Amuso is pitched as a self hosted “game show” site that allows users to win and make money.
Up front, it’s a hot or not clone, with video supported as well. Users set up a contest based around a topic, and anyone can enter with an interesting twist: each entry costs money, previously £1, but the current amount isn’t specified on the site. The winner of the contest wins a split of the money, along with the contest creator, and naturally Amuso itself.
The site launched into the US market late September, and this is the official spin:
Amuso aims to empower consumers who have always dreamed of starring in a show but never got a break. From now on, there is no need for studio contracts, celebrity judges or rigorous auditions; everyone can star on Amuso.com. After only two months, Amuso has already attracted 100,000 monthly visitors, 20,000 registered contestants and paid out over $10,000 in cash prizes.
Some competitions are free, so the site will attract users that way, but the financial model itself is dicey in terms of building a solid user base. $1 might not seem a large amount, and the site supports Paypal, but in a space accustomed to free, requiring money is a limiting factor, both in attracting users, and creating a sustainable business.
There are opportunities for the site to succeed: “brand partners” offers companies branded contests, creating an alternative revenue stream that doesn’t rely on users, and the site is backed from the investors behind Skype. That aside, it is a bold model with exceptionally high risk. Who knows, it might just work.