How authors can use POAPS to help their readers step into web3

Reading time: 3 mins 38 secs, 912 words 
(Read to the end for a special POAP NFT for our readers!)
Last week, we dug deep into how authors can look at reader blockchain data to gain reader insights. However, one major gap with blockchain data was that it didn’t allow authors to connect with their readers directly.  

This week, we want to highlight one way to solve this issue by exploring how authors can use Proof-of-Attendance-Protocol (POAP) NFTs.

(…and how this could be the precursor to a read-to-earn app.)

What are POAP NFTs?

The creators of POAPs describe them as “digital memories minted in celebration of life’s remarkable moments. A gift from an issuer to a collector in celebration of a special shared memory.” 

They have become increasingly common “gifts” in both in-real-life and online events, with some Dune Analytics dashboards from @greywizard showing sharp increases in usage. (IMAGE)

So, let’s say someone attends your panel discussion at a conference. You can display a QR code on your last slide, and everyone attending can scan it and get a limited edition NFT showing they were at the session.  

The digital equivalent would be if someone listens to a Twitter Spaces (or even a TikTok) and gets a secret code word at the end that allows them to download a POAP.  

The basic idea is that these are low-stakes rewards for being an active and engaged community member.  

Other “real world” examples of low-value participation rewards include the “I Voted” stickers given to voters during elections, stamps or badges given for hiking the 46 mountains in the Adirondacks, or balloons handed out to children by McDonald’s staff.

3 ways authors can use POAPs to engage with their readers

So now that we have a basic idea of what POAPs are, what can authors do with them? 

We looked through several use cases and examples and found three use cases that were really interesting for authors specifically.

1) Provide POAPs for IRL or Digital Speaking Engagements.

Whenever an author is giving a reading or a talk, offer readers the ability to download a POAP afterward. It wouldn’t be required of them but would allow you to better understand how many of your fans are crypto-enthusiastic.

2) POAPs as Lead Magnets.

While seeing who has bought your NFTs using blockchain data is great, like we talked about last week, connecting with them off-chain is not accessible if you don’t have their email addresses. By providing a sign-up form that offers a POAP in exchange for their email address, you can reach out to your on-chain readers.  

3) Proto-version of “Read to Earn.” 

Not going to lie; this is why we did this write-up. We’ve been talking about Read-to-Earn since our very first article. Full Read-to-Earn could be the key to unlocking DEMAND for on-chain books by readers. However, many obstacles still remain.

POAPs could be the first step in the direction of read-to-earn or rewarding your readers for doing what they love — reading! 

How to do it?

Place a QR code or secret password at the end of your book to download that book’s POAP and see who starts collecting them.

This would reward readers for reading in a potentially fun and new way. 

This strategy gamifies reading all of the books in a series or an author’s entire catalog of titles.

Imagine if an author like Stephen King put POAPs at the end of each of his books. Passionate readers would love to read through and show off that they have read the entire collection. 

Or if Goodreads worked with authors and instead of just clicking “read” on a new novel, readers actually received an NFT when the book was completed.  

This reminded us of passport stamps in a way because each stamp becomes a bit of a memory for the traveler. We always keep our outdated passports to look through them and reminisce about our travels. The same can be done for avid readers. 

Potential downside of POAPs

The downside is that authors are already wary of losing reader, and most prefer to place a call to action to leave a review on Amazon/Goodreads. 

If authors place a POAP instead of a request to leave a review, readers might have to choose between that and a link to write an Amazon Review. 

Lisa’s advice is for authors to stop caring about reviews on Amazon, but that’s for another day.

Get Your Gutenb3rg POAP for free! 

If you are interested in testing POAPs out with your community, does a great job explaining how it all works.

One important thing is that these are engineered from the start to be low/no cost, so there is no expense to issuers or collectors for the NFTs.

We talk a lot about testing out different technologies as we go, so we wanted to reward our Gutenb3rg readers with a POAP just for you! 

To get it, you need to:

1) Download the POAP App and follow the directions

2) Click on the MINT button in the bottom right and Select Secret Code

3) Enter: gutenb3rg_1  (all lowercase)

NOTE! We only have 50 POAPs available, and you need to mint them in the next 12 hours (they disappear at 6 pm EST today)!

Side note: As an update, we are powering down in Sweden so we can recharge in the sun and nature, and we won’t be coming out with in-depth articles until August. 

Once we are back, we look forward to digging deeper into a number of exciting projects and technologies to see how web3 can improve how stories are written and how authors are paid! 

Thanks again for reading!

Don’t miss one of our articles!

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Gain New Insights about your Readers using Blockchain Data

Reader Data in Web2

As authors, we begrudgingly acknowledge that Amazon is the largest platform on which we can sell our books. The biggest downside to selling your books on Amazon is that we have zero customer data of our readers. Sure, we can add a call to action to sign up for our newsletter in the hopes that we’ll get their emails, but really, we have no clue who is buying our books. We spend all this money acquiring readers for our books and can’t even retarget them.

Facebook ads are a bit nicer because we can retarget former customers or website visitors using Facebook Pixel. Even if we don’t know who visits our website, we can put one of our book’s ads in front of them again.  

But what if you could see every web3 purchase your readers have ever made?  

Keep reading for how authors can gain new insights about their readers using blockchain data.

New world of Blockchain Data

We’ve been hearing and thinking a lot recently about how blockchain data can provide different insights to creators, we wanted to dig in more. (Note – a really good and in-depth discussion of this is from Mint’s recent podcast – The Web3 Creator’s Guide to Blockchain Data with Erik Reppel. Recommended if you want more details!)

One of the confusing parts for us is that blockchain data is BOTH primarily anonymous AND primarily transparent. While this seems a bit contradictory at first, it makes sense once we understand how it works.

Blockchain data are anonymous because you cannot connect them to real people. Using blockchain data, there is no way to send an email to all your customers (or potential future customers). All you can see from the data are all transactions tied to an account number.

But that is where the transparent part kicks in – and WOW – there is a lot of data there.

(Note two – these next steps are not super easy or straightforward at this stage. But as always, remember that we are SO EARLY)

Gain New Insights about your Readers

OK, so we all agree that Amazon and Facebook (ahem, Meta) are super powerful platforms that are happy to take our money to advertise our books to THEIR users. The only way to transform THEIR users into OUR readers is in hopes that our readers love us enough to subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media.

Let’s be honest — how many of you have LOVED an author and then immediately gone and signed up for their newsletter?

Maybe once? Twice in your life? OK, so that strategy means you’re only capturing a teeny tiny percentage of your readers — they are hardcore fans of your writing, and you’re still missing information on 99.99% of your readers.

Using blockchain data, however, web3 authors can now have high value, individual and traceable purchasing data FOR FREE. It’s all RIGHT there for anyone to look at (kind of scary, huh?)

After spending a bit of time on Dune Analytics (a great free platform to make sense of messy blockchain data), we’ve found a handful of dashboards showing the type of aggregated data potentially available for authors.

Dune Analytics Community-Centric Examples

1 – Your overall web3 project activity and sales – built by @RantumBits

2 – Top customers for your project – built by @lukerfrazier (i.e., some projects will see customers buy multiple NFTs to give them more utility and/or more financial upside)

3 – Web3 purchasing history indicating how much previous experience your readers have with crypto – built by @kristineberth

4 – The number and types of NFTs your customers hold in their accounts – built by GreenHaro

5 – The amount of ETH your customers have in their account

(very frustrating, but we can’t find the link / screenshot of this one.  But trust us, it exists and was a pie chart showing how many ETH were in each account, by buckets (i.e. less than 1, 5-10, more than 50, etc.)

Using these data, you can better understand what content would be most engaging and relevant for your readers. 

You can also benchmark your project against your peers to evaluate marketing or other strategies.

With another few clicks, you can even go one level deeper and get account-by-account details of your readers. 

Individual Transaction Data

If someone new purchases your NFT book, you can copy and paste their account number into Etherscan and see every on-chain transaction they have ever made and the current value in their wallet. 

For example, here is Jimmy Fallons account that links to his twitter and shows he has 33 Ethereum, a number of NFTs/Tokens and has made 32 traceable transactions. 

What could you do with this information? 

A lot…actually.

It would increase your knowledge of who your readers are and what they purchase in web3.

You’d know if they’ve purchased any other books in web3, supported art NFTs (you’d get a sense of what type of art they like), and if they are a newbie or a power-user in web3.

You could always team up with other web3 authors and airdrop (or “gift”) a preview of your NFT book to their readers or vice versa if you are in the same genre.

The possibilities are endless, and those are all quick ideas off the tops of our heads.

What we would like to reiterate is that with great transparency, comes great responsibility.

While people trust Amazon with their data because they know it won’t be released to anyone, users might shy away from web3 if they feel their data will be misused.

Don’t abuse web3 reader data, and definitely don’t contact your readers on web2 if they haven’t consented. 

As a web3 creator, it is important that you respect people’s privacy regardless of how transparent transactions are on blockchain.

Your sales data is also available

Another downside of this public transparency is that it makes your sales and purchases public. 

Here is one NFT collection we launched last November based on our trip to Jordan (our trip to Petra, Jordan was amazing, btw!).

As you can quickly tell, no one has bought anything.

These data are like a supercharged Amazon ranking. Now anyone can see your projects’ success (or failure) with specifics. 

Not necessarily a problem, but very different from our usual expectations of privacy (especially financial privacy). 

Next Steps

As we mentioned at the beginning, the central part of this article required a decent amount of playing around and exploring what is available currently. 

Unfortunately, blockchain data are inherently messy, so it isn’t easy to dig into the raw data unless you are very technical.

Luckily though, several tools make it more accessible. Zora from the podcast we mentioned earlier seems to be doing a great job. Dune Analytics provides free access to aggregated data through publicly available dashboards (and you can make your own if you know SQL). 

Etherscan is a fantastic tool for quick analyses of individual accounts. 

Unfortunately, due to the current nature of the space, most of the dashboards we found on Dune Analytics are focused on the INVESTOR community rather than the CREATOR community. We hope/expect that to change in the future.

Overall, we think that blockchain data have the potential to transform what authors know about the communities that own their books. By combining this knowledge with the web3-enabled ways authors can interact with their communities, major opportunities for community building and engagement are unlocked. 

If you know SQL/Dune Analytics and want to work together on a creator-centric dashboard, reach out!

Don’t miss one of our articles!

We highlight web3lit projects and creative pioneers every Friday and send a friendly email to our Gutenb3rg Readers.

Click here to add us to your inbox!

Fueled by passion, coffee, and late night conversations, we appreciate any and all donations of appreciation