This year we launched two distinct versions (v4.0 and v5.0), with each version focusing on different aspects of functionality, simplicity and general usability. Below is a list of the most relevant new functionality added with each update.
a) Tribe Mastery lets everyone build up a presence within Snapzu's sub-communities we refer to as tribes. The more active you are, the higher your mastery becomes, allowing others to quickly know where your interests lie.
b) Everyone can now contribute to snaps by sharing Related Links that can turn any snap into a hub of additional information on a particular subject.
c) Snapzines allow anyone to create beautiful 'grid based' magazines with multiple custom created topics we call 'editions'. Each snapzine is unique and is a great way to share discoveries with friends. It's like curating your own magazine from the content you discover and love! You can also easily keep track of new activity within your pins by using our new “Pinned Feed” filter option within your feed page. You can check out our snapzine here.
d) Snapzu's bookmarklet lets our members quickly share content right from their browser's bookmarks bar without needing to be on Snapzu. Clicking the bookmarklet instantly parses the content being viewed and creates a snap on the spot.
e) Down Vote feedback lets everyone view why a snap has been down voted. With a list of reasons like “Blatant Spam”, “Self Promotion”, “Broken Link”, “Re-post”, “Paywall”, etc. down vote feedback makes it easier to quickly establish what the problem may be, and why a snap is not doing as well as it could.
f) An additional 14 dedicated Front Pages for categories like “Science & Space”, “Earth & Nature”, “Video”, "Pics", etc. make it easier for anyone to find more relevant content that better caters to them.
g) Private Messaging allows all members to privately communicate with one another as well as receive news and notifications directly from our team. With expanded preferences tied into user reputation and level, you can quickly establish who can and can't send you messages.
h) Text Posts allow everyone to start quick text based discussions into relevant tribes without the extra requirements that come with snaps.
i) A complete site redesign of all pages, as well as extended support for mobile platforms was launched in August. This was a considerable design update that took nearly 4 months to fully incorporate, bug test and launch! Over the past year our team tended to a multitude of bug reports, feedback and functionality requests as well as general usability improvements to de-clutter, simplify and make the service more responsive to everyones needs.
j) Simplification of the Snap Creation Engine turned a 2 step content sharing process into a quick and intuitive one step solution. Posting content has never been more enjoyable and frictionless as we work towards fully automated parsing of as much information as possible.
k) A new 'scroll up' popular tribes bar lists all popular communities available in one quick flick of the finger. This dynamic bar tracks our biggest communities giving you a plethora of popular topics making your favorite tribes even more accessible.
l) In what may seem like a cliched approach, we have re-enabled an invite only account registration process, which will ensure our community grows at the appropriate pace and with the right people. Every Snapzu member has plenty of invites to give away, and an email waiting list is also available for users that don't have access to an invite code. Since the update, we've already seen an improvement in the quality of content posted and a noticeable drop in spam.
m) We have and will continue to release in-depth documentation in regards to Snapzu and our vision. Our goal is to help everyone understand Snapzu's posting etiquette and rules on social interaction. We hope to guide everyone in how to best enjoy this community and the service that's built around it.
As we continue to fine-tune our existing functionality, our goal is to launch a number of exciting new features for the upcoming year. Here is a glimpse of what is yet to come:
Like with any bootstrapped company, a solid monetization strategy will play a key role in the continued growth and success of Snapzu. However, a traditional rev-share model that places advertisements and banners on user posted content is off the table, as it can jeopardize the platform by promoting low quality click-baity content and spam.
Introducing the “Power-Up” concept:
Power-ups will add unique perks to any member account for a duration of one month. There will be a variety of power-ups to choose from, and more than one can be active at the same time. All power-ups can be activated with one credit and credits can be acquired by a) reaching certain experience levels (being active), b) gifted by other members (being helpful), or c) purchased directly from Snapzu (helping out financially).
Having any one active power-up converts a profile to “premium membership” status, which comes with its own additional set of perks such as:
- 5% increase in XP generation.
- Emblem showing you're a premium member and have contributed to the community in one way or another.
- Exclusive Premium-only lounge tribe access.
- Additional convenience focused features like read/unread tracking, custom front page, expanded snap & comments analytics, etc.
These power-ups will work in a such a way to not compromise the integrity of the voting system and the fairness it plays in the community. Once a user reaches an experience level of 50, all power-ups and premium membership will be permanently activated for the life of the account.
Rev Share Opportunities:
The power-up concept also opens up certain money making opportunities. To increase the incentive to grow Snapzu's communities (otherwise known as tribes), all “tribe chiefs” will be able to refer new members through a unique ID link generated for each tribe chief, per tribe. In this case, it will act similarly to an invite, except only available to tribe chiefs that want to grow their tribe from outside sources such as forums, social networks and other places. If a referred member then purchases credits, the incoming funds will be shared 50/50 between Snapzu and the tribe chief. Earned credits would then be able to be spent, given away to other members, or even cashed out into monetary earnings at 50% of their value.
It is important to note that we are already registering invite referrals, and as we implement our monetization features, those of you who referred your friends beforehand will be ahead of the curve.
Hub concept expansion:
We will be expanding on the hub concept within snaps, so as they grow in popularity (with votes), additional features such as member added polls/lists, video and image embed support, custom snap backgrounds, preferred listing locations, and custom created modules will become available. We will continue developing and visually upgrading key areas of the most popular snaps with features that further encourage all sorts of unique and fun community interaction. All changes will be retrospective and older popular snaps will, of course, also benefit from the updated functionality.
Tribes will get more features as they grow and evolve into larger member managed communities. We will be drastically expanding functionality to allow for moderator management, additional tribe front-page options, better incentives/rewards, and more tribe levels that unlock new options and features. We have big plans for tribes in 2015 and will reveal additional upcoming changes as we move closer to the improved tribes' roll-out date.
API for mobile will allow developers to create mobile apps that can help members use Snapzu on mobile devices like cell phones and tablets. This is a work in progress and is expected sometime in 2015.
As 2014 draws to a close and we look back and examine our failures, accomplishments and aspirations – an important realization became ever so evident. It is you, the early-adopting and loyal first generation of Snapzites that make this place wonderful. You are the beating heart that fills this place with life, and for that we thank each and everyone of you for taking a chance on us. We wish you all a happy new year, and see you in 2015!
As we continue to expand Snapzu, we will post additional guides and documentation in our blog, so be sure to check back once in a while for new material.