Bitcoinist spoke with co-founder of ICO Alert, Mike Finch, who shared his insight into the recent ban on Initial Coin Offering (ICO) advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Google social media platforms, how ICOs have been responding, and how it levels the playing field for quality ICOs to receive market attention.
Bitcoinist: How have ICOs been responding to the ban on popular social media platforms?
Mike Finch: There are two ways to look at this, for both ICOs and ICO marketing/consulting agencies. On one hand, it is bad because it decreases the sheer # of avenues for ICOs to advertise and you could argue it hurts the industry.
On the other hand, I think it is good because it inherently requires ICOs to focus more on reaching the right audience. Advertising ICOs is very difficult because it’s hard to market to the right audience and know you’re marketing to the right audience.
You’re not simply trying to drive traffic to a website, you’re trying to drive contribution to a project, and completing that is a more difficult process than what advertisers/marketers might find in other industries.
Bitcoinist: It’s been reported that ICO-related websites have experienced the biggest drop-off in views after Bitcoin price entered the bear market? Can you verify this?
Mike Finch: Yes, that is definitely the case. You can see it on Alexa across ICO-related websites. Those cryptocurrency/ICO websites that will survive will be the ones that actually provide value to their users, ICOs, etc. We see it as a necessary process in a maturing industry.
Bitcoinist: Many experts have already said there is a big silver lining to the ban. Do you agree and what are the benefits of this? Better quality ICOs?
Mike Finch: We agree–the ban helps bring to light the more effective marketing options for these ICOs. We strive to be in that light with our services and with our audience of users.
Bitcoinist: What are some loopholes that ICO’s are using to bypass this ban?
Mike Finch: Apparently, you can still advertise on Facebook, Google, etc. if you use certain keywords vs. “ICO”– although it doesn’t seem the worth the SEO hit you might take on Google. ICO Alert has never had to advertise itself nor its ICO clients through paid ads.
Bitcoinist: Have you noticed a decrease in ICO launches and listings on your website since the ban was initiated?
Mike Finch: ICO Alert is on pace to list over 5,000 ICOs this year, up way more than the 1,848 listings last year.
Bitcoinist: What criteria does your platform use to vet ICOs and avoid scams? In other words, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Can you provide any recent examples?
Mike Finch: When it comes to evaluation, ICO Alert looks to verify a handful of things present within each project: team members, parent companies, whitepapers, project tech, etc. We list dozens of ICOs every day and have a full data team that intensely vets each ICO before listing.
It’s also important to note that while ICO Alert does not list scams or parody tokens, we’re a free-to-list website, meaning you don’t have to pay us to be on our site. This is what allows us to be comprehensive with our data.
Bitcoinist: What is your policy on possible insider deals between people working at your company and ICOs?
Mike Finch: Our team is all cryptocurrency investors, but we don’t use our relationship with ICO Alert to leverage a better price with any ICO.
Bitcoinist: Can you provide some noteworthy ICO stats from the past year?
Mike Finch: There were 1,848 ICOs listed last year on ICO Alert from April to December. As of today, there are 3,352 listings on our site, 670 of which are currently active accepting contribution.
Bitcoinist: What are some of the most crowded ICO categories that you’ve noticed?
Mike Finch: Healthcare is big right now; IoT has always been big; you see social media related platforms present all the time, and finally a lot of new blockchains/platforms aiming to provide better scalability/usability for the industry as a whole or one specific sector.
Bitcoinist: What do you think is the biggest indicator that this industry is here to stay? Using the internet as an analogy, what year do you think we’re in right now in regards to ICOs?
Mike Finch: I was born in 1991 so it’s hard for me to say. But we’re somewhere in the 90s from what all of the “experts” tell us as it relates to that metaphor. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is not going away, but there is a ton of growth that still needs to happen. Specifically to ICOs, the fundraising model will not disappear, but there is a lot of regulation and maturation that still needs to happen in the space.
Do you predict the ICO industry to keep growing? Let us know in the comments below!
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