Wattpad Launches New Self-Publishing Crowdfunding, First Revenue Model For The Social Network

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TechCrunch by Darrell Etherington | August 12, 2013

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Wattpad, the Toronto-based social network based on writing and reading, has just announced a new crowdfunding platform called “Fan Funding” which offers authors on its network the chance to leverage their huge followings for raising capital towards creative works. It’s like a Wattpad-housed Kickstarter for creative projects, but there’s good reason Wattpad users would use it over the more established alternatives.

“For us, we are one of the first if not the first creative social networks that’s utilizing crowdfunding as one of our business models,” Wattpad founder and CEO Allen Lau said in an interview. “The reason that we’re different than Kickstarter is that if you want to start a project on Kickstarter, you basically ask your relatives, neighbors and friends to fund you, and then expect strangers to chip in. In our case, because we’re a social network ourselves, the writes that are participating in Fan Funding most likely have fairly sizeable fanbases already.”

Wattpad has a very active community, with over 16 million unique monthly views and around 4 billion minutes spent on site per month by users, according to the most recent numbers from Lau. And authors on the site have amassed considerable readerships: user MercyRose (Tara Sampson), for instance, who is one of the pilot users of the Fan Funding platform, has 55,316 followers, and managed to fully fund her project already, before the site has even had a public launch.

Fan Funding projects work on an all-or-nothing funding basis, and run for a standard 30 day term. Wattpad members pledge to the projects, and the story that is funded will always be made available for free on the Wattpad platform, so the core identify of the network as a place for the sharing of free stories remains intact.

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