I want to be excited, I really do.

But the Terms of Use before accessing Chaucer were a bucket of cold water.

20% niche renewal fee

That means if your niche makes more than 375 USD in the year, your fee will become 20% of your yearly income for the niche.

Lets call this something more descriptive than a "renewal fee".  It is a tax, and a very significant one at that.  Remember we'll have to pay taxes to our governments on our income for our niches too, AFTER the Narrative has taxed us 20%.  Some folks are in countries with tax brackets that go above 50%!   Those folks would be left with a third of their niche income after both the government tax man, and the network have plundered them.  Even if you're in a more reasonable 30% tax bracket, you'll still be losing very nearly half your revenue.

This seems truly excessive...  If it has always been in the white paper, then my bad for missing it, but it does not change the excessive nature of it.

 

I know of no business in which you're told you own something, but the same person telling you you own it takes 20% of your income issuing from that possession every year, AND forbids you to sell what you 'own'.  If you owe a debt to the mob, perhaps you'd feel in a similar position.  You'd be an owner on paper, but you'd have to pay periodically when the enforcer comes by, or else lose it all...  I don't like making this comparison.

A niche bringing in 20,000 USD per year would have a whopping 4000 USD renewal fee.  Refuse to pay?  You lose your niche.  Can't pay because you've had a momentary reversal of fortunes?  You lose your niche.  The one you 'bought' at auction.

Can we open some dialogue about this?  

Words matter.  We should stop calling "niche ownership" this way, and start calling it "niche leasing".  We should stop calling "$75 minimum niche renewal fees" this way, and start calling it a 20% network tax with a $75 minimum.  To do otherwise is deceptive.  I see no upside to calling important aspects of this venture names that misrepresent what they actually are.  The only thing it can achieve is to deceive, and I'm starting to want to be given some demonstration that deception is not the intention.  If it isn't, lets call things by their name.

Once we're willing to talk more plainly, then perhaps we can deal now, well before general launch, with the real nature of what is being proposed for the Content Economy.  I intend to put a lot of effort into my niches, if I lease any, but an economy in which an "owner" cannot sell their "possession", and pays cumulative network taxes and government income taxes of up to more than 65
%, is not a great target.  We need to be real about this now while things are still relatively conceptual.

Niche deactivation via nebulous appeals process

"While niches are subject to Community approval prior to the start of the auction process for a new niche, approved niches may also be revoked at any time via the appeal process in Narrative. Community members may appeal to the Tribunal (the governing body of the Narrative Network) to deactivate an existing niche. Such reason may include duplication (a similar niche exists), violation of the AUP, or any other reason. The Tribunal will consider all such appeals and may take action that leads to either another Community review or unilateral action to deactivate the niche. "

The appeals process is not described anywhere.  People looking for reassurance that their (potentially very expensive niche) won't get deactivated unfairly, have nowhere to find such reassurance.  Should we fear deactivation because of something someone posts to the niche violates a third party's copyright, for instance?  When approving content, are niche owners going to be responsible for insuring against copyright infringement?  

Seriously, we need some clarity here.  You want folks to bid against each other to buy a space on an as-of-yet non-existent platform, and you don't think it necessary to determine the circumstances under which said niche could be unilaterally taken offline?  Really?  

Would anyone lease a car for thousands of dollars up front, if the contract says the leasing company can ground the car unilaterally for any reason?

It is good to believe in the goodness of people, but people are also capable of corruption, and giving a Tribunal made up of human beings unilateral power, without explicit safeguards, will backfire.

 

Liability limited to 1 month

"COMPANY’S LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ANY CAUSE WHATSOEVER, AND REGARDLESS OF THE FORM OF THE ACTION, WILL AT ALL TIMES BE LIMITED TO THE AMOUNT PAID, IF ANY, BY USER TO COMPANY UNDER THIS AGREEMENT DURING THE ONE (1) MONTH IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE DATE ON WHICH SUCH CLAIM AROSE."

I've never seen anyone attempt to impose a one month statute of limitations on a significant capital expense claim.  It probably isn't legal in some countries, to do so.

So imagine you pay $20,000 USD in NRVE for a shiny niche.  By the time the platform launches 6 months from now, if the company destroys your ability to earn from that niche, there will be no legal recourse, because your 1 month will have expired long ago.

Imagine the platform grows in popularity, and 5 years from now, you buy a niche for 100,000 USD.  Same deal - no liability after the first month of owning the niche?  The company decides to shut down the service arbitrarily, or commits gross negligence in its operation, resulting in its demise and you're left holding the bag?  This appears abusive to me and further cements that niche ownership is anything but.  The fact is, what we pay for a niche cannot be refunded under any realistic scenario, no matter who slips up nor how badly, and it only rents the niche for a year, and can be subject to deactivation for any reason.  Help? 

++++++++++++++++++

I am still holding out the hope that the Team's intentions are honest, but that still leaves the huge concern about what I'm seeing here?

Please Narrative, or other members - can you elucidate some of the thinking behind this?  

Its a long road to release.  Lets use it to take a hard look at what is shaping up, if we want it to shape up better than what is already out there.

If I have misread things, or if some sort of genuine explanation is given that rectifies the trend I'm seeing, I would invite the team to subsequently remove this thread.  We're still in an intimate setting here, and if there is a Narrative worth participating in, I don't want it to be hurt by an early instance of miscommunication.

Regretfully, and looking forward to happier Narrative days,

Malcolm

 

 

Original Post

For comparison of the 20% niche network tax -  consider Uber.

Uber also charged 20% (I believe it might now be 25%).

But Uber drivers don't have to bid against each other to lease a license to drive for Uber.  And that tax/fee is substracted from each fare, so the driver will never reach the end of the year facing a big bill to the company that could end his activity if he comes up short.

I think a good test of fairness here is for someone, anyone, whether team member or Founder or general member, to come up with a business model like the one being proposed and describe it here.

Bryan offered the example of NY hot dog stands, which are leased every year - and this comparison could seem appropriate on the surface.  But the guy who leases a stand doesn't have to build a clientele.  Foot traffic in NYC guarantees hordes of people will buy his hot dogs.  Narrative literally needs to be built from the ground up, before foot traffic remotely comparable will float the boats of niches.  Not to mention that, though it is perfectly honourable as a profession, I doubt people who invested as Founders in Narrative pictured their involvement as comparable to operating a hot dog stand.  We're building a new social networking platform and The Content Economy, right?  Not leasing street corners to sell hot dogs.

I propose that those who participated in the token sale be exempt of the 20% renewal fee, because these are literally the people who have funded this venture, and who will be working hard to make it profitable alongside the team.  The renewal fee for them could be instead a sliding scale with a minimum, and a reasonable maximum.  And failure to pay should not automatically result in losing the niche.  The fee should come out of future revenue if necessary, in the case where the niche leasee wishes to keep the lease but has a temporary cash flow issue.  

I think the 20% fee is excessive even for subsequent niche holders, but it is even more so for us investors in the platform who have to bid to pay 'market price' for niches we are told we will be 'owners' of.

This consideration would not address the remaining issue of leasing, vs true ownership, but it would be a beginning.  

Harj posted:

Malka you must take this all into consideration when you bid on a niche dont pay more than you can potentialy make bro :I

Its for more complex than that Harj!

Nobody knows what can potentially be made.  Nobody.

There are several interconnected problems here, and your comment only addresses the shot in the dark that is the initial punt, by urging conservatism.  

What about niche leasees who rock their niches, but one year come up against financial hardship, and can't pay the fee in time to keep the niche?

 

Hey @Malkazoid I appreciate your thinking on this. It definitely feels a little cart-before-the-horse to be discussing Niche management/ownership with no place (yet) to manage it.

It's also a little eerie to be getting glimpses of a project at such an early, might we say pre-natal, stage. There's still a lot of formation that still needs to happen. And, this thing will evolve over time.

Regarding the 20% fees, I look at that as the cost of doing business. If you make $1000, you pay $200 for the privilege and collect $800. This seems as reasonable as leasing office space, buying computer equipment, etc.

The tax burden is a real thing, though... and for that, I'd suggest (if someone plans to make a living off their Niches) to incorporate under a business license and mitigate that 20% as a business expense, and not get taxed on it. 

Disclaimer: I am NOT an accountant or even particularly good at Maths. 

Bryan posted:

Hey @Malkazoid I appreciate your thinking on this. It definitely feels a little cart-before-the-horse to be discussing Niche management/ownership with no place (yet) to manage it.

It's also a little eerie to be getting glimpses of a project at such an early, might we say pre-natal, stage. There's still a lot of formation that still needs to happen. And, this thing will evolve over time.

Regarding the 20% fees, I look at that as the cost of doing business. If you make $1000, you pay $200 for the privilege and collect $800. This seems as reasonable as leasing office space, buying computer equipment, etc.

The tax burden is a real thing, though... and for that, I'd suggest (if someone plans to make a living off their Niches) to incorporate under a business license and mitigate that 20% as a business expense, and not get taxed on it. 

Disclaimer: I am NOT an accountant or even particularly good at Maths. 

You are right - it IS the cost of doing business.  But that can be said of legitimate costs, and excessive costs, and of good business propositions, and very bad ones.

The hot dog stands give you a ready made clientele.  Uber gives you a ready made clientele.  Narrative, for us pioneers, does not.  We're supposed to go out and build our clientele ourselves, and Narrative will benefit from it.  I think the least we can ask in return is more reasonable renewal fees than a full 20% of earnings.  

Like I said - find me any business model out there that matches the proposed model for niches, and calls it ownership, and if that model is considered fair and is well accepted, I'll concede.

Imagine New York city is mostly muddy riverbanks and forests, with some early constructions sites, and someone tries to orchestrate an auction of hot dog stands site LEASES on streets that don't exist yet.  Sound a bit like trying to sell someone a bridge?  Well, that's because we're walking a fine line here, and bridge-selling is clearly in view, to one side of it.

It doesn't work that way.  At a stage where the entire business model of a niche, or any other enterprise, has to be built from the ground up, you get to own, and can sell it later.  Any local taxes are minimal, any unpaid taxes only result in the loss of the land if the failure to pay is recurring and unrepentant.  Income will be docked before confiscation occurs.

Lets not call it ownership if it isn't ownership.  That much, everyone should be able to agree on.  A lot of the jargon of this venture is predicated on half truths at best.  Founders are supposed to be owners at the outset of a venture.  But not here. 

Whoever set out to build a business from the ground up, knowing he's only leasing that business?  The only comparable thing I can think of is a franchise, but a franchise gives you so much from the outset: the only way they are able to sell frachises is because they have built a remarkably successful business ALREADY, so the person buying into the franchise is in fact just operating an existing, proven business.  The differences are fundamental, and stark.

 

I hear you. Business expenses aren't all rosey-cheeked. I think one difference re: the Muddy-River-Bank-Hot-Dog-Stand-For-Streets-Yet-To-Exist-Proposition (and henceforth let it be known by no other name!) still works if one doesn't have to pay a fee if they don't make any money. 20% of nothing is still nothing. 

If one is paying $20,000 USD in NRVE for their Niche, that means they made $100,000. So, they keep $80,000. My efforts will be to minimize how much of that goes to taxes. 

I don't think there is an intention to deceive. Plus, 85% of the collected Niche fees goes back in to the community... so that will help pay content creators, etc...

I am glad you're here, asking these questions. I believe it will help the Narrative team (and community) externalize some of their own thinking and/or assumptions on how things might work on paper vs. what happens in reality. Sometimes they'll go smoothly, and sometimes they might need some adjustments. 

Malkazoid posted:

Lets not call it ownership if it isn't ownership.  That much, everyone should be able to agree on.  A lot of the jargon of this venture is predicated on half truths at best.  Founders are supposed to be owners at the outset of a venture.  But not here. 

Whoever set out to build a business from the ground up, knowing he's only leasing that business?  The only comparable thing I can think of is a franchise, but a franchise gives you so much from the outset: the only way they are able to sell frachises is because they have built a remarkably successful business ALREADY, so the person buying into the franchise is in fact just operating an existing, proven business.  The differences are fundamental, and stark.

 

One more thought: I agree on the nomenclature. "Ownership" is a tough pill to swallow if it has no properties/entitlements of ownership. I've always suggested "Manager". 

Also, we hire rain-makers on commission. They go out in the world, their own wits as their only resource. Everything is percentage-based. They make a sale, they get paid. Only, usually the values are reversed. We take 80% and they keep 20%, with bonuses for incentives, etc. 

The rain-makers don't go out under the guise that they are building up their own business, however. They are working for us. It's the sales game. If they land a huge client, that brings in tons of cash, they get compensated. But, if they leave, and go somewhere else... well, they have to start over. (Contractually there are time limits and all that, non-competes, and the like.) But, they are under no illusion that they are an "owner" of that book of business simply because of their efforts.

I don't know that I'm agreeing, or disagreeing with you. I think maybe I just don't have the hangup on the distribution stuff. Maybe because I (at least for now) don't see how to make Niche ownership a full-time job. I mean... who, besides @David Dreezer is going to read my twice-daily articles on clams?

Bryan posted:

I hear you. Business expenses aren't all rosey-cheeked. I think one difference re: the Muddy-River-Bank-Hot-Dog-Stand-For-Streets-Yet-To-Exist-Proposition (and henceforth let it be known by no other name!) still works if one doesn't have to pay a fee if they don't make any money. 20% of nothing is still nothing. 

If one is paying $20,000 USD in NRVE for their Niche, that means they made $100,000. So, they keep $80,000. My efforts will be to minimize how much of that goes to taxes. 

I don't think there is an intention to deceive. Plus, 85% of the collected Niche fees goes back in to the community... so that will help pay content creators, etc...

I am glad you're here, asking these questions. I believe it will help the Narrative team (and community) externalize some of their own thinking and/or assumptions on how things might work on paper vs. what happens in reality. Sometimes they'll go smoothly, and sometimes they might need some adjustments. 

I'm glad you're here too Bryan.

There are levels of deception - not everything is an outright lie - right?
The term 'niche owner' has continuously sent the wrong signals to my brain, and I think it has fuelled what is probably a deluded sense in me that at some point, the project would align with the words it chose.

I think the level of comfort others might have with this comes from a sad acceptance that real ownership is perhaps becoming a privilege of a shrinking class of people in our day and age, and many console themselves with believing the term even when it is misapplied, in an attempt to romance something that is simply not ownership.   

I dislike it because it is so easy to do things differently.  It is a choice.  We could choose to make those who 'buy' niches at auction actual 'owners'.  Or we could choose to call them what they are: lessees.  Instead, the choice has been made, deliberately, to make them lessees, but call them owners because it sounds better.  Its the kind of marketing many of us frown at several times a day.  We endure it.  But it is a downer to realise it has to be endured in a venture one is funding oneself, and proposing to be an active community member of.  

At the dawn of a new world like Narrative, it is hard not to want to aspire to something better.  

And then there are the economical ramifications of leasing vs ownership.  They carry real consequences for the Content Economy Narrative aims to become.  We've been around this block together.  Owners tend to be better care-takers.  Outside the digital world of Narrative, most of us live in capitalist societies where real ownership and capital gains are not only possible: they are (still) the norm.  Narrative's proposal, when the dust settles, may not be able to compete with other models out there in the real world.  Other options for people to invest their energies.  And indeed, other digital content economies who may choose to heed these facts, and propose real ownership and capital gains in their ecosystem.

Do you have children?  If you build a brilliant niche on Narrative, you will not be able to pass it on to your children.

All of us should be concerned about these things.  Not just the members, but the Team first and foremost.  If we're setting out to build an attractive economy, we should be thinking like economists?

Anyway - Narrative is what it is.  I'd be a fool to try too hard to make it into something it isn't...

Bryan posted:
Malkazoid posted:

Lets not call it ownership if it isn't ownership.  That much, everyone should be able to agree on.  A lot of the jargon of this venture is predicated on half truths at best.  Founders are supposed to be owners at the outset of a venture.  But not here. 

Whoever set out to build a business from the ground up, knowing he's only leasing that business?  The only comparable thing I can think of is a franchise, but a franchise gives you so much from the outset: the only way they are able to sell frachises is because they have built a remarkably successful business ALREADY, so the person buying into the franchise is in fact just operating an existing, proven business.  The differences are fundamental, and stark.

 

One more thought: I agree on the nomenclature. "Ownership" is a tough pill to swallow if it has no properties/entitlements of ownership. I've always suggested "Manager". 

Also, we hire rain-makers on commission. They go out in the world, their own wits as their only resource. Everything is percentage-based. They make a sale, they get paid. Only, usually the values are reversed. We take 80% and they keep 20%, with bonuses for incentives, etc. 

The rain-makers don't go out under the guise that they are building up their own business, however. They are working for us. It's the sales game. If they land a huge client, that brings in tons of cash, they get compensated. But, if they leave, and go somewhere else... well, they have to start over. (Contractually there are time limits and all that, non-competes, and the like.) But, they are under no illusion that they are an "owner" of that book of business simply because of their efforts.

I don't know that I'm agreeing, or disagreeing with you. I think maybe I just don't have the hangup on the distribution stuff. Maybe because I (at least for now) don't see how to make Niche ownership a full-time job. I mean... who, besides @David Dreezer is going to read my twice-daily articles on clams?

I will read your clam articles, but I agree that won't pay your bills...

Rainmaker, or manager would be perfect.

Look, I don't necessarily want to rob folks of their rose-colored glasses.  I guess I'm just expressing my lack of them.  In any other circumstance, if someone offered me this sort of paradigm and tried to tell me it is ownership, I'd consider them a scam artist.  But here, because of the romance of a new world that we can 'found' together, and because of the charming 'mom and pop' feel from the Team, even I am confused by the conflicting directions I feel pulled in.  It makes me want to implore them to act like the benevolent figures they seem to be, and ignore the fact that we're replicating so many avoidable flaws already (and we've barely gotten underway).

 

Yeah, there is still room for improvement! And, I've always opposed the term "owner". But, because I haven't ever thought of it as "ownership", I've never thought of selling it, or passing it on to my kids. Which I do have... (ungrateful little— )

Where was I? Oh yes, clams. No, Niches! So, the only thing that troubles me (if I think about it a certain way) is this: 

If I cultivate/manage a Niche into prosperity, I can acclimatize to the Niche fee that I'll have to pay every year. As the Niche grows, so does the fee, so do my earnings, so does my ability to pay the fee. However, when I'm done with it, I elect NOT to renew my fee (thus improving my final year of earnings by 20%) and let it diminish and sail off to the West*.

But now what? A new person, probably/hopefully from within that Niche community, steps up to manage the plate. He/she is starting from zero revenue momentum and has to pay a 20% fee on a Niche that has matured. (Here's where I think my hot dog cart analogy becomes more relevant.) They will have to pony up the NRVE to become the new Niche manager. That's a steep price to pay, which may exclude the minnows. But, with the potential of a 5x return the following year... it might just be worth the investment. It's no longer a muddy river bank. It has streets and foot traffic. It becomes an annual investment.  

Or, before I go, I want to pass it on to one of my kids... there's no reason I couldn't "gift" them the NRVE required to meet the Niche fee... that would put them in a better position to bid on it... maybe the Niche owner gets to assign the right-of-first-refusal to the next in line. The king is dead, long live the king. There are kinks, but they aren't insurmountable. 

*depressing Tolkien elf reference

Wow, very heated and passionate discussion, and I agree: the business model is not good. All these disclaimers and hidden rules, plus the ridiculous fees that one has to pay... I am quite disappointed of the project so far, and everything I read make me feel worse about investing so much in it.

One is already forced to bid for one's own Niche ideas, which is unfair (and could end up being super expensive, IF you get the Niche.) Then you have to build it from the ground up, gain traction, visits, authors, etc. And when you are finally done, you risk to either losing it for lack of money or because somebody on Narrative decided to, for whatever reason, pull the plug?

I think I want my NEO back.

Kyle Kidd posted:

Maybe it would better to charge the fee on a monthly or even daily basis.  That would lessen the risk of losing a niche at the end of the year due to a lump sum payment.  I personally see it as more of an operational/support fee than a tax.

Or maybe we should get 8-9% return on our Niches instead of 10%, and not pay any fee/tax at all.

Who is the 20% fee going to? Is it going to fund the running cost of the network or is it going the team behind Narrative?

From what I understand, both.  It is part of the revenue of the site, so gets split up between the team and the network rewards fund.

Consider the following claim of Narrative:

Midleman

That rings true at first when you initially hear 85% of revenue goes back to users.

It does not ring so true when you realise you don't own the niches you 'buy', rather you lease them.  You have to pay the 20% of niche revenue back to the network every year.  That definitely makes the network a middleman, and it changes the revenue claim too.

It is a form of double taxation: the Narrative company takes 15% off the top of all revenue, and pays 10% of all revenue to niche owners, but then taxes 20% of that 10% for niche owners, and helps itself to 15% of that 10%.

The Narrative company is a middleman, and it is practicing a form of double taxation. 

 

Eduardo Hernández posted:
Kyle Kidd posted:

Maybe it would better to charge the fee on a monthly or even daily basis.  That would lessen the risk of losing a niche at the end of the year due to a lump sum payment.  I personally see it as more of an operational/support fee than a tax.

Or maybe we should get 8-9% return on our Niches instead of 10%, and not pay any fee/tax at all.

Exactly.  Like Uber.  So there is never the jeopardy of not being able to afford the renewal during a difficult financial year.  Otherwise every year we'll lose good niche managers (I refuse to call them owners anymore, it is doing my head in), simply because they hit a rough patch.  Owners that will feel ripped off because they potentially paid, at auction, multiples of the one year revenue in order to take up the lease.

Imagine it is year 5 and the network is well atteneded.  Imagine you bid for the Politics niche, and pay $100,000 to take up its lease.  Imagine the yearly revenue hovers around $20,000.  At the end of year one, you'll be asked for $4000 dollars to renew your lease.  Lets say your brother has had cancer and you've had to remortgage your house to help cover his medical bills.  You can't afford the lease renewal fee that very first year after leasing the niche.

RESULT: you've spent $100,000, earned back $20,000, and lost the niche because of a short sighted policy of the network.

Malkazoid posted:

Who is the 20% fee going to? Is it going to fund the running cost of the network or is it going the team behind Narrative?

From what I understand, both.  It is part of the revenue of the site, so gets split up between the team and the network rewards fund.

Consider the following claim of Narrative:

Midleman

That rings true at first when you initially hear 85% of revenue goes back to users.

It does not ring so true when you realise you don't own the niches you 'buy', rather you lease them.  You have to pay the 20% of niche revenue back to the network every year.  That definitely makes the network a middleman, and it changes the revenue claim too.

It is a form of double taxation: the Narrative company takes 15% off the top of all revenue, and pays 10% of all revenue to niche owners, but then taxes 20% of that 10% for niche owners, and helps itself to 15% of that 10%.

The Narrative company is a middleman, and it is practicing a form of double taxation. 

 

@Malkazoid First off I have always appreciated your well thought out and articulated posts  and I hope they will continue! 

I am still processing a lot of what you have said but I did want to try and get some clarity on the claim of double taxation.  My understanding is as follows:

I'm a spreadsheet guy

I don't see an issue with niche owners retaining 80% of the rewards generated by their niche. Niche owners get paid based on the popularity of their niche hence why it is a rewards system. Additionally, niche owners will only be taxed by the government on the 80%.

I see your point on the term Owner though as the 20% is basically rent so you don't actually own the land your niche sits on, just the content. 

Also, with it being a community powered by the people and a voting system, even if the tribunal starts abusing their power, the community can replace them, but seeing how it is the community who originally voted them in, I would like to think the community at large will elect those that are worthy.

Again, I always appreciate your thoughts as it forces me to think more deeply.

 

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I'm actually not all that sarcastic by nature.  It is the flaw of niches not being owned by their 'buyers' that is bringing this out in me.  It is a flaw at the centre of this great journey, and I believe it could be a fatal one.  Another network won't make the same mistake, and people will flock to it instead of Narrative.  I know I will.  

Projects get leap-frogged all the time in this mushrooming digital era of tech startups.  To stand a fighting chance of growing into the sunlight of this jungle, you have to at least not have glaring, evident flaws at launch.  By the time your good, solid start starts to reveal short-comings that can be improved upon, you're up there with a good head start.

Narrative pitches a 'niche ownership' to users which involves 'buying' at 'market price' through auction, but is in fact a lease, holds no accrual of capital gains, cannot be sold by the so-called owner, gets taxed at 20% by the network, then taxed again by the government... and can be de-activated for any reason.

True ownership is far more appealing, and very easy for a rival, upcoming network to implement.  Like today.  It is simply a choice.  People will flock to that, and the quality of the rival network will stand to be better because of the greater care owners take of their property, compared to people on a lease.

This is a flaw right at the heart of our beloved Narrative.  And it ripples outward with disadvantages.  These off-putting renewal fees exists ostensibly because Narrative company wants to make sure people have 'skin in the game' year in, year out.  But true ownership is the ultimate skin in the game!  It is so obvious.  Opt for true ownership, and you gain positive appeal AND bypass needing the kind of leash represented by leasing fees that will piss people off, disrupt the niches when people can't pay, etc...  This flaw cascades, and it is early days - we'll probably discover further ramifications from it that undermine our prospects in other ways.

 

 

 

I'll add my two cents on this...

The "Owner" Term

We can debate whether niche owners should be called "owners" or not and we certainly have no problem considering other terms if everyone thinks it is not accurate enough. 

The reason we chose "owner" is that the owners are receiving revenue from their association/role with the niche. 

I think Bryan suggested using "manager" instead, but that is also a bit problematic because that might imply that they manage the actions/content in the niche, when they do not.  In fact, the system is designed to have a clear separate of powers.  Owners must nominate separate moderators to do the actual management of the niche.  They cannot manage the content themselves. So, IMO calling them managers is problematic.

Ultimately, it's just a term.. and one designed to show that the person materially benefits by taking a stake in the niche.  If there is a better term than "owner" that does not confuse things in other ways, let's consider it... and we have plenty of time to make such terminology changes. I'd probably suggest a dedicated topic on that, though, because this is currently lumped in with a TOS discussion.

Niche Renewal Fees

The renewal fee is the greater of $75 USD (in NRVE at the going market rate) or 20% of the previous year's ownership revenue for that niche.  IMO that is the fairest possible system for the community. After all, if a niche becomes a multi-million dollar earner, the value of that niche should be reflected in the annual fee that niche owner pays compared to someone with a very small niche. (And remember that niche ownership fees are a big part of the Network Rewards revenue base that everyone in the network participates in).

Of course, there is no requirement to renew a niche either, so it does not become an obligation of the existing niche owner to renew or pay.  I don't see it as a tax at all, since there is no obligation. It is merely a way to set fair market value for each new at each point of renewal.  Certainly if that niche simply went back on the market (at auction), it would no doubt bring in a much higher fee. 

This does not make the Narrative organization a middleman, either. These revenues  go into Network Rewards, to be disbursed to everyone. The one thing that should be perfectly clear in the entire model is that there is no middle man... the company always earns a flat percentage of Network Rewards (just like content creators, niche moderators, and EVERYONE else) for the services it provides.

I would argue to have a flat renewal fee would be the most unfair thing to do for everyone.  No one knows how valuable any one niche is going to be.. and certainly no one knows that when the niche is first created.  This system is fair for everyone and always reflects market value.  It's also not onerous on the owners either.  It's only 20% of the previous year's revenue. 

Now, having said that, perhaps we should consider a way for renewing owners to pay renewal fees in installments (optionally) to lessen the burden.   For instance, maybe I do not have enough NRVE to pay my renewal fee, but I want to maintain it. Maybe instead of paying one lump sum I can agree to simply deduct 20% from my earned niche revenue for the upcoming year to pay the fees (until it is fully paid).  That seems fair... and that is the kind of thing we can easily support if the community thinks it makes sense.  

Hope this helps!

I second @Malkazoid with everything he says, specially this: "Narrative pitches a 'niche ownership' to users which involves 'buying' at 'market price' through auction, but is in fact a lease, holds no accrual of capital gains, cannot be sold by the so-called owner, gets taxed at 20% by the network, then taxed again by the government... and can be de-activated for any reason."

I have expressed already my concerns and, later on, disappointment of how this, once great idea, is becoming a project full of shot-comings and competitive disadvantages in comparison to their competitors (which there are plenty of with already functioning platforms; I'm unofficially advising one at the moment.)

That being said, I believe that the time to make decisions have come, both for investors and the platform real owners (the Team.) Either Narrative becomes a textbook example of everything that a "content economy" startup should not do, of it stirs the ship 180 degrees and becomes the story of a nice comeback that, ultimately, saved the day.

Good luck to everyone.

I'd like to encourage (and at this point, I think we're all still in this together) that what's happening here is iron sharpening iron. I think it's important for @Malkazoid and @Eduardo Hernández to continue to share what they see as barriers to Narrative. It, I hope, helps clarify thinking. 

For example, "owners" is problematic for reasons stated above. I have often suggested "managers" but @Ted clarified that it will actually be the moderators who do the managing. So, what's the Niche-Bid-Winner's role? Is it recruiting content? Maybe they are Niche Recruiters. The "finders fee" is 80% of revenue. 

When we're talking about Niches that are near and dear to our hearts, and are specific to some subjective aspect of the world in which we are thoroughly entwined, ownership makes sense. 

But, taking a 30,000 foot view of the idea of "ownership"... and a Niche called "NY Giants"... can you really "own" that? Can Tom McGillicutti of Poughkeepsie, NY really "own" that?

I could see Narrative getting in to some really scrappy legal battles if the granted "ownership" over trademarked, copyrighted, all rights reserved brands and organizations. Now, if it's a Niche like Malkazoid In The Middle or Eduardo's Warm Embrace... those seem much more "ownable". 

So, maybe there is room for both "owning" and "renting" Niches?

Excuse me, @BryanEduardo's Warm Embrace™, please.

But, jokes aside, I think you made a breakthrough that definitely should be considered by the Team. There should be a feature that allows us to buy a Niche OTC (over the counter) at a predefined price (say 1,000 NRVE). The only requisite being that it's unique, non-generic (ex. Cryptocurrencies) and comply with the rules of the platform. Bang! Everyone is happy now.

I say this because I wanna publish my book in episodes in the platform, but my books title is unique and by putting it to bid, they would probably snatch it from me, or bid it so high that to get it, I must throw away all my NRVE.

Comments @Ted@Rosemary?

PS: to make fair, and even profitable for all parties involved, maybe this type of Niche is tagged/flagged as "Sponsored" and gains 5% profit instead of 10% or something. Or maybe it's not even called a Niche, at all, but instead it's a Publication. Then you could have, technically, books (if it's a single author) and magazines (for multiple authors) in the platform as well.

Eduardo Hernández posted:

Excuse me, @BryanEduardo's Warm Embrace™, please.

But, jokes aside, I think you made a breakthrough that definitely should be considered by the Team. There should be a feature that allows us to buy a Niche OTC (over the counter) at a predefined price (say 1,000 NRVE). The only requisite being that it's unique, non-generic (ex. Cryptocurrencies) and comply with the rules of the platform. Bang! Everyone is happy now.

I say this because I wanna publish my book in episodes in the platform, but my books title is unique and by putting it to bid, they would probably snatch it from me, or bid it so high that to get it, I must throw away all my NRVE.

Comments @Ted@Rosemary?

PS: to make fair, and even profitable for all parties involved, maybe this type of Niche is tagged/flagged as "Sponsored" and gains 5% profit instead of 10% or something. Or maybe it's not even called a Niche, at all, but instead it's a Publication. Then you could have, technically, books (if it's a single author) and magazines (for multiple authors) in the platform as well.

I see what you mean here @Eduardo Hernández but you could always just publish each episode to your journal. You have complete control and ownership of that.

I was going to suggest Brands but this wouldn't quite scratch the itch @Eduardo Hernández is talking about. For starters:

Brand Owners and Moderators do not participate in Network Rewards. (Whitepaper, p12)

So, if Eduardo is publishing under his own "brand", how would he generate revenue on Narrative? Would it just be through the NRVE donations by his readership?

The whitepaper does go on to discuss Content Creator Reward Overrides (p13) and sets up a plausibly-analogous hypothetical scenario to what Eduardo is requesting, I think? 

Bryan posted:

I was going to suggest Brands but this wouldn't quite scratch the itch @Eduardo Hernández is talking about. For starters:

Brand Owners and Moderators do not participate in Network Rewards. (Whitepaper, p12)

So, if Eduardo is publishing under his own "brand", how would he generate revenue on Narrative? Would it just be through the NRVE donations by his readership?

The whitepaper does go on to discuss Content Creator Reward Overrides (p13) and sets up a plausibly-analogous hypothetical scenario to what Eduardo is requesting, I think? 

Content creators earn the biggest chunk of revenue and brand channel authors earn revenue like anyone else. The reason that brand channel OWNERS do not participate in network rewards is because they have autonomy over the management of their channels - they appoint their own moderators and can control who can actually post to their channels.

I would suggest that you start new topics if you want to introduce whole new subjects. Will make sure each question has its own focus.

Ted posted:
Bryan posted:

I was going to suggest Brands but this wouldn't quite scratch the itch @Eduardo Hernández is talking about. For starters:

Brand Owners and Moderators do not participate in Network Rewards. (Whitepaper, p12)

So, if Eduardo is publishing under his own "brand", how would he generate revenue on Narrative? Would it just be through the NRVE donations by his readership?

The whitepaper does go on to discuss Content Creator Reward Overrides (p13) and sets up a plausibly-analogous hypothetical scenario to what Eduardo is requesting, I think? 

Content creators earn the biggest chunk of revenue and brand channel authors earn revenue like anyone else. The reason that brand channel OWNERS do not participate in network rewards is because they have autonomy over the management of their channels - they appoint their own moderators and can control who can actually post to their channels.

I would suggest that you start new topics if you want to introduce whole new subjects. Will make sure each question has its own focus.

So although the Brand Owner Eduardo would not receive reward income, the content creator Eduardo would for posting.

Hmmm …ok lots to unpack here. Like some others here, I see some faults in the approach that has been presented after investment…but I am trying to view things from all perspectives. I don't like to be critical for the sake of it, but rather to help build the best thing possible. Most of us have money is in this thing, that means we are all the team now.  I want Narrative to succeed. It's that simple.

I am going to use an analogy, which equates owning a niche to owning a retail business. I have an idea for a store (niche) and I decide I want  storefront to operate out of. Narrative is like a brand new shopping mall that WILL Be Built on the outskirts of town. It WILL be new and exciting…but right now they need our investment to get it built, and to help promote it, since nobody really knows about it. To entice potential Store owners (niche owners) to buy into the project with their Fiat-Neo, the Mall (Narrative) rewards the early stores, by allowing them first pick of location within the mall, i.e.-- type of store(niche) they will be.

These early store (niche) owners understand that they will have to work like crazy to get people to know about both their business (niche) as well as the new Mall (Narrative) and the niche owners accept that risk. They know that they have to renew their lease each year, but what they didn’t know before they handed over their money for investment is that they would have to pay 20% of their income to renew the lease. (and that they could not sell their store/niche to someone else, but that is another thread I guess)

This part does feel a little out of whack with the otherwise transparency of things.

First of all-- in business, if you are to continue with my analogy, the leasing fee for a spot in any mall (or Narrative) is not and should not be based on the success of the store (Niche) but rather the value of mall’s (Narrative platform) growth. Narrative shouldn’t profit more because a niche owner worked exceptionally hard to make hers/his niche viable compared to other Niche owners.

I think a much more appropriate model would be to have a percentage that is in ratio to the growth of the platform from the previous years rate. For instance if Narrative has a growth of 10% from the previous year, then the niche renewal rate increases by 10%. ACROSS THE BOARD. If smaller niches cannot afford this then I would argue that they are not providing enough valuable content, to enough of the community. After all we are striving for excellent content, are we not? Not just idiosyncratic. Isn’t one of the goals, to attract Advertisers? So that the financial reward pool gets replenished each year? Having consistently strong content will be the attractor...not a ton of little micro-niches with modest performance.

Creating a 20% “success tax” disguised as a renewal fee for the successful niches, so that you can subsidize those that have either idiosyncratic topics or did not work hard enough to either deliver content, or develop an audience, hardly seems like a strategy with long-term endurance.

I hope that the 'core team' seriously reconsiders this part of the model. I am certain that more investors will be very unhappy with this, as it becomes broadly understood. Especially as it was not clearly stated in the white paper, but rather part of the terms of condition. At the very least I think it is ethical to immediately amend your whitepapers.  

Kudos, @Emily Barnett! I can see that you are the female counterpart of @Malkazoid we needed in our forums. You and your diplomatic, yet insightful views are very helpful and welcome in this discussion.

Just to make things clear, though, I really want this platform to succeed, and my criticism comes from a good place, with the sole intention to make this happen. I hope I don't come across as harmful or toxic. Although yes, I acknowledge that all these mixed messages and lack of transparency coming to light now would have made me pass on this project on the spot.

I seriously hope this whole ordeal gets a happy ending.

Thank you @Eduardo Hernández. Years in business has sharpened my diplomatic skills a little. 

Also I never thought anyone here was being toxic. I just needed to preface my own intentions. 

This is a super small community...I suspect all of us invested financially, coding, promoting, buying niches, and offereing constructive criticism will be here for as long as we can be...this is a really weird thing. First of all it is really democratic. But secondly, it's like we all just showed up where a new town is going to be and all that is there is a pile of lumber, some nails a hammer and a saw. We are looking around at the landscape and each other and just trying to figure it out.

So that is pretty cool.

I still do not fully understand why there seems to be such confusion. I personally believe the Organization has been as transparent as can be reasonably expected and I do not see how the renewal fee of 20% can be described as being unfair when you are retaining 80%. The organization has basically built a "shopping mall" where every "customer" has the ability to receive income simply from constructive participation. On top of that we are being given an infinite amount of possibilities for creating any type of store that passes 2 simple tests and the ability to retain 80% of the revenue that store generates. To me, THAT is the bonus a person gets for investing in the acquisition of a niche. Not only do you get all the rewards from simply contributing and being active, you get rewarded for everyone else's activities and participation in the Niche you invested in.

 

Is this system perfect? No, but to try and make it seem like this team has been anything other than transparent and forthcoming considering everything they have been doing to build this world FOR US is pretty remarkable.

As always, just my thoughts. 

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@ClosetCrypto thank you for that clarification. I guess the confusion comes in that this was not listed in NICHES where the renewal fee is first brought up. Why put it under a different heading? I thought I read all of the white paper but I must have missed this one sentence that refers to the the 20% of income. Clearly I am not alone, so I don't think it was communicated well...even if you did read it. But your point is taken.

And still to my point. Prices are not a fluctuating thing based on how much money you earn. Should a successful person pay more for a McDonalds hamburger than an unsuccessful person?  The person who picks an obscure niche has the choice to pick what ever they want. Pick "Cats" if you think you may need to have your renewal rates subsidized by successful niches.  My beef  (pun intended) is with the sliding scale. Pick one method and stick with it. If this platform is about providing quality content to the community then the 20% annual income renewal fee should be the same across the board, not a two-tiered renewal system. If we want to make sure that micro-niches are nurtured and can be attainable then have a $75 renewal fee for everybody. But having two prices, whichever is greater applies to you, is a super great way to create a lot  acrimony right away. I also think it will lead to a lot of mediocrity. 

I also understand that the core team wants to keep the most amount of the resources in the platform and that is probably the motivating reason why it is demanding only successful niches make less proportionately than others. but this is grossly unfair. That is why I proposed a percentage that is based on the growth of the platform 10% growth of Narrative means 10% increase of niche renewal for everyone. 

 

 

 

Creating a 20% “success tax” disguised as a renewal fee for the successful niches, so that you can subsidize those that have either idiosyncratic topics or did not work hard enough to either deliver content, or develop an audience, hardly seems like a strategy with long-term endurance.

I hope that the 'core team' seriously reconsiders this part of the model. I am certain that more investors will be very unhappy with this, as it becomes broadly understood. Especially as it was not clearly stated in the white paper, but rather part of the terms of condition. At the very least I think it is ethical to immediately amend your whitepapers.  

Hello Emily,

I follow your reasoning all the way through until the above paragraphs.

As I detail in another thread, I support full ownership of niches, with the ability to sell them on, potentially for a profit above the price you once paid at auction, if the platform has become more popular and/or you have grown your niche enough in size and quality for it to be generating more activity.  The ability to see capital gains through one's efforts is one of the primary, fundamental reasons why capitalism is a functional basis for economic success (not perfect, but functional).  I identify other extremely important advantages to real ownership of niches as opposed to the lease system we currently call ownership, here:

https://community.narrative.ne...this-is-the-question

So you'll see that I'm with you on not charging a success tax, which can also legitimately be viewed as rent on something we have all been encouraged to believe we will own, and which we have been told we will have paid fair 'market price' for, through a public auction.

The one aspect of your approach that I cannot get behind is the notion that the problem is that it subsidises other smaller, less successful niches.  I'm not concerned by that at all, and in fact I propose that Narrative generates the rewards it was trying to get by charging rent to 'owners', by instead allowing niche 'owners' to sell their niches, just like any owner can sell their property.  At the time of sale, a commission, or network fee can be charged (I would suggest anywhere between 4 and 10%). 

Niches and their content cannot and should not be judged merely by popularity, otherwise Narrative will become a top 100 of the most popular topics out there, and miss out on perhaps 90 percent of the bandwidth of human expression.  Please be mindful that the 10 percent it would contain would not be the best 10 percent, only the most popular.  This would not represent evolution towards quality, only a narrow focus on what humans focus on through group think.  In a sense, the lowest common denominator would be the predominant factor, and I doubt that's what you want.

Please also note that to cut out less popular niches by out pricing their ability to renew their niches, we would be making an economic mistake of consequence.  One less popular niche generates less income than one popular one.  But there may be 30 such less popular niches for every one top 100 niches in popularity.  We would deny the network an extremely consequent source of income by deciding small niches are not valuable.

So my approach is for us to change the system to allow true ownership.  Niches will be far more valuable in a true ownership system where capital gains can be realised, so they will sell for more than if we are still in the paradigm of paying an initial auction price on a lease scheme.  Also the network will be more successful with true ownership and niches will be of higher quality (reason enough on its own to adopt it), so all niches will fetch higher sale prices.  So the commission charged on selling a niche will net substantial income for the network rewards.

This can be combined with other slight adjustments to the percentages of the Narrative distribution system, so the network rewards remains healthily aprovisionned.

 

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