[Discussion] On Content, Character and Quality (Marketing DAO)


  • Two types of applicants: ‘Influencers’ (individuals w body of work and audience) & Professional Entities
  • Influencers output is unique and authentic;
  • Professional Entities output should match industry standards
  • Apply appropriate standards when assessing Metrics whether the applicant is an ‘Influencer’ or a Professional Entity

Intro: how to assess applications?

The objective when I joined Marketing DAO almost a year ago was very simple: to use Community Funds to issue grants to individuals or projects that could drive growth to the ecosystem as a whole.

One of the few frameworks passed down to us, and kept deliberately broad, was that of funding Passion Projects. Since we’ve expanded the broad principles such as ‘how does this get us closer to 1 Billion users on NEAR’?

It has taken many months to continue to distill what our funding principles are. With each new applicant, Marketing Council is presented with a new set of complex circumstances: some relating to the proposal itself and the rest having to do with the broader ecosystem (current priorities, market sentiment, community feedback, among others).

If you read through many of my comments the proposals that I’ve assessed over the last few months, you’ll see that I often go into a fair bit of detail to note my reasoning and things that influenced my decision.

Today, I’m taking to the forum to share on some reflections that I’ve had, prompted from a series of recent applications and drawing from the experience of all the preceded them.

Content, Quality and Metrics

The Passion Project framing has some shortcomings, namely, it doesn’t cater for professional service providers such as marketing agencies.

The Problem
When measured against what a traditional marketing agency would be expected to deliver for the sums we are awarding, on average, we are overpaying and (some) teams are underdelivering.

Since March, at about the time our two expert marketers (@so608 and @Klint) we started to be more critical of applications: first getting rid of all the projects that were underperforming (we also started communicating with Creatives DAO as most of these teams were double dipping). Then we increasingly started to apply some ‘professional’ standard to the metrics that were expected of these teams.

It has recently become clear to me that perhaps, in some cases, we’ve been over indexing the metrics and professional standards. How can this be? And how can we course correct without departing from our strict approach to quality?

The Operator Origins Framework (OOF)

I’d like to present a framework that may help us more easily categorise each applicant and their content going forward. This is all based on my observations and is open for (constructive) discussion;

There are two types of applicants: Influencers and Professional Entities.

We’ll cover each in detail.


Influencers is a broad term that captures mostly individuals, although it could well capture projects in some circumstances. The characteristics of an ‘Influencer’ would be that:

  • Content is unique and authentic;
    – Content is considered unique and authentic when it is inextricably infused with the person (or the brand they embody) personality, knowledge, or other attributes that is unique to that person and can not be easily replicated.
  • The value of their work accrues to them as individuals. This usually manifests itself in the form of an ‘audience’
    – The presence of an Audience is also an indicator that the person has been producing content on a consistent basis, usually without expectation of remuneration. This is the normal test for ‘Passion Project’
  • The presence of the person on the NEAR ecosystem is a net positive: the work that they do adds value to others in meaningful ways. While this is a subjective test, if you have to try hard to ascertain whether the work meets the standard, the answer is probably no.
    – Examples of ‘Influencers’ on NEAR would be Matt Lockyer, David Morrison, NEAR Big Brain, Rim (I’ve deliberately named members who are not applicants to M DAO. There are many more that would this standard with a lot more in the making).

Final note is that while authenticity can’t be copied, it can be bought. The value lost to the NEAR ecosystem if the Influencer were to leave would be much greater than the cost of rewarding them fairly for their output (when reasonable). Other ecosystems are constantly trying to poach our talent.

Professional Entities

By contrast we have Professional Entities. The use of the word ‘Entities’ is deliberate as to encompass Projects, Agencies, or individuals who act in a personal capacity.

  • Projects refers to a Startup or a dApp. If you want your project to be successful, you must operate at a certain standard. If you don’t have a Marketing Team, outsource to professionals. Projects should be grateful of and resourceful with the free money (no equity taken) available to them and be resourceful. Not fair on the community to piss away community funds on poor marketing campaign that don’t move the needle.
  • It goes without saying that if you portray yourself to be a Professional Agency, you are going to be held by those standards. It is not fair on the community to pay market rates for services that do not meet expectations. To put it differently, Marketing DAO would be best served inviting any other professional marketing agency, paying similar rates, but receiving much better results.
  • Same as above but for individuals.

There are several things that would characterise a professional service provider:

  • They are able to render services to any third party (even if it is in an area outside of their expertise), specially if someone is willing to pay premium rates. This creates a clear conflict of interest as the service provider is incentivised to take the job, regardless of ability to perform, and the project requesting their services doesn’t care how much they charge because Community Fund pays the bill. This is a tragic recipe for more and more applicants charging more money and delivering poorer results over time.
  • Content tends to play to their strengths: quality of audiovisuals, planning of schedule, monitoring analytics, targeting and retargeting, etc. (cf. original and authentic message).
  • Value should accrue to the projects they are providing services AND to the NEAR ecosystem as a whole.
  • While their services may be differentiated in some ways, they can be replaced by other professional entities that can provide similar services. I actually encourage and welcome more professional marketers to help us grow the ecosystem.

Managing Expectations and Metrics

The uniform application of Metrics expectations to all applicants, without distinguishing who they are using the framework provided above, leads to an unfortunate place: high quality applicants that are active within the community, delivering content and experiences that create real value are not able to access funding as they don’t speak marketing lingo while other professional service providers may be able to get funding by ticking all the boxes (whether the resulting content is good or not is beyond this post)

Worse, it is possible that in an attempt to fit into arbitrary list of requirements and stringent metrics we may actually end up stifling the Influencer and driving them to create substandard content. This highlights the nature of authentic and creative work; you can’t really plan what you are going t tweet when, but your presence in twitter is consistently good, etc.

Things that an Influencer is NOT

We’ve highlighted value and audience accruing to the Influencer, namely, they must be undeniable.

If we were to accept a framework that enables a lot of flexibility around Metrics for ‘Influencers’ then we must also be clear and who it does not cover or when does it apply to people:

  • This framework does not cover anyone that assigns themselves the label of a creative. If your creative output is reaching a small audience or this audience is unrelated to the NEAR ecosystem, then it is too early for you to seek funding.
  • This framework does not apply to people with poor performance seeking to bypass traditional Metrics as an assessment of the quality of your work. Sometimes you are early and growing, sometimes the content is just not good enough.
  • Following on the above, it is not possible to tell what the required size for an audience is. This metric is seen in context with content, etc. We love being able to support small quality players become huge, yet must be mindful of when it is appropriate to disburse community funding.


Common sense and critical thinking. I invite everyone to drop your thoughts here. (On keeping things civilised: dissent is welcomed. We can agree to disagree, posting increasingly aggressive messages will not dissuade anyone to change their mind).

I’d encourage other Marketing DAO Councils to consider this framework when assessing applications and to remain flexible as to allow for active and committed community members to continue to rise while deterring bad actors.


Hey AVB @satojandro

While I think this makes a lot of sense as a frame work for Marketing Dao awards/support going forward…I’d just like to point out that there is a gap in between NF, Creatives & Marketing Dao for individual creatives that this would firm up further

Appreciate that all verticals are going to be reviewed post-NEARCon…so we will see some changes…but as it stands…you/one cannot apply for funding from Creatives unless you are a DAO/community…previously a guild/DAO…

So…if solo “creatives” cannot apply to marketing dao - as outlined above - then that leaves only NF - or maybe Human Guild - altho the latter is mainly game-centric.

NF appears to be concerned mainly with projects building on NEAR…with large scale ambitions…

All of which makes perfect sense:

  • NF should be focussed on projects building on NEAR that can make a needle-pointing difference to the protocol/ecosystem
  • marketing dao should be looking to secure the best [measurable] bang for the buck…and your influencoor/entities duality looks a sensible way to start sorting the applications
  • gaming should be a priority…near may well be “the gaming chain”…(who said that? :wink:)

However…with creatives supporting communities/dao’s only…it would appear that the door is perhaps closed for solo creatives across the ecosysytem who might be looking to build something bigger than their own work…with a wider benefit to the NEAR community

(Maybe that’s right too…)

The community working group discussions will obviously have ramifications for the status quo…but in the meantime…maybe there could be a workaround in your outline for the clunky role of a “solo influencer-creative” ?.. :upside_down_face:

anyway…just something to consider :+1:


Great coverage and detail here @satojandro. I’ll cover some additional aspects of setting clear verticals and segmentation to add and give my take on where you’re going.


@satojandro just wanted to make a quick comment to say that I appreciate your post and you make some good points regards the differentiation of the individual versus professional scope of funding requests.

@zeitwarp I hear your concerns regarding funding for Creatives and believe that we will find ways as a community to ensure that solo projects that bring clear value to the ecosystem will continue to be supported.


How can this be? And how can we course correct without departing from our strict approach to quality?

This is very critical point to be taken care of…

As far as projects are concerned: during their first marketing grant of these projects, the situation can be judged with their well defined explanation with proper breakdown of funds and how these funds will be used in order to build identity of project and near protocol, and what they are expecting from the campaign and marketing efforts… (During first time it is important to fund only for a month, even if team apply for multiple months)

During second grant; the council should verify the deliverables, efforts, quality and campaigns of the team to market… If the efforts and performance are worth to be noticed then council could consider moving forward with the second grant…
[Quality and efforts should be the first priority that council should look for]

I have some more thought: would definitely drop in here soon after researching a bit :handshake:

Thank you

Thank you @satojandro for putting together your thoughts in this post!

I do consider the creation of NDC is a fantastic opportunity to finally put NEAR front and forward not only in the blockchain world but also to the non crypto-initiated.

And there are absolutely no reasons why NEAR couldn’t achieve that goal, especially with a 100M $NEAR “war chest” available.

However I think it is important to set the picture frame right and go beyond the dichotomy Influencers vs. Professional Marketers.

Any organization, decentralized or not, needs a proper structure and framework in order to be able to stand and move forward.

Who, What & How Framework
Marketing is made to articulate and structure the answers the Who , What and How questions.

My interpretation/translation of What is required to make NEAR the best ecosystem in the world as per the NEAR Foundation’s vision (What the NEAR Foundation Does – NEAR Protocol), is that we need to be able to provide the best experience when we:

  • On-board, engage & retain founders
  • On-board, engage & retain developers
  • On-board, engage & retain users
  • On-board, engage & retain businesses and institutions

From that we have also the Who clearly identified. Nothing new under the sun many will say, and they will be very right. But I do believe it is necessary to remind even the most obvious things that we tend to forget/ignore.

The How is the raison-d’être of this newly formed NDC, and definitely the trickier part…

Before jumping in the details f the how, as highlighted in the NDC discord server a few days ago (Discord), we need to realize/integrate that Marketing is 2-fold:

1. External (On-board & Engage)

2. Internal (Engage & Retain)

Otherwise we won’t stop spinning around in our hamster wheel and we won’t cut short to our Dorian Gray Syndrome!!

High Level Overview of Required Operations
Quickly looking at the How of the external and internal dimension of marketing I would lay down the following first high level operations:

1. External (On-board & Engage)
1.1 Brand awareness / PR
1.2 Lead Generation (founders, developers, users, businesses & institutions)
1.3 Trigger Biz dev / partnership opportunities

2. Internal (Engage & Retain)
2.1 Global Activation & Engagement of new leads
2.2 Activation & Engagement of existing communities
2.3 Support and Promotion of new projects launching on NEAR

Additionally a discussion in order to define whether each operation will be “ online” or “online & offline” must happen, considering the impact this has on the nature of each operation and the way they are driven and evaluated.

Each activity should also have clear KPIs , or at least a clear process, establishing them in a SMART way (Which SMART Objectives Definition Should I Use? | Clear Review):

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Bound

Without such measurement, any activity pursued will become a battle royale where only the most vocal or best connected will win… Especially if there is a grant at stake…

Important Transversal Operations
Finally some activities will be transversal to both the External and Internal elements described previously. NEARCON is definitely on of these.

Nonetheless, other very important transversal operation that must absolutely be implemented are:

  • Grants & Funding
  • Customer/User Experience (sorry for the corporate name, feel free to rename it. But hopefully this way everybody gets what I am talking about)

Without a transversal “Grants & Funding” mechanism ruled by clear criteria serving both external and internal marketing purposes, the allocation of the funds will remain chaotic, subjective and a source of dissension.

Without a “User Experience” team we won’t be able to collect/gather, analyze and understand why some project initially attracted by NEAR left or why some persons are very unhappy and outspoken about certain things.

IMHIO only a professional marketer, such as @Klint and @so608, would have the experience and skills to embrace such a challenging project with so many moving parts (welcome to decentralization!).

However, as discussed by @satojandro, we need to find a way to not kill the embryos in the egg of creativity. We need to figure out a constructive way to foster (useful/impactful) creativity and work hand-in-hand with all the parties willing to contribute to the growth of NEAR as an ecosystem .

Nevertheless, even though in many aspects marketing is (or should) always somehow be experimenting with new things, I am still convinced that as much as possible there should be metrics involved, even if it is just one.

Looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts!


Thanks for a great and detailed post @satojandro. It sure is a tough balance to strike. I’ve never even considered funding as an individual I believe in a work first and get recognized approach like any job before assessing own value let alone expecting someone else to do it. But I see how the system is designed to need this.

This might be a bit backwards but It seems to me from what I’ve read about the past is some people chase the money first simple because they can apply for it.

Perhaps the foundation could save little of such funding and instead use it to reward good work, active people they deem of value who contribute first with no implied motive other than passion. Even if a monetary reward wasn’t given, the acknowledgement alone would serve some purpose and perhaps work as a lead in to get funding?

Perhaps this kind of selection process used along side the grant system could breed a culture message that NEAR pays attention and rewards such behavior in the community encouraging others to adopt this attitude and oh course in doing so, such individuals would be easier to elevate and approve later if the foundation reached out to them and guided / supported them based on they commitment and consistency within the community.


Definitely a Gen X! :wink:

Thanks so much for dropping by and adding your perspective as an active community members, creator, and potential grant candidate.

I agree this is the way to go, and broadly, this is the original framework for Passion Projects and now would also be covered by the Be Undeniable approach.

The question may be less ‘how or when’ are the funds allocated (we seem very much aligned there) but who is the right entity to disburse those funds. To put it bluntly, Foundation Grants are there for projects with potential to bring in 10,000+ users. Hence why we have Community Funding verticals such as Marketing DAO and we have much more flexibility to structure things in more ways as long as we achieve our broad goals.

Perhaps having an open invitation, creating a self-selecting bias (people never know when they are good enough to apply) may not be optimal for individuals and we can look into creating more specific tracks that are easier to manage and attract people. Think of something like ‘Best Presence on Twitter’ category and we could distribute rewards based on performance to those community players making a difference there.

This needs more work but I like the idea.


Sounds interesting… this is a great community tbh :clap:

This makes sense. Bringing users should always the be focus for both parties.

Agreed, I like it, we have a great community in any case, but I do think these kinds of interactions would have a very positive impact.