Want More Engagement? Need Crowdsourcing? Hold Your Users Hostages!

Check this out. I was browsing for an antonym for "Grand" for an upcoming blogpost. Yeah, I know I'm a nerd when it comes to using words. I look for synonyms and antonyms a lot. Gotta spice up the writing ya know? So I found this site which I've used before, it had the word I was looking for and hopefully I'd find the antonym I needed.

But the antonym wasn't displayed up on top. I quickly glanced up and down the page looking for it and wondering what the hell did I miss? -- I didn't miss anything except this large notice...

Hold visitor hostage with crowd-sourced surveys or social shares.
Hold visitor hostage with crowd-sourced surveys or social shares.

The highlighted parts are what I'm calling attention to: "Answer a question to continue reading this page" OR "Share the page you're reading:" -- Seems like someone is holding someone hostage don't ya think?

So next time you're wondering how to force your visitors into sharing your content, try one of these tricks. I can't tell if this actually works; personally I feel a bit peeved about it. Some people would probably not mind sharing the page or answering a simple question before seeing the rest of the content.

Some people may actually prefer to do this instead of paying a monthly fee or per article fee. Sometimes you see scientific papers or financial reports hidden behind a pay wall. This could be an alternative if you're willing to give up a small stream of revenue in exchange for social proof.

What's clever about this example is that instead of the social sharing options, you can instead answer a survey. Presumably this survey is paid for by a company and instead of generating revenue it finds answers, but if you're the site owner, I can imagine that with enough traffic, you could sell this type of service.