot of trouble in terms of its potential to be abused by spammers. In one statement, the network claims it keeps 10% of all revenue to support its platform, dividing up the other 90% to be split 50/50 between the user in question and those that follow them. New users signup by using a network members short code (users URL), and any revenue the new user earns will also earn the original member a cut of that revenue as well. If you bring new people to the network, you earn more money, and this is where things break down for Tsu, in which it's ultimately clear, it smells a lot like a spammers paradise!
Unlike the traditional social network, users on Tsu are forced to follow people to even join, and the incentive for quick cash alone also brings about the potential for heavy spam, not making this network a good potential resting place for reputable internet publishers. In the case of our social networking community Strategic Social Networking, we've been spammed repeatedly with posts that advertise Tsu, which gives a clear example of just how the incentive to cash in has caused internet users to spam communities on Google Plus on a large scale.
It's not just communities on Google Plus that are being affected, but I've also noticed people spamming their Tsu links across Twitter as well.
Tsu created the perfect storm! Being that users earn more by bringing in new members using their short codes, social users are now using them to spam social media with what is essentially affiliate links, often making posts with short, simple statements, that tell nothing about the network at all. They're effectively nothing more than pure spam! Being that social users, including Google Plus community moderators are now banning, reporting, and removing users who make posts with no intent other than to cash in on their short codes, we can only wonder what search engines like Google and Microsoft's Bing will think of a network who's users do nothing but spam the far reaches of the web.
One thing I noticed about the Tsu posts in our community was that they all contained those short codes, that when clicked lead users to a locked page, forcing them to sign up in order to actually view any content on the page. Again, users are forced to join, just a bad way to do business on the web.
While Tsu itself isn't technically doing anything wrong legally (hopefully), and they do appear to be narrowly keeping in line with federal spam laws, it's the conduct of its users that remain a point of concern, even more so than the network itself. While there's nothing wrong with getting paid to be social, (after all, this is what Youtube channels have been doing all along) how in the world does this new network expect to create a valuable social experience for internet users when spammers are having a field day with it?
Unlike the traditional Multi-Level-Marketing program where members are typically paid a commission for bringing in new members, Tsu doesn't pay its existing users for getting new members to join. That being said, it's definitely not an MLM, although many of its users are treating it as such, and this is likely one of the many challenges this new social network is likely to face moving forward. No matter how you try and argue it, Tsu is a social network where users get paid to spam!