With the rise of social networking, there is a huge supply of content coming from “celebrities” of all kinds. A Korean startup called Lasso & Company is trying to capitalize on a global flavor of (healthy) celebrity stalking, by not only aggregating the social network updates of celebrities, but also asking the crowd to either translate the updates in their own languages, or vote on the available translations. By doing so, they open celeb’s reach to a potentially new worldwide audience, since updates are nearly always posted in the celebrity native language. TheFanda exists as a website, and also as an app.
I like the idea, because this is an endless source of interest from the public, and also because the importance of the “rest of the world” is often underestimated or under-served. It also doesn’t always make sense for social media teams to “invest” time and resources into languages that are not “profitable” (yet, they could be in the future). The app is also a convenient place to check what your favorite celebrity is up to without actually having to use a bunch of different sites or apps.
Intrigued by how difficult it could be to obtain quality crowdsourced translations, I talked to Baek Ho Lim, the CEO of Lasso, about this topic. He explained that several users can translate an update, and that other users can upvote or downvote the quality of a translation. This is not bullet-proof obviously, but it means that the quality would basically rise with the number of users. As it is the case with any crowdsourced project, things get better over time as the content is refined.
This may be an issue for real-time social network updates from Twitter or Facebook, and it is something that the company is keeping a close eye on, but so far, no big problems have appeared. Beak Ho Lim also mentioned that he is considering having some staff dedicated to translating the most important updates from huge celebrities.
The startup would make money with advertising and plans to analyze the social network updates to see if they can connect them to relevant advertising. Several solutions are being envisioned, but further testing is required at the moment. In my opinion, once they become bigger, they may also charge bands and celebrities who want to have a custom page (not unlike mySpace did). Promotional events, ticket sales and things of that nature could also be done – but first, TheFanda needs to grow.