Tsū (social network)

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Tsū new logo.png
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Social networking service
Available inEnglish
FoundedJuly 1, 2013
(6 years ago)
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, US
Area servedWorldwide
  • Sebastian Sobczak
  • Drew Ginsburg
  • Thibault Boullenger
Key peopleJohn Acunto
Johnny Dranchak
Alexa rankGlobal 4,256 (As of 11 November 2015).[2]
Written inRuby, Redis, and Cassandra

Tsū was an online social networking service launched October 21, 2014. Tsū was created by Evacuation Complete, LLC, a Texas corporation, which was founded on February 7, 2008 by Sebastian Sobczak.[3] Evacuation Complete's founder was Sebastian Sobczak who then partnered with cofounder Drew Ginsburg and Thibault Boullenger,[4] and the site was headquartered in New York City. Similar to Facebook in its incipient stages, Tsū was open by invitation only.[5] The website closed down in August 2016 but announced its revival in September 2019.


Beginning and features[edit]

Like Facebook, users were able to register an account, create a personal profile, add other users as friends, exchange messages, post status updates, photos, and receive notifications when others updated their profiles.[5] Tsū differentiated itself from its competitors by allowing its users to maintain ownership of their content's monetization.[6] Its planned compensation structure "was to keep 10 percent of the total ad revenue for itself, while half the remainder went to users and the other half to the network that brought the content creator to the platform."[7]

The inspiration for Tsū came from the story of Ed O'Bannon, the lead plaintiff in O'Bannon v. NCAA, an antitrust class action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association regarding the association's use of the images of former student athletes for commercial purposes.[8]


Unlike other social networking sites, Tsū paid its members a percentage of its ad revenue for posting and sharing content. This chance to earn money from social networking led to an early explosion of numbers joining the site.[9] Though usage of the site was free, the membership structure was invite-only, akin to how startup social networks are formed, where initial members invite friends and colleagues. Similar to YouTube, the payout threshold was $100.[10] Members were encouraged to donate their earnings to a number of charities who set up profiles on the service.[11]

In the months after initial launch, Tsū became one of the fastest-growing social networks, achieving 3.5 million registered users in its first 6 months of public existence and registering 4.5 million users by its first anniversary.[12] By comparison, Facebook registered its one-millionth user in month 10 after launch, and it took Twitter approximately 24 months to register its one-millionth user.[13] Estimates from outside sources, however, counted only 1.5 million downloads on iOS and Android throughout the company's entire lifespan – not active users, although users could also access the service from the web.[7]

In October 2015, roughly one year after its public launch, Tsū won Make-A-Wish Foundation's Media Partner of the Year award, ahead of publicly held companies such as Disney and Univision, which were both past winners.[14]

Decline and shutdown[edit]

In September 2015, Facebook blocked links to the site,[15] citing complaints that Tsū members were spamming to recruit members. Tsū and much of the digital media community speculated this was motivated by fear of competition.[16] For a short period, Facebook also blocked links to articles about the website. However, Facebook released statements that it had blocked Tsū for violating its Platform Policy, which prohibits other services that integrate with Facebook from incentivizing content sharing.[17] After receiving widespread backlash from digital media companies and executives, including the likes of Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore, Facebook lifted the prohibition by December.[18][19][20]

Although membership grew explosively on launch, it did not last. Both members and outside sources speculated that this decline occurred because too many members joined to make money rather than for the social network, and membership declined swiftly when earnings did not live up to expectations.[7][21] At its end, the company cited 5.2 million members, though external sources expressed some doubt.[7]

Tsū "went dark" on August 2, 2016, its front page being replaced with a message from Sobczak stating that "our mission of changing the social landscape for the benefit of the content has passed" and that users would have until August 31 to download their content.[22] Further statements included: “…We have permanently taken the Tsū product offline due to the cost associated with running it and our inability to complete the last funding round,” writes Tsū’s founder Sebastian Sobczak. “We are now focused on retooling in order to launch alternative apps for our community and others.”[7]


In September 2019, Tsū announced its relaunch with John Acunto as CEO and investments from Larry Krauss of Terracap and Hilco Streambank. The platform announced that it will now be hosted at tsu.social rather than tsu.co as it was prior to 2016.[23][24] On October 1, 2019 former CTO of The Wall Street Journal and General Electric's App Studio Johnny Dranchak joined the organization’s technology team as Chief Technology Officer.[25]


  1. ^ Tsū. "Former CTO of The Wall Street Journal and General Electric's App Studio Joins Tsū as the Social Media Platform Prepares for Relaunch". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "Tsu.co Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  3. ^ "Evacuation Complete LLC DALLAS, TX Wysk Company Profile". wysk.com. Archived from the original on October 17, 2014.
  4. ^ "tsū". angel.co.
  5. ^ a b "tsū". tsu.co.
  6. ^ "Exclusive: Tsū Launches as First Social & Payment Platform Where Users Own Their Content". Billboard.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Spammy social network Tsu shuts down – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  8. ^ The Social Network That Pays You to Friend, Opinion Pages, The New York Times
  9. ^ "New Social Network Tsu Shares Ad Revenue with Content Creators". zdnet. October 22, 2014.
  10. ^ "YouTube partner earnings overview - YouTube Help". support.google.com. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  11. ^ "Social Network tsu Experiences Record User Growth, Launches Payment and Donation Feature | Business Wire". www.businesswire.com. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  12. ^ Writer, David Fagin; musician; Snob, Food (October 21, 2015). "So, Tsu Me: Why Facebook Is Terrified of This Virtually Unknown Competitor and What It Could Mean For the Future of the Internet". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  13. ^ "Here's How Long It Took 15 Hot Startups To Get 1,000,000 Users". Business Insider. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  14. ^ "Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida, Inc.: Tsu is Media Partner of the Year". Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida, Inc. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  15. ^ "Facebook is censoring links to competitor social network Tsu and deleting old mentions". Boing Boing.
  16. ^ Jose Pagliery (November 5, 2015). "Facebook won't let you type this". CNNMoney.
  17. ^ "Facebook Is Blocking an Upstart Rival---But It's Complicated". WIRED. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  18. ^ Associated Press. "Unbanned: It's OK to Mention Tsu.co on Facebook Again". NBC News.
  19. ^ Eileen Brown. "Facebook restores 10 million posts from social media rival Tsu two months after ban". ZDNet.
  20. ^ "Pete Cashmore - Wow". Facebook. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  21. ^ scott@scottsery.com, Scott Sery, (August 2, 2016). "Tsu.co Closes Down - Scott Sery". Scott Sery. Retrieved June 26, 2018.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  22. ^ "Offline for Maintenance". Tsu. August 2, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  23. ^ Tsū. "Tsū, the Social Media Platform that Hooked Millions, Set to Relaunch". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  24. ^ "Hilco Streambank Announces Acquisition of Social Network Tsū". www.hilcostreambank.com. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  25. ^ Williams, Joe. "A former General Electric CTO shares the top reasons 'tech chief' will soon be the most vital job in a company's C-suite". Business Insider. Retrieved October 17, 2019.

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