Hashtag analysis and protest pics from the crowd define #Protestify

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Photo credit: Joshua Sinn.

If the symbol of protest for a previous generation was a Black Power fist, maybe the symbol of this generation includes a smartphone and a hashtag. That’s certainly what Protestify thinks at least.

Based out of the Columbia University Startup Lab in New York City, the crowdsourcing setvice to allow people in a protest to sell their photos to news media completed a $32,000 crowdfunding campaign Thursday, hitting their goal on Kickstarter with just hours to spare.

See their awesome animated pitch video below to get a better taste of the idea.

Don’t go to Google Play or the App Store to find their services. Protesify is not an app.

Instead, anyone who uses the #protestify hashtag with a social media app is sent a copyright agreement then contacted again if their content is sold.

It seems like a good time to sell the value of shots from the crowd.

In the last couple weeks high-profile protests have attracted thousands of people, the attention of world news and a common hashtag including #ICantBreathe and #BlackLivesMatter in the United States, #YaMeCanse in Mexico, #UmbrellaRevolution in Hong Kong and others in Spain and Hungary.

Protestify succeeds where the Helsinki-based Vews did not. An app that had a near identical function, Vews canceled its $100,000 crowdfunding campaign after one month, attracting only about $1,000 from backers.

Attempts to reach Vews for comment via email and various instant message services were unsuccessful.

Unlike Vews, Protestify analyzes and makes visualizations of social media activity to create data visualizations for news outlets and continue an ongoing effort to “map the entire social media space for protest news.”

The incentive of hashtag analysis as an award attracted more funders above $200 than any other reward, including some unique art and original prints by former NY Times photojournalist Michael Kamber.

The offer to analyze startup pitches for $100 a pop brought in 12 backers.

Editor’s Note: This story was written when Through the Cracks Editor Khari Johnson worked for the crowdsourcing photography app Scoopshot, a company that could be considered a competitor of Protestify.

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Khari Johnson
Khari is founder and editor of Through the Cracks: Crowdfunding in Journalism. He also writes about bots and artificial intelligence for VentureBeat. He has built news startups in the U.S. and Europe for the last decade.

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