In the evolving landscape of social media platforms, Discord has emerged as a unique and vibrant community-driven chat app. With its open API and developer-friendly ecosystem, Discord has fostered the growth of a vast array of third-party apps, ranging from mini-games to moderation bots. Now, Discord is taking a bold step in the opposite direction of other platforms by enabling developers to monetize their apps and allowing server owners to create new revenue streams. In this article, we will explore Discord’s recent expansion of its monetization features, the benefits it offers to developers and server owners, and the potential impact on the Discord community.
Discord’s Developer Monetization Program
Discord has always been known for its open API, which has allowed developers to create a wide range of apps that enhance the Discord experience. However, until recently, developers had limited options to monetize their creations. That has changed with Discord’s introduction of a centralized hub where developers can sell their apps directly to Discord users. Initially available to U.S. developers, this program has now expanded to include developers in the U.K. and Europe. Developers who participate in this program earn a 70% cut of sales, with the remaining 30% going towards Discord’s platform fees.
According to Discord, the platform currently hosts over 750,000 third-party apps, which are used by more than 45 million people each month. This vast user base presents a significant opportunity for developers to reach a large audience and generate revenue from their apps. While the current focus is on app subscriptions, Discord plans to introduce additional monetization options such as tipping and one-time purchases in the future.
To ensure the quality and integrity of the apps available on Discord, developers must meet certain requirements and adhere to Discord’s guidelines. Discord has a developer compliance team in place to proactively monitor the open API system for any potential issues or violations. This team plays a crucial role in maintaining user trust and safeguarding data privacy.
Server Subscriptions: Turning Servers into Storefronts
In addition to empowering developers, Discord is also providing new revenue opportunities for server owners. Discord has expanded its server subscription feature, which was previously available only to large servers, with tiered subscriptions and longer-term plans. This move effectively turns servers into storefronts, allowing server owners to monetize their communities and provide exclusive content to subscribers.
The first step in this monetization journey is the introduction of “media channels.” These channels, currently in beta, are designed to host subscriber-only content, such as exclusive memes and wallpapers. This feature enables creators, such as artists and illustrators, to offer additional perks to their subscribers. For example, an art creator can share subscriber-only illustrations, providing their loyal fans with exclusive content. This functionality is similar to what Patreon offers, but integrated directly into the Discord platform.
Discord’s monetization plans go beyond media channels. The platform is also introducing tier templates, which formalize subscription tiers with prices set by Discord. These tier templates, with options like $3.99, $4.99, $7.99, and $9.99, offer server owners a convenient way to structure their subscription offerings. Server owners will also have the ability to sell one-time purchasable digital products or subscriptions, known as downloadables. These downloadables will be accessed through server shops, which serve as a centralized marketplace for server owners to sell server subscriptions, downloadables, and premium roles.
The Impact on Discord’s Community
While Discord’s monetization efforts present exciting opportunities for developers and server owners, they also raise questions about the potential impact on the Discord community. Some users expressed concerns about the introduction of paywalls and the shift towards a more commercialized environment. Discord, which has always been known for its user-friendly and community-oriented focus, risks losing the sense of authenticity that attracted many users in the first place.
As Discord expands its monetization features, it is essential for the platform to strike a delicate balance between providing revenue opportunities and maintaining a welcoming atmosphere. One potential challenge is the potential abuse of paywalls by server owners. Discord acknowledges this concern and emphasizes that it does not plan to police what server owners charge for their offerings. Instead, Discord hopes that server owners will use the new tools wisely and not turn the platform into a “get-rich-quick scheme.”
To address some of these concerns, Discord is also taking steps to enhance user safety. The company has introduced a Teen Safety Assist initiative, which includes safety alerts and sensitive content filters. When a teen receives a direct message from someone for the first time, Discord may send a safety alert to the teen, prompting them to consider whether they want to engage with that person. Discord also automatically blurs potentially sensitive media in direct messages, ensuring that users have the choice to view the content or not. These safety measures aim to create a safer environment for teens on the platform.
Discord’s decision to expand its monetization features marks a significant milestone in the platform’s evolution. By providing developers and server owners with new revenue opportunities, Discord aims to support the growth of its ecosystem and empower creators. However, this shift towards monetization also brings challenges, as Discord must navigate the fine line between commercialization and maintaining a vibrant and welcoming community.
With its open API and developer-friendly approach, Discord has the potential to revolutionize how developers monetize their creations and how server owners monetize their communities. As Discord continues to refine its monetization tools and address user concerns, it is crucial for the platform to prioritize user experience and community engagement. By striking the right balance, Discord can ensure a sustainable and thriving ecosystem where developers, server owners, and users can all benefit.
Overall, Discord’s expansion of its monetization features presents exciting opportunities for creators while raising important questions about the future direction of the platform. As Discord continues to iterate and refine its approach, it will be fascinating to see how the community adapts and thrives in this new era of monetization.