Talking tech since 2003

The Internet has made it super easy to create and share content, which is great because its resulted in many people building awesome communities of people who love their work.  But how do you monetize that community in a way that doesn’t upset people and still provides a way for you to make a living off your creations?  The answer is FanHero.

FanHero connects content creators with their fans and offers them a way to monetize while adding value for the fans.  But what separates FanHero from other similar services is the fact that you (the fan) can pay what you want for the product.  Yes, there is a base price to cover the costs, but aside from that, the fan chooses what he or she will pay for a t-shirt or poster.  T-shirts start as low as $13, while a 12×12 poster starts at $22 — it is encouraged to pay at least $10 more than the list price so content creators benefit as well.

fanhero_novawarWhen I spoke to Kevin Xu, co-founder of FanHero, I could tell that he and his other co-founder, Charlie Guo were frustrated with the current state of economics for content creators.  “We are both huge fans of many YouTubers,” said Mr. Xu, “it was the primary form entertainment that we grew up on,” he went on to say.  Popular YouTube content creators are averaging 1 to 5 million views per video but aren’t making as much money as a TV show with the same viewership. “There is a huge disconnect in that sense,” said Mr. Xu.

Both co-founders knew that there had to be a better way to automate the business aspect for content creators, many of whom would much rather prefer to spend their time creating rather than working on monetizing.  With FanHero, creators can focus on their content and let their FanHero pages monetize for them, “it’s very low maintenance,” said Mr. Xu.

Low maintenance, indeed.  I decided to signup for FanHero and try it for myself.  Once you signup, all you need to do is setup your profile with all your information, then once you do that, you will be prompted to go through the creation wizard where literally all you have to do is upload a high resolution piece of artwork to use on your t-shirts, posters, etc.  Once that’s done, you’re done.  Payments are sent out at the beginning of every month, and creators can even request a payout whenever they want (which is virtually unheard of and awesome that FanHero is doing that) so if you need your money you can get it easily.

Because FanHero requires such high resolution artwork, it means that the quality of the merchandise is also of the highest quality.  T-shirts are 100% fine jersey cotton and posters are printed using Lob, the cloud printing service, which we also covered recently.  The company is also working to offer iPhone cases as well in the near future.

So far the response to FanHero from content creators and fans has been very positive, in fact, I’m told many fans are paying more than the recommended $10 markup price. Right now, the company is giving creators 100% of all earnings (above the cost of merchandise) as they roll out everything.  While I’m told that creators shouldn’t expect 100% of all earnings forever (which is understandable), FanHero does plan to give creators a majority of the earnings (think in the 70 to 75 percent range).

You can see who’s on FanHero currently via the company’s Discover page.  Also, feel free to check out the BestTechie FanHero page and grab a poster or t-shirt.  We hope to add more of a selection to it soon.

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