When Pheed first appeared on the social startup scene this fall, many were quick to coin it as one of the many paid Twitter-type services that collect membership fees to provide better Web content. Media also jumped on the fact that Pheed had an impressive celebrity user base at launch, with Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus, and Pharrell among its star-studded members list. Still, “Pheed is for everyone,” the site insists, bunking down the consensus that Pheed is an exclusive service celebs pay to promote their content. So what exactly is it? We chatted with Pheed CEO O.D. Kobo to clear up some misconceptions and let the service start its introduction fresh.
From what we’ve learned, Pheed is a free social network much like Twitter that allows users to post links, videos, thoughts or statuses as often as they’d like. In addition to common media files, Kobo thought most social networks were lacking the ability to share sound files, and hopped on the opportunity to be one of the first to allow unlimited audio streaming regardless of file type. Like most social platforms, Pheed does have copyright filters in place to track uploads that violate legal regulations.
With the ability to share multimedia content in real-time, Kobo said Pheed is a way to socialize with any media file in a non-restrictive, unlimited space. This is the direct opposite approach from Tumblr, which caps audio files uploads at 10MB mp3 files, and limits your audio upload to once a day. Pheed also launched its mobile app last week on iOS, with an Android version slated for early 2013. This means unlimited file uploads from your phone or the Web, giving users the flexibility to record and share on-to-go.
Another differentiating factor is Pheed’s option to allow users to monetize off their posts, if they are so inclined. The optional function allows you as an artist, local celebrity, or member of an organization to charge fees to stream certain content, such as a musician might stream their live shows or Red Bull to charge for its Stratos jump broadcast. “It’s simply a feature that users should be entitled to,” Kobo tells us. “I created the monetization because people, as content creators, have not been incentivized by the Internet to create content for it.” With the pay-per-view model, he feels users can provide greater, higher quality feeds (or “pheeds,” as the company would say).
A quick look at Pheed and you’ll see that it’s pretty much the love child of Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube; The photos are much larger, like Tumblr would boast, posts are succinctly fed like Twitter, and commenters can like or favorite a media post like they do on YouTube. People can comment directly under each post, search by hashtags, and customize their Pheed profiles with personal taglines and top photos. Pheed does not make money off getting people to monetize their posts. Rather, it makes a percentage off the transactions made between the content creator, consumer, and bank handling the payment.
So how has Pheed done with just one month on the Web? “We’re doing pretty well, we’re definitely hard at work and we’re still a small startup,” Kobo says. “We’re pretty blown away by the reception it’s received around the world and we didn’t think we’d get to this size around a month. It’s humbling.”
While the content on Pheed isn’t quite at the level of Twitter celebrities or famous Tumblr blogs just yet, the network hopes its unlimited, multimedia sharing platform will draw users into its highly versatile world.
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