Recently, I got zapped on Nostr by a bot called Zappr. The amount I received was less than $.01, but the accompanying note contained a link to the bot and its creator. This tiny gift contains an invaluable lesson, when it comes to the future of advertising and Nostr’s true potential.

For those who don’t know what a Zap is, here is a short explanation:
A Zap is a microtransaction via the Bitcoin Lighting network, where users of the social media protocol Nostr can send any amount of Sats (1 Bitcoin = 100,000,000 Satoshis or Sats for short).
This feature looks and works very similar to a combination of a like and a reply, but receives more prominence in most Nostr clients, thanks to the monetary value attached to it.

Essentially, a Zap is a way to show appreciation for a creator and help finance the creator via the v4v (value for value) principle. At least that was the intention behind the feature, but it is also the most powerful advertising tool in human history.

Nostr works by using relays and clients instead of a centralized platform. A relay is an entry point into the Nostr network, where users can both post their content and download the content from others.
In the client, this content is then presented via a social media style interface, with most current interfaces taking heavy design inspiration from Twitter.

Any user can choose as many relays as they want simultaneously and even run their own. And thanks to the private and public key, the user owns the access to his account, not any of the clients. It is thus quite common for users to frequently switch between clients from entirely different developers.

This means that while any given client or relay can censor a user and while any user can mute or block any given other user, your voice is censorship proof. Nobody can access or delete your account if you don’t give them access to your private key, be it willingly or accidentally.

If you run your own relay, nobody can prevent you from sharing your thoughts with the people who add this relay to their list of Nostr relays. Especially if you hide your relay behind Tor, VPS and other privacy measures.

So, how can Nostr revolutionize advertising?

  1. The data is public.
  2. Advertising can be done without middle men.
  3. Adverts can pay the customer for viewing it.

The first point is rather straightforward. Everything that gets published to a public relay can be gathered by an aggregator. This means every advertiser can gather the data and analyze it. You don’t need to trust any social media company to accurately target the audience, you can do so yourself.

And by cutting out the social media companies, you also cut out their margins. You can either advertise for free, by targeting your posts at the audience you want, or pay the customer-instead of a social media company-for viewing your ads.

Why is this so powerful?

Presently, for 1 Sat (a tiny fraction of a Dollar in Fiat terms), you can get your ad prominently featured in the notifications of every Nostr user you target.
No other social media network gives you this much direct access, and certainly not that cheap.

When Nostr matures, of course, this will lead to more advanced anti-spam measures. This will lead to users filtering your adverts by the amount you zap and other metrics.

At first glance, this may seem like the ad opportunity on Nostr will be short-lived, but far from it. Many people want to receive GOOD adverts. This is a skill Instagram currently masters. Many great products, I daily use, came to me through Instagram adverts. If not for Meta’s algorithm, I would never have known about them.

So advertising is not hated in general, even if it often has a bad reputation. It’s bad advertising that is hated. And so far, most advertising was exceptionally bad.

In good old TV, they blast every viewer with the same ad over and over, regardless of preference. In the mainstream media, they clutter their sites with ad sections and popups that they now have become almost indistinguishable from early 2000s free porn sites.

With Nostr, you can take the frustration out of ads, by getting feedback from the users and rewarding them for providing said feedback. The options are endless…

You can zap a user and offer that they get zapped back a defined amount, if they didn’t like the ad, and you promise to never bother them again.

Users can reply to your ads, give you direct feedback or even buy your product directly from the Nostr client via the Lightning network, without ever leaving the site.

Another option would be to set up dedicated relays for ads, categorized by topic. You can make these relays popular, by providing coupons or promising an amount of Sats, for every user who likes and reposts your ad or interacts with it in any other way. For example, by clicking a link or watching a video.

If you use Nostr the right way, it will become an advertising tool, more cost-effective and customer friendly than ever before. A true disruptive game changer.
A hidden champion of advertising with a near infinite potential that this article could barely scratch the surface of.

Find Walker, the creator of the Nostrich on Nostr here.

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