MENDHAM, NJ - I, Cheryl O’Brien, recently sat down with Livingston native, Michael Nusbaum to interview him about the creation of his new social media app, which will pay users for their content. The free app is called "Bonzo Me," and is available on iPhone and Android devices. Nusbaum of Mendham is a bariatric surgeon, father of three and app creator.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for the app, and what was the process like to get it started?
A: There are a couple of reasons. Firstly, I was actually upset about the fact that people post videos and advertisers make so much money off of it but the person who created the video does not receive anything for it. If you create a video, you should get something for it; you created it. The second reason was that I wanted to eliminate negative comments. With the app, you pick the questions and people answer them. Thirdly, with all of the commercials shown before the video, people are making money off of you as a consumer. I wanted to incentivize companies for putting the commercials up, and I wanted consumers to be paid for watching and promoting to their friends.
Q: How do you get the videos? Do you work with advertisers?
A: The videos mostly come from companies; there’s actually an advertiser’s portal. They put the commercial up on “Bonzo Me” and pick their target demographic and their budget. They select how much they want to pay. The budget gets divided by the number of people they want to reach. People who watch the video have an incentive to promote it.
Q: What kinds of videos make money?
A: The videos the consumer puts up make money once they get to a certain number of views and an advertiser latches onto it. The consumer makes 80 percent of the revenue and the app takes 20 percent commission. Essentially, the app is a vehicle to make money. Consumers make money by watching and promoting. If you invite friends to watch, you get paid for promoting.
Q: I understand the expanded version of the app was launched July 1. Do you plan on expanding the app further or making any significant changes to it in the future?
A: One of the issues with apps is adding on too many features, but we’ll be making some tweaks. The algorithm for what’s popular now will change based on what your friends and your Bonzo network are watching, or based on things that are local to you. For example, you can click on a local restaurant’s ad and receive a coupon. It will all be based on what is trending with your friends and what is trending nationally.
Q: Who is the target demographic for the app?
A: Originally, I thought it would be college students but that’s not the case right now. It makes sense for college kids who post a lot to begin with, but right now the demographic is across the board. In the future, we see college kids being the main demographic.
Q: Exactly how do users of the app get paid?
A: Right now it’s through PayPal. Once you have ten dollars in your account you can start withdrawing. We’re currently talking to Amazon to directly transfer funds to the user’s Amazon account with no fees for using that service. That is one of our goals.
Q: How do you plan to advertise for the app, and increase the number of advertisers on it?
A: We haven’t advertised yet, but in the fall when colleges open we may do some campaigns on college campuses.
Q: Do you plan on retiring from being a doctor and becoming an app creator full time?
A: No, I plan on doing both. Being a surgeon is very rewarding for me. I like changing people’s lives for the better.
Q: In terms of growth, what are some goals you have for the app to reach?
A: I would like to reach three million users before the end of the year and reach 30 million by the end of next year.
Q: Tell me about the medical app you developed in 2010.
A: The app is called MedXCom and works through patient-doctor communication. It is essentially how we communicate but under compliant rules so it is secure. You can share files and info but also do virtual house calls. I use it with my patients as well. Patients can take the app, put it up against their wound and I decide if I need to prescribe anything. It saves them a trip to the emergency room or doctor’s office. I can prescribe medication right from the app. Over 2,000 providers are using it, and over 20,000 patients.