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A TikTok ban from the RESTRICT Act could hurt creators abroad



A TikTok ban from the RESTRICT Act could hurt creators abroad

On March 22, dozens of popular TikTok creators gathered on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington to rally against the potential ban on the social media platform. This demonstration took place the day before the company’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, testified before a congressional committee. The creators called the ban a threat to their livelihoods, and an act of censorship. TikTok covered travel expenses for those in attendance, but not all the creators who would be impacted by such a ban were represented.

Gilmher Croes, for one, tuned in to the hearing from his home in Aruba, a Caribbean nation located just miles from the coast of Venezuela. A full-time creator, his broad comedy and mix of pratfalls and thirst traps have gained him over 35 million followers on TikTok, placing him among the top 60 most-followed accounts in the world.

Croes estimates that roughly 15 million of those followers — over 40% — live in the U.S., which would make a national TikTok ban a considerable blow to his business. Unlike some TikTok creators who took to Washington last week, Croes has no Congressional representative to call.

“It’s scary to think about, that you have a huge platform and it can go all away in one day,” Croes told Rest of World from his home in Oranjestad, the capital of Aruba. Croes said if a U.S. ban does go through, he’s hopeful he can adapt to other platforms. But he also showed concern for full-time creators with smaller followings that rely largely on their TikTok accounts for income. “It’s going to be harder for them. Maybe they can lose everything. Besides me, you know, there are a lot of people outside the U.S. that are really in deep trouble,” he said.

Lawmakers in the Senate are currently considering a bill called the RESTRICT Act, which is widely understood to create a pathway for a national TikTok ban. The Biden administration has already backed the bill, although it’s unclear when it could come to a vote. If passed, it would give the U.S. Commerce Department powers to review TikTok as a potential foreign security threat and restrict the platform. But while momentum has been steadily building behind a ban, the process has been slow, and it’s unclear how long it will take for the U.S. to act.

Still, any U.S. action against TikTok will have ripple effects for the platform as a whole, far beyond America’s borders. Cutting off TikTok’s U.S. audiences would be a huge blow to anyone counting on their views — particularly creators who depend on brand advertising deals that skew towards the U.S. market. As a result, creators like Croes are watching America’s slow progress towards a TikTok ban with bated breath.

“The American influencer marketing ecosystem generally sets trends for influencer marketing around the world. But there’s so much creativity and innovation on social media globally,” Angela Simaan, senior director of communications at Obviously, an international influencer marketing agency, told Rest of World. “One of the really wonderful things about social spaces like TikTok is how much collaboration and creativity is possible, regardless of language and national borders. We’ve seen that with so many different trends on the platform — a lot of the humor is cross-cultural.”

The most-followed TikTok account in the world, of Italian-Senegalese creator Khaby Lame, is almost solely made up of silent comedy videos.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew faces congress, his image projected on a TV screen behind him

Kent Nishimura/LATimes/Getty Images

More than 150 million Americans use TikTok every month, according to new figures released by the company ahead of congressional hearings. That’s just a slice of the nearly 1 billion monthly active users on the platform globally — but it’s an important slice. The influencer marketing firm Obviously estimates that TikTok users in the U.S. watch over 1 billion videos per day. For creators like Croes, the American market can have an outsized impact on their earnings.

“I would say a lot of my deals are targeting my U.S. audience because most of my followers are U.S.-based,” Croes said, noting his past contracts with companies including the chain restaurant Chipotle and film studio DreamWorks Pictures. In addition to uploading sponsored videos through his account, he regularly creates videos for the accounts of U.S. corporate clients. “If TikTok gets banned, we’ll see how we’re going to figure this out — if they will still want to work with me or what will happen.”

The TikTok Creator Fund, which allows certain creators to earn money directly from the company, is currently only available to users based in the U.S, U.K., France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. That means creators in non-Western countries, like Croes, tend to be even more reliant on sponsored content and other brand deals to make money.

“Especially for creators outside the U.S., they have received this sense from brands that U.S. audiences are, quote unquote, more valuable,” Brooke Erin Duffy, an associate professor in the department of communication at Cornell University, who researches the creator economy, told Rest of World. “They feel this compulsion to cater both to their local communities, but also to participate in this system where brands seem to value and even valorize U.S.-based audiences.”

Natasha, who asked to use only her first name for security reasons, is no stranger to social media bans. As a creator working in Saint Petersburg, Russia, she lived through the departures of Facebook and Instagram last year, following the invasion of Ukraine.

While the use of TikTok continues to be heavily restricted among Russian users, Natasha has managed to maintain an audience of over 320,000 followers on the platform. All of her content is in English and most of it is a window into the daily lives of Russian citizens since the war began — the videos show the effects of sanctions as they hit the country and the impact of increased censorship. She estimates 80% of her audience is American.

“I was one of these bridges that connects people to reality a little bit,” she told Rest of World. She regularly receives messages from American followers, who ask her to post more often and send her “gifts” on TikTok livestreams, through which she makes the bulk of her earnings.

Natasha’s account was registered in the U.S. under her boyfriend’s name. She uses foreign SIM cards, and only connects to W-iFi and portable modems with VPNs in order to circumvent restrictions and keep her content circulating among American users.

“I feel like I’m sometimes watching Russians when they were discussing how to ban Telegram, and how to ban some social media — it was the same thing.”

A ban on TikTok would be a huge blow to her work as a creator, and she describes the current conversation in the U.S. with a sense of deja vu. “I feel like I’m sometimes watching Russians when they were discussing how to ban Telegram, and how to ban some social media — it was the same thing,” Natasha said. “There were some old people sitting there saying how this is harmful for our community and we’re going to ban it and asking stupid questions about social media. You feel they don’t understand anything.”

Natasha said she couldn’t stomach watching the full congressional hearing with TikTok’s CEO, and instead got updates from friends. “It just gives me so many flashbacks,” she said.

Due to the harassment she’s received as a Russian creator, Natasha has taken a break from posting on TikTok for her mental health. With talk of a ban, though, she’s now questioning whether she should come back at all, or begin migrating her audience to YouTube.

“Maybe I will go back just to tell them to follow me, like search for me on other platforms to get my audience, not lose them completely,” she said.

The experience of TikTok creators like Natasha could be described as a kind of platform dependence, according to David Nieborg, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Toronto. While Tiktok has provided unprecedented economic opportunity for creators globally, it has also made many reliant on the app for their livelihoods, and unsure of their economic future without it.

“Platform workers are always inherently in a deeply precarious position,” Nieborg told Rest of World. He describes the practice of migrating audiences to other platforms — whether Vine to Instagram, or TikTok to YouTube — as a common way for creators to mitigate risk.

Platforms owned by U.S. companies have the potential to reap huge benefits from a TikTok ban, in terms of both viewers and creators. Following India’s ban on TikTok and similar short-form video apps owned by Chinese companies, Instagram, YouTube, and a host of Indian-owned social media apps filled the vacuum left behind. Some U.S. TikTok creators have already claimed they are growing their audiences on Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts — the TikTok clones launched by Meta and Google — to prepare for the ban.

Croes said he would do the same, though he’s skeptical most of his 15 million followers from the U.S. would follow him elsewhere, or if he could even get the word out. He claimed the videos he posts talking about other social media platforms do not circulate as well on TikTok.

“I’m just observing to see what will happen. And I’m confident that if something happens, I will keep going,” he told Rest of World. “I know there’s a lot of other platforms, so I always believe in my ability to adapt.”

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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024



Make money blogging


Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.


Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?




Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach



Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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