Bigo Live’s 20% Rule: A Misguided Approach to Global Engagement

Bigo Live, a prominent player in the live streaming industry, recently rolled out a policy that has sparked considerable debate among its global community. This policy restricts broadcasters from earning the full value of ‘beans’ (virtual gifts that can be converted into real money) received from viewers outside North America, capping it at 20% counting toward their monthly target. This decision, while possibly intended to prevent fraud, has far-reaching implications for the platform’s content creators and its global appeal.

The Adverse Impact on International Content Creation

The implementation of this policy disincentivizes broadcasters, especially those in the music and entertainment sectors, from targeting or engaging with an international audience. For instance, musicians in the USA and Canada who have traditionally enjoyed a following in regions like the Philippines and Vietnam are now facing a significant reduction in potential earnings from these audiences. This limitation on earning potential inadvertently narrows the scope of their content to a predominantly North American audience.

TracTrac’s Gala Victory: Exposing the Policy’s Flaws

2023 BIGO Live Global Gala Champion TracTrac

In 2023, the case of broadcaster TracTrac at Bigo Live’s gala event became a testament to the ineffectiveness of the 20% rule. TracTrac secured over 45 million beans (~$214,285 USD) in a single day, primarily from international viewers. This record setting achievement underscored that the rule did little to close the loopholes it aimed to address, as users continue to find new ways to circumvent these restrictions. Meanwhile, legitimate international fan favorites are still penalized.

Enhanced Strategies to Address the 20% Rule

  1. Robust Verification for International Transactions: Bigo Live could implement more stringent verification processes for international transactions, ensuring authenticity without the need for a blanket restriction.
  2. Adaptive Fraud Detection Systems: Utilizing state-of-the-art algorithms and monitoring systems to dynamically detect and adapt to new patterns of fraud in international transactions could be a more effective approach.
  3. Credibility-Based Tiered Limits: Introducing a tiered system where broadcasters with a consistent track record of legitimate international interactions are allowed a higher percentage of earnings from these sources.
  4. Ongoing Policy Review and Integration of Broadcaster Feedback: Regularly updating the policy based on detailed broadcaster feedback and comprehensive market analysis can ensure its effectiveness and fairness.
  5. Incentives for Global Engagement: Establishing programs that reward broadcasters for successfully engaging with an international audience could encourage a more diverse and global approach to content creation.

Bigo’s Narrow International Focus and Its Implications

The platform’s restrictive approach extends beyond its bean policy. For instance, the process of becoming an official host through RsquaredTalent.com is limited to applicants from the U.S. and Canada. This limitation not only undermines the platform’s potential for global reach but also overlooks a wealth of diverse talent and content from across the world.

Discriminatory Practices Against International Viewers

There are reports of broadcasters and administrators on Bigo Live systematically excluding viewers from countries like Nigeria, Vietnam, and the Middle East. This behavior, influenced partly by the reduced value of contributions from these regions under the 20% rule, not only diminishes global engagement but also contributes to perpetuating negative stereotypes. Such practices can exacerbate the already challenging perceptions of America internationally.

Conclusion: Embracing a More Inclusive and Equitable Approach

In conclusion, Bigo Live’s 20% rule, ostensibly designed to counter fraud, has inadvertently created barriers to global content creation and engagement. The platform now faces the challenge of balancing its fraud prevention efforts with the need to foster an inclusive and globally engaged community. This involves rethinking restrictive policies, embracing international talent, and promoting practices that welcome and value contributions from all around the world. Such steps are crucial for Bigo Live to maintain its standing as a diverse and globally inclusive live streaming platform.

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