Startup Profile: Soapbox // November 7, 2016

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So what is Soapbox?

Soapbox is a commercial, social magazine and blog. Essentially a blogazine. The concept behind it is that Its content is created by you, your friends, colleagues, parents, children, siblings, teachers, doctors, partners; everyone really. Take the phrase “I do tend to get up on my soapbox about this issue” as an example. At Soapbox, I want to encourage people to write about what is bothering them; their hobbies &interest; culture, social, economical & current affairs and get potentially paid for their effort.

So it is like the Huffington Post?

Yes and no. There are some similarities but our major difference is that all of our content come from people who may not be professional writers. I would prefer the comparison be made between Soapbox and Wikipedia. Historically, the hierarchy of information and knowledge has always travelled downwards. You go to school and learn from a teacher who themselves went to university and learnt from a lecturer/professor etc. Going back even further, you can liken that example to organised religion passing information down to their followers. Wikipedia has flipped this educational stable on its head. Now, with Wikipedia, information and knowledge rises up from the masses. Anyone can be an author on Wikipedia. Once an topic is uploaded, other people can make edits to it if they spot mistakes or if the information changes i.e. new cures or treatments for illnesses. I wanted to follow the same principle for Soapbox. Instead of having a news source in which all the information was passed down the line by journalists, I wanted to develop and build a place where news, views and information can rise up from the masses.

You mentioned people can get paid. How does that work?

I don’t want people to write for Soapbox and have them feel they won’t get rewarded. At Soapbox, we want to share our profits with everyone who writes for us. Now, obviously we can’t pay every single person who writes without them having to hit a target of sorts. This is in place for quality control. Let me explain. It is anticipated that the better the article, the more it will be shared on social media and thus, the more it will be read. The more it is viewed and read, the higher a percentage that author will receive of the month’s advertising revenue. Here is an example. If I write an article for Soapbox, I need to get a minimum of 500 unique views in a month to get a percentage. This percentage is worked out on the ratio of ‘article total views’ compared to ‘site total views’. Back to my example, if I got 500 views for an article and the site for 2000 views in total, I would have 25% of the advertising revenue pot sent to my PayPal details. You won’t make enough money to retire writing for Soapbox, but if you write regular, well written and topical articles, you should make a decent amount each month.

Where did you get the idea for Soapbox?

I had been playing around with the idea of an online magazine for a while now. In its first incantation, it was going to be a purely music based magazine for promoters to host their events on. I then further developed the idea to be a bit more general but got stuck when looking for journalists so I shelved the idea for a few years and worked on a few other projects. Several months ago, I was talking with my sister and we thought about setting up a magazine that would be similar to the likes of Buzzfeed but would be more based around relating politics to pop-culture. I then thought to myself; “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place that anyone could write about a topic that they wanted to and get paid for it?” From that idea, I built it up to what Soapbox is today.

What is the future of Soapbox looking like?

I’m hoping very different to how it is now. I want to see it grow, evolve and change over time to reflect what the writers want to use it for as well as how our users interact with the site. I am toying around with the concept of running events through the site as well under the new brand ‘Soapbox Socials’ and have a few other diversification ideas as well. I am conscious that I don’t want to spread my resources too thin to quickly so it will become a case of prioritising the ideas that will assist in Soapbox’s growth.

What does Soapbox mean to you?

To me, Soapbox is something that could become a powerful news and views service in the future. What is a soapbox? Historically, it was a box or crate used as a makeshift stand by a public speaker. Now it is a concept for people who want to have their views distributed. It took me a while to find a name I liked. I initially looked at something like ‘Speaker’s Corner’ but decided Soapbox would be more universally known. I want Soapbox to help people and affect their lives. I know that sounds grand and ambitious but affecting people’s lives can be in any guise. For some people going through tough times, writing can be therapeutic. Others may read an article and take solace in the fact that they are not alone in their views on a topic. There are countless ways Soapbox can affect people and I’d like to see it help as much as it can.

Where can we find Soapbox?

You can find our site at sp-bx.com. If you want to write, go to the site and click ‘join us’. It’s a quick and easy to sign up and submitting articles only takes a few moments. If you don’t want to write just yet, why not sign up to our newsletter? We post articles daily and the topics are always different so there is bound to be something of interest. You can also follow us on social media. Our Facebook is @soapbx and our Twitter is SP_BX. I am always more than happy to answer any questions people may have. If you want to get in touch, send me an email at editor@sp-bx.com.