What is The Future of Clubhouse and Monetization? and How Can Smart Assistants Benefit From the App?
Yesterday Mark Zuckerberg was speaking on Clubhouse. Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Elon Musk have all signed up for the app. So have entrepreneurs, social media gurus, life coaches, and fashion bloggers armed with hot opinions and takes on different subjects.
Millions have downloaded Clubhouse in recent weeks. The app is currently invite-only on iOS devices only. The current hype on the app suggests that this app would be the future of social media.
The app is free to use. But how will the app be monetized for creators and the company in the future? in the following, I’ll give my opinion and ideas on how this new app will be monetized.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is an audio-only app where friends and strangers hold rooms for all kind of conversations. Users can browse the different rooms in the app’s “hallway”, and they can drop into virtual “rooms” to listen to what speakers and moderators are discussing.
Before entering a room or during a room, one cannot tell what’s coming next. And this is what makes this app very entertaining and engaging for all audiences.
You might be in a random room, and suddenly an artist or a subject-matter expert will enter the room and all of a sudden, the discussion goes viral or goas in a certain direction.
Clubhouse doesn't care about your heavily edited vacation pictures and carefully picked outfits. In Clubhouse, you have to keep the audience engaged and interested for the duration of the room. Users can drop in and out any time they want. If the conversation becomes dull, people will eave the room quietly.
User’s on Clubhouse can create clubs. Clubs on Clubhouse are similar to groups on Facebook.
Are the conversations private?
According to Clubhouse, every conversation is recorded but deleted after a short period. The company says the recordings are kept to investigate an abuse complaint to determine whether a user’s actions require disciplinary responses.
Conversations in rooms cannot be recorded or even transcribed. The app thrives on the idea of “what’s said is said, and that’s it.”
People on the internet, however, are known for breaking the rules. Entire conversations and snippets have been publically leaked against the app policies and the speakers' wishes, who have hoped for a more private conversation.
Monetization on Clubhouse
currently, Clubhouse is free to use for everyone. Creators and moderators are gathering a following on Clubhouse and their other social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.
Some creators are putting their CashApp username in their bio for others to see. CashApp allows people to transfer money and make payments without giving their bank account information.
Whenever asked about monetization, Clubhouse developers are keeping the information very vague. Clubhouse users, however, are imagining the following monetizations methods:
- Club’s membership fees: There are multiple clubs on the app. Some of these clubs might ask their members to pay a fee to access this club's rooms.
- Fees for premium access to topics in private rooms: Life coaches and gurus might schedule and host rooms, which require the listeners to pay a fee to listen and/or ask direct questions to the speakers.
- Donations for causes and projects (crowdfunding): People can use Clubhouse to discuss topics and raise awareness on different topics. They might also use the platform to crowdfund for these causes.
- Sponsored events: Brands and businesses can sponsor rooms and talks on Clubhouse as well. Every time the moderators reset the room (re-introduce the room to the newcomers), they can express that a particular brand sponsors the event.
There are different possible opportunities soon in which users can monetize the new social media platform. The company can also take its share from this monetization.
However, if the company wants to keep the app ad-free, this type of monetization might not be enough. Keep in mind that it is easy for hosts to funnel their followers on Clubhouse to other platforms. However, the company might be interested in selling something totally different to monetize — How can the app be used to develop further smart assistants such as Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri.
Siri, Alexa, and other smart assistants struggle with bilinguals
I’m not a native English speaker, and I sometimes struggle to use Siri on my iPhone. Siri doesn’t understand some words due to my pronunciation and my accent. This is an issue that every nonnative English speaker goes through.
Keep in mind that 60% of the world’s population speak more than one language, and we feel left behind.
Siri, Alexa, and others speak multiple languages. However, they cannot understand these languages together. My Siri is set to American English, and she has no problem reading all the English names. However, let my friend “Mohammed” calls me, and Siri immediately butchers the name. I can't even get her to call any of my Arabic friends’ names — she just can't understand my pronunciations.
The Washington Post released “The Accent Gap” and found out that smart speakers don’t perform well when people speak with an accent. Smart assistants speak “broadcast English,” which is classified as “predominantly white, nonimmigrant, non-regional dialect of TV newscasters.”
Smart speakers are programmed, trained, and tested by native speakers. Therefore, they struggle to understand people with an accent. The more data we input into their training, the better they will eventually get. It is not easy to find good quality recordings in random topics from people with a dialect or accents — before Clubhouse.
To read more about why AI struggle with bilinguals in more detail, check the following story:
Clubhouse’s biggest potential lies within its users’ voice data
Our voice data can be used to train smart assistants. Clubhouse users are currently speaking comfortably in many subjects and their own dialects and accents.
If Clubhouse uses the voice data without them being linked or traced back to the original users, then Clubhouse can sell the voice data to developers to be used in training the next generation of voice assistants. This process is not new; every time a smart assistant doesn't understand you properly, you have the chance to report the incident. Such reports are looked at by the developers, and they use these reports to tweak the AI.
With the Clubhouse data, developers can train the smart assistant to understand different dialects, accents, and slang.
The biggest hurdle standing before this step is the users’ reactions to their voice data being used in such a matter. Clubhouse will have a hard job convincing its users to use their voice data, but it might be a small price to pay — Users love the voice app, and the hype is growing and rising.
Clubhouse will have to figure out a way to monetize pretty soon. The company behind Clubhouse might add advertisements (banners and pop-ups) in the app. They might even take their share from fees to clubs’ memberships and events.
The voice data that the company is deleting daily is priceless to AI developers. I can’t imagine a Silicon Valley company will skip on this treasure.
If we are using the service for free, then we are the product.