Firstly, what is TopBuzz?
TopBuzz is an app (newly-launched) which supposedly helps content creators reach more people and drive more revenue. After a barrage of ads directing us to the platform, and always being open to new opportunities to develop, we decided to take a look and give a TopBuzz review.
The idea behind the app is really appealing. Essentially it take your content and distributes it to an app audience. For those publishers without an app of their own this can seem really beneficial. It’s a way to build up an audience that you might not otherwise have, and the financials are already sorted. You just publish and you generate revenue.
So, if the idea is sound, what are the problems? This TopBuzz review explores it in detail, from a publishers experience.
6 big problems with the TopBuzz service
Unfortunately we encountered some pretty big problems from a publisher perspective.
1. Spam on TopBuzz
Firstly, the amount of spam and click-bait based content on the platform makes it an impossible place for anyone genuinely trying to produce good content to compete. There are only so many videos of “Waterbuffalo takes on giant snake” that a user can put up with.
And even if you are into that sort of content, the odds are that the video is just of the two passing next to each other. It really is click-bait heaven – so if that’s your game, it might be worth it. If it’s not, consider steering away.
2. Communication from TopBuzz
You can try commenting in the FAQ section, or even reaching out to them by email, but the responses are pretty average. To most people that do receive an email back it would seem that they don’t care.
Here’s an example below. We followed this up formally requesting our account to be deleted, but no luck initially.
3. You can’t delete your account on TopBuzz
Which brings me on to my next point, and it’s a big one. If you’re unhappy with the way your brand, blog, business etc etc is reflected on TopBuzz, and the fact that they own the right to do whatever they want with your content, you can’t delete your account to stop it. Even if you email them. Your account remains on the app. We had to get to the stage of a direct conversation through whatsapp in order to persuade them to delete our account.
The thing that worries us is that TopBuzz had a page where it listed some premium publishers, such as New York Times, Huffington Post, Mashable etc etc as users. I wonder if those publishers simply can’t get the content off the platform. We can’t find that page now.
4. You can’t remove your settings on TopBuzz
So you can’t delete your account. Okay, that’s annoying but at least you can just follow the standard process and remove all of your contact details. For example, the RSS feed the site is pulling the articles from and the link to your Youtube page etc etc… right?
Well. No. You can’t do that either. Or the site makes it so hard to do this that you end up giving up. TopBuzz gave us direction on how to do this (which are very unclear) via our whatsapp conversation, but without knowing that process it would be tricky to figure it out.
5. Low revenue on TopBuzz
Okay, let’s say you ARE a click based focussed site. You want money and you don’t care about what content sits on the platform. You’re not too bothered about how your brand is presented amongst the click bait publishers, or that there are no good communications coming from the TopBuzz company. At least you’re making money right? Well. No. After a month of publishing over a hundred pieces of content to the app, which we can’t remove, we made…. $2.04.
And even if you do start to make good money from a viral piece of content, they own the rights to re-publish it – which explains the 400,000+ community they now have on FB. Which brings us on to our final point, and it’s a big one. So, if TopBuzz can take this content and republish it the next day as their own, then how are you ever supposed to have vast success using TopBuzz?
6. TopBuzz takes your best performing content and then re-publishes it as their own
Lets say you have at long last produced that awesome piece of content. The one that’s going to drive subscribers and revenue for you for months. The one that you can use to develop your business. Well, if you’re signed up with TopBuzz and that happens then you might find the very day after you’ve had success that they have taken that content and republished it as their own across social channels. There’s no credit involved and they think they have a right to do this because you have signed up to the platform.
You can see the T&C copy as of today below:
To their credit (after this article was published) TopBuzz got in touch, but stuck to their guns and saw no problem in re-publishing other publishers content with their branding all over it.
After lengthy discussion TopBuzz (below) the new app didn’t see anything wrong with taking the top performing content and re-publishing it. Also, they finally agreed to delete the Digital Fox account. Imagine if they hadn’t? All of our content would effectively be left for them to do whatever they liked with.
As publishers, we are all searching for new ways to generate revenue. Facebook and YouTube are continuing to make us work harder for our dollar, and that will create opportunity for new platforms.
TopBuzz has massive potential, but there needs to be some considered investment in liaising with publishers, and generating and promoting quality content, not to mention not taking other peoples content and republishing it as their own.
Oh, and TopBuzz should definitely give us an option to remove ourselves from the platform whilst they are making these developments. Or else it’s kind of like copying and pasting other people’s content after they have told you to stop…
All of the information here is correct at the time of publishing. If you’ve had a similar experience, feel free to share with us.