User-generated content has inspired a new era of contests, with companies selling everything from ketchup to makeup offering up prizes in the hopes of scoring hype, cheap advertising, and massive customer engagement. And while we can’t begin to cover all the video purses we see flying by, when we moderated a panel on the topic at the Ypulse conference yesterday, we were amazed to hear how much participation companies like Brickfish, Aniboom and Nickelodeon have inspired.
The next generation of this phenomenon, as seems to be the natural course of the web, is for people to turn it into a platform. We’ve covered iBeatYou and Strutta — and now we have another entrant, London-based Amuso, which opened to the public last week.
Amuso describes itself as an effort to bring reality game shows to the web, but they’re essentially a contest platform. Users, sponsors and non-profits can set up new competitions. Then other users pay cash or credits to enter a photo or video, and whoever wants to can vote on the best entry. The winner takes home cash or prizes, with 15 percent going to the contest creator and 15 percent to Amuso.
Amuso has raised venture funding, according to co-founder and COO Barak Rabinowitz, but we couldn’t get him to divulge the details just yet. The company has 10 employees, with a development team in Barcelona. It has been active on the partnership front, bringing in contests hosted by a comedy site in Spain, a karaoke site in China, and mommy bloggers in the U.S. I also think it has pretty good contest ideas so far: impersonation videos, “smile for cancer prevention” pictures, and cover songs. Those seem to play out better through photos and video on the web than the “best Guitar Hero solo” Strutta pitched me and the “best eyes” competition with which iBeatYou launched.
However, as with those two sites, Amuso’s tech platform doesn’t seems that strong just yet. Its video player quality is really poor, and it doesn’t yet offer contest widgets so they can be spread around the web.
For more on Amuso, see a Guardian interview with Rabinowitz.