We've said this before but Peanut Labs has an office in San Francisco and someone from Tapas should make an appointment with them.
Peanut Labs (PL) is probably the most popular bootstrap rewarded survey system available right now. There's several things about PL that makes it better than the rest. First off they offer more than just surveys, including free limited time offers and paid offers (cash back/new subscription offers) all in one encapsulated system. The free limited time offers include things like visiting a public health website page (diabetes awarness, smoking cessation, etc.) or watching a video ad. Also, because their video ads are supplied by a different vendor this would afford readers a second layer of ads to watch when they exhaust Tapas' direct ad inventory.
Secondly their system must be incredibly easy to set up and use minimal resources. We use an extremely niche website daily and they offer PL (and only PL) on their site as a way for users to earn site credits. The site has a tiny staff and only 200-400 active users, so PL had to be easy to install and immensely cost effective for them to consider implementing it.
That being said, we're not so sure how engaged Tapas users would be in answering surveys. There are already a ton of survey sites like eRewards, eMiles, and Swagbucks. If readers want to get their survey fix they can certainly do so already. Considering the time and resources involved in adding any new system at Tapas, the team should only pursue it if there is adequate demand. Right now it's really hard to tell if there is enough reader demand. After all, why tip something if it's already free?
It's good to see staff this week more engaged in trying to promote tipping. Part of the equation is reader education and awareness. A lot of users probably don't even know about the system. Furthermore the system is probably confusing to some. Staff should give some consideration to creating a staff comic series about tipping with step-by-step instructions for those who need the extra explanation.
A staff Google Doc survey would also probably go a long way in figuring out why tipping isn't wide spread. January was great in that some creators earned up to $1,500. Why can't that be every month and steadily growing? Is it reader education and awareness? Coin earning opportunity limitations? Readers not interested in participating?
One way to get readers to participate more is to make tipping a part of their daily Tapas routine. It's super easy to just forget to earn coins in general. One way to fix that would be to offer a Daily Goal system like what Swagbucks has. A Tapas Daily Goal system would be something like: 1) watch 3 video ads, 2) tip 50 coins or more, 3) tip a creator you haven't tipped before 25 coins or more, and 4) read the Daily Snack. At the end of doing all four tasks the reader would receive a bonus of 80+20 coins. The 80 coins would go immediately to that reader's account and the other 20 coins would go into a raffle pot. Once per quarter the raffle pot would be drawn to give one or a few lucky readers a towering pile of Tapas coins or a nice prize like a new laptop or an X Box One X. Big ticket drawings like that end to draw a lot more interest. GSN.com has pretty much cornered the market on that with their ChaChingo Bingo which is funded entirely by watching ads to get free entries (1 to 2 per person per hour) and then doing a drawing for a cash prize which varies between $2,000 and $18,000+ depending on the number of entries.
More large scale special opportunities would be great to see as well. So far only NC Comix (1,000 coins) and now Machine Zone (2,000 coins) have happened this year. It would be great to see Tapas try to hook up with Ibotta to get new users to use their free grocery rebate service. New referrals earn $10-20 per new user. New users get $10 after their first rebate ($.50 off a $1 pack of Tic Tacs). Cash out point is $20 for a new user and can be in Paypal or a number of gift cards like Amazon. Essentially this is $20-30 of free easy money and once that new Tapas user cashes out at $20, they can just quit the service. Getting to $20 is fairly easy given that Ibotta gives out $.25 for any receipt once per week on top of many other bonuses. This year we've surpassed $300 in earnings. Christmas is right around the corner and last year Ibotta gave away $20 for reaching 20 rebates in the month of December. The $20 was a bonus on top of the usual rebate. Consequently we were being paid to buy things like ketchup ($2 bottle, $1.50 rebate, $1 bonus = being paid $.50 to buy needed ketchup). It's a fairly sweet system if you stack your rebates and bonuses right.
It'd also be great to see Tapas get people into using Google Opinion Rewards. Again very easy to use. We've had a tablet sit at the same location for the last six months and bring in $5 just answering three step questions like, "Is this YouTube video" relevant to you. The video is simply a screen shot so you don't have to watch it and answering it gives around $.15. The money is Google Play Credits you can spend anywhere including Tapas.
Maybe Tapas could also work with Swagbucks on getting new sign ups. Swagbucks has some very nice survey opportunities from time to time. Our favorite this year was watching one hour of television and you got to pick the shows you wanted to watch (Family Feud and Big Bang Theory were our choices). Afterwards was a 5 minute survey about if we remembered the commericals and we got 1500 Swagbucks ($15.00). We've also done surveys like tasting physical cans of Cambell's Chicken Noodle soup marked #23 and #76 and then answering a survey afterwards for 1000 Swagbucks. Our favorite all time was a 45 minute phone interview about our feelings on the state of the publishing industry which paid 6000. Maybe Tapas could offer Tapas Coins on Swagbucks as a reward?
There definitely seems to be a lot of future opportunities out there to make tipping bigger and better for the benefit of all creators on Tapas. It's just a process of ingraining it into readers and making coins more easily accessible.