In the wake of it being announced that the Trump administration announced that it was going to ban TikTok within the U.S., and a number of other short-form video apps started to gain popularity because users shopped around about a possible TikTok departure. Of these was Byte the app created by Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann, which reached 1.3 million downloaded within the first week.
When President Trump’s ban against TikTok was unsuccessful, Byte sold to Clash, a rival to Clash -as a kind of admission that the momentum of TikTok couldn’t be beaten. Now, the new owner Clash will begin round two. Clash has relaunched its app with “best of Byte” under the hood and a collection of creator tools that can be used to make money from fans.
In this case, the emphasis isn’t on battling TikTok however, it’s about working in the same direction as it.
Clash is established by Brendon McNerney who was a former Vine celebrity who was able to grow his social following on the now-defunct app to more than 700,000 users. As someone who was directly in the realm of creators, McNerney believes he could provide a unique insight into creator monetization which is something that even the most popular apps struggle with in the present.
The new Clash’s idea is that it will assist creators in identifying, engaging, and profiting from their most powerful and most loyal followers.
To achieve this, Clash is introducing a collection of tools for creators as well as their fans which include the virtual tipping mechanism known as Drops (not to be confused with drops of products that are popular in the world of e-commerce) as well as a customized messaging system known as Fanmail to begin.
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It is believed that creators could increase their fan base through larger platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube which allow them to earn money through a variety of methods, including advertising revenue shares, brand sponsorships, and other methods that are more direct, in the event that they are available, such as subscriptions and tips. In addition, Clash could serve as an alternative channel for fans who are more committed to the creative process such as those who would like to contribute money to the work of a creator, similar to Patreon, or who would like to have a deeper connection with their favorite creators than they might be able to attain elsewhere.
McNerney warns that platforms with large audiences like TikTok will hinder creators’ ability to monetize.
“TikTok is a machine for virality. It is a creator-creator machine that generates new creators every single day. This is an issue due to the fact that there’s only a certain amount of ad dollars…there’s only a limited amount of money within the Creator Fund,” he states.
The founder was inspired by what was successful in other fields, like Twitch with live streaming, OnlyFans for adult content, and Patreon for projects that require more effort such as podcasts.
“The thing that stuck out was, in the year of 2019 I began seeing creators posting their Venmo hyperlinks in their bios. It was like an embarrassing moment,” McNerney says. He began to consider how these bio-linked technologies could be transformed into a more viable product. “And that’s why we started by asking an initial question…if Patreon was built now what would it be like? And how could accomplish what we know about — which are short-form videos?” he continues. “We really wanted to build a short-form video platform, where the video was just the medium, but the whole point of the platform was to support your favorite creators and connect with your fans.”
Clash’s first beta version Clash launched in the summer of last year in the App Store. In the course of time, the team realized users wanted to use the app as a more authentic platform to interact with their users outside of the bigger platforms. Creators sought to develop content created for the top 10 percent of their audience — those who were already helping their work in other ways, such as buying their products.
It led to the creation of Clash’s initial product, Fanmail, where fans could purchase the ability to send personal messages to creators of the highest caliber, who would acknowledge the messages and then respond immediately.
The app also launched Drops, a digital product that can be purchased through the App Store which users can redeem as an expression of gratitude or to be able to email Fanmail.
Creators are able to redeem Drops at 2500 (or 25 dollars), Clash says. This is lower than other creator platforms such as Twitch which requires you to have earned at least $100 in order to cash out. Clash promises to start its network by giving away thousands of Drops users who are new to the platform at no cost. In the meantime, for the moment, Clash will not take any cut from these sales. This means the creators get 100% of the money from the Drops they get. (The company hasn’t decided yet the percentage they’ll decide to take after the promotional period is over in the next year.)
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McNerney imagines the ways Clash could be utilized during the initial stages of planning and creation of content and planning, making Clash more compatible with other platforms like TikTok rather than being a direct competitor. For instance, one of Clash’s launch creators, Yasmine Sahid who produces comedic videos on TikTok uses Clash to finance her other passion, which is creating music. She’s currently working on her very first music videos using the help of the Clash’s fans Clash who have been funding it with their Drops. As the video is made they will be granted access to behind-the-scenes footage as well as sneak peeks.
In addition, he believes that the latest innovations in creator monetization could require taking place in the context of larger platforms.
“The major problem I see is that even though these large platforms] are testing their tools but they’re not dipping towards these tools. In the final analysis, their income is 98.9%, 91 percent of it from advertising,” he says. “The model they’re leaning towards is focused solely on keeping eyes glued to the display. However, they’re advancing their algorithms. They would like people to be watching and people to be engaged,” McNerney adds.
The app was launched in the beginning and has been redesigned to handle the future expansion of the app and support the monetization tools. Additionally, Clash is including what the team enjoyed about Byte and the way that Byte’s Camera functioned as well as the feed in-app and its Discovery page. There are some other similarities between the design of Byte and the app’s new design too.
Although Clash will be able to access Byte’s current users of 5 million when it relaunches Byte’s spot on the app stores, it will also plan to work with a wide range of creators, not just the younger Generation Z’ers that used to in vain to ” bully the millennials” from Byte’s original Byte app.
In the near future, Clash plans to add something called the “fan score” based on their involvement within the app, such as making comments on chats and videos. Clash plans to launch this feature shortly after the launch of the app to the public.
However, as a platform for most loyal users, Clash will have competitors from big and small tech companies alike. Twitter has developed Super Follow to cater to creators. Instagram has been seen developing its own fan subscription service in recent times.
Co-founded by P.J. Leimgruber who was the founder of the influencer agency NeoReach Clash is based in Los Angeles. Clash has grown to a staff comprising 17 full-time employees. Many of the first employees have a background in the world of creator and social media platforms, which include Facebook, TikTok, Vine, Snap, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, and Cameo. Vine’s/Twitter’s director for Creator Development, Karyn Spencer has also been Clash’s founder adviser. Byte and Vine co-founder Dom Hoffman is still an advisor.
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Prior to its relaunch, Clash has raised $9.1 million in investment over three rounds. The most recent round was the seed round that was led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s new fund Seven Seven Six. The other investors of Clash are M13 Ventures, Plug and Play, ACME Capital, and angel investors Jesse Leimgruber (NeoReach co-founder) and NBA Players, Austin Rivers and Seth Curry.
Clash is back this morning under Byte’s listings in the App Store. Soon, it will go live via Google Play.