In short, Yepic is a new Web 2.0 site in the business of linking buyers
and sellers of information. The idea is that existing bloggers have a
wealth of knowledge that is not necessarily represented in their core
content. If only they had an incentive to tell us what they really
know… an incentive, like, money. I’m skeptical about the whole idea
but am always interested in new web startups like Yepic. So I couldn’t
help but create an account, login, and browse a bit. Here’s what I
*Update* Yepic responds to this review (be sure to read the comments) and plans to make a couple changes as a result. I’m impressed.
The initial sign up was simple enough, requiring a minimum amount of information to get me started. They did pull a pet peeve of mine, which is sending me my password via email right after I created my account. I hate it when companies do this. The reason I have a password in the first place is so that it doesn’t flow back and forth openly in cyberspace only to reside peacefully on multiple mail servers. But moving on…
Yepic is in “beta” but still has a nice look and feel to it. You can browse by category, tags, most recent, top rated, most popular, etc. The only problem is that you don’t know much about any content until you open it up in its own window. While browsing, all you get is title, author, price, and publication date. So a title of “Why We Are Here” or “The Middle Ground” gives me little to no idea of what the particular article is about. It would be much more helpful if you could browse articles with descriptions. Or if descriptions aren’t available from browsing, then the titles better get more descriptive. Otherwise, it will become extremely tedious to find what you really want.
So once you find an article you might be interested in, you can decide if you want to purchase it for whatever price the author has set (looks like $5 is the most popular price tag). Both individual articles and authors have rankings, which you can see before making a purchase. The rankings are comprised of positive, neutral, and negative votes from other readers/buyers. One thing I noticed is that much of the content right now is free, which makes sense. I mean, why would anyone buy information from anyone else based on a poor title and short description? Well, the only reasons I can think of are a) the buyer already knows and trusts the author or b) the author is “popular” with a high ranking (something your average blogger might have a hard time building up if charging from the beginning).
Actually, there’s also reason c): members of the Yepic community can put in requests for information with a suggested price they’re willing to pay. One example, someone going on a cruise and wanting advice on how to make the best of it. This person can login, request an article, and name a price of $5 (or whatever). Then any cruise experts (or whoever in the Yepic community) can write up an article knowing that demand exists for it. This ties into Yepic’s original idea of getting bloggers to tell us more than the fluffy stuff they must be sticking to now with their current free content.
One nifty features allows authors in the community to easily collaborate one with another in writing new content. And the site does boast of encouraging and protecting copyrights while assuring authors that their content is still their own. The idea would be for bloggers to post a blurb on their regular free site about how they have premium pay-only content at Yepic with the undoubtedly engrossed readership flocking to the new content regardless of the fee involved.
Now, perhaps I’m being a little harsh; the concept does have merit. I suppose it’s just that I find it a little odd that, in this day and age of information becoming more available, more quickly all for the price of using Google (among other resources), a new startup would try and capitalize on the model everyone else is running from: charging for content.
I wish the company the best of luck and will check in here and there, even if it’s unlikely that any reader here would ever have to pay a fee to read something I write online…