Grant Update Marketing Committee Grant 001 - Grant Update Thread

As a sponsor my role is to Audit this grant as an independent third party. I will be comparing the grant application with the results of the grant, and in the end assess whether the grant has delivered as outlined to the community. December 4th I attended a pre-grant-payout committee meeting as a «fly on the wall» to make observations and assessments.

This is a 3 month grant. The grant is divided into four activities, each with clear objectives and measurable success criteria. The activities include:
  • Monitoring social media
  • Monitoring social media and the FactomProtocol website
  • Paid traffic for the FactomProtocol website
  • Curation of a contact list within media
The initial grant application was for 10.000 Factoids. Due to the highly competitive grant application round, the grant application was halved to 5.000 Factoids. This was achieved by cutting the duration of the main expense, paid traffic to the website, to one month. In addition, the Factoid-price was adjusted from $3,50 to $3,75 for budgeting purposes.
In todays market, the price is roughly 4 times higher than budget. The grant was awarded for 5.000 Factoids regardless, but when operating with agencies in Fiat-space, I would expect either a high(er) quality or longer duration delivery from this grant.
The committee discussed how to responsibly liquidate the grant in order to get the most out of it.

December 5th is milestone 1: «Before payout of grant». Following is a list of tasks to be completed by this milestone:

  1. Engage digital marketing company and agree on terms + set up social media accounts for FactomProtocol.
  2. Engage with Factom developers to find out what info they would look for on the website.
  3. Engage with Factom developers to find out where the best advertising targets are online (frequented websites, hangouts, etc).
  4. Engage with enterprise ANOs to ascertain what information they would look for on the website.
Points 2 and 4 were indeed discussed within the mentioned meeting, and recently the committee has invited more entities to engage with the Enterprise Information section. I tried to get a statement from the committee regarding progress of the remaining points, but have had no feedback so far.

First impressions
  • The Marketing committee seems very well structured and governed, under the leadership of Ben J.
  • The market situation should allow a lot of flexibility moving foward
  • Goals are realistic and objectively measurable
  • A topic during the meeting was committee members' activity level, indicating that it has been an issue. The topic was addressed.
  • There is a lingering «rebranding ghost» that has a potential to complicate matters for this grant.

Next update
Milestone 2 is in a month from now, the beginning of 2019. A new post in this thread will be made at that time.
Grant Update
We should take a moment to remind ourselves of the original grant proposal goals, originally spanning over a period of 3 months:
  1. Produce a monthly report of actions taken for the community
  2. Produce a monthly report on social media accounts
  3. Paid Traffic for FactomProtocol Website
    a) Engage a digital marketing company to manage paid channels
    b) Manage paid channel spend to ensure spending keeps within budget
    c) Create paid visits to the FactomProtocol website
  1. Curation of Contacts List within Media space
    a) Produce a list of 100 media contacts
    b) Produce a media pack
    c) Produce a branding pack
The grant was paid out early December 2018. The following updates have been given:

Jan. 9 update
Feb. 8 update
Feb. 24 update/discussion
Mar. 3 update
Mar. 12 end of paid campaign update

After reviewing these updates, these reports mostly satisfy goal (1) of the original grant proposals. I have not seen any reports provided to the community on social media, goal (2). I do have confirmation that this is indeed being tracked through screenshots. The Committee can provide more information on request.

A marketing company has been engaged (Growth Fixer), goal (3a).

Goal (3b) is to maintain a CPC below $7.05. “End of campaign” reports a CPC of €0.13.

Goal (3c) is 2000 paid visits. With 70% of the funds still being unspent, the committee reports 23.900 clicks. This is a significant over-achievement compared to what was proposed.

Now, I’m no expert in marketing. Perhaps other entities are able to provide even more clicks for their money, however, as a community we accepted this grant proposal without questioning their CPC budget. As a sponsor, I am forced to objectively compare grant proposal goals with deliveries. The only conclusion is that the paid campaign has been successful.

Goal (4a) is complete.
Goal (4b and 4c) are merged into a single pack, but is not yet finished. It is still underway, and the committee reached out today (once again) to collect necessary information from ANOs.

The biggest concern is the difference between the proposed timeline in the grant proposal and what has been delivered. Goal 3 was to be ended in February. We are now mid March. Goal 4 was to produce media pack and branding pack within one month of grant payout. We are now 4 months into the grant.

Transition Update
Ben is leaving the marketing committee and ultimately Factom entirely. Ben is motivated to do a successful and reasonable transition, and has paused all committee spendings until the matter is resolved. All remaining funds will be transferred to the new chair.

Financial Update
After grant payout to the disclosed FCT address (FA3KhPnfjM8M8cXNvHZGpLMweEzq9irUzVjhRzyXeKayg1Yc1Yzr), the full amount of the grant was transferred to a cryptocurrency exchange. This makes it less transparent and more difficult to track funds, as transactions are not reflected on the blockchain, but only in the internal exchange database.

An export from Ben’s exchange has been disclosed and I’ve done my best to audit the trail.

According to Ben, the following payouts have been made:
(Rough USD estimation by me)
  • Google (€3070, ~$3.471)
  • Hootsuite (£1425, ~$1.881)
  • Growth Fixer ($1.500)
  • Total: $6.852
Remaining funds:
  • 700 FCT ($4.627)
  • 1.1 BTC ($4.292)
  • €12,353.72 ($13.933)
  • Total: $22.852
Current total USD value of funds spent and funds held is $29.704. This suggests an average FCT sale price of $5,94. Factoid liquidation history (FCT-BTC) shows an average sale price of $7.8. The discrepancy is explained mostly by taxes (5/6th of the liquidation amount is “available for spending” due to UK tax laws), in addition to withdrawal fees and the unstable nature of the number of currency conversions involved. I consider this within acceptable margin of error. From what has been disclosed, all Factoids have been accounted for.

Grant payout was for a total of 5.000 FCT, today’s value $33.050. The grant proposal original fiat budget was $18.750.

In summary, this grant is overfunded, has overdelivered on the goal that can be bought for money, but has not managed to deliver other goals within their proposed time budget. However, as long as the goals are delivered within a reasonable amount of time, this grant will produce material of very high value to the Factom Ecosystem and Community and as such should be worth waiting for. Rushing it for the sake of “ticking boxes” rather than “delivering good products” is not an advisable path of action.

Dealing with bureaucracy, I often question whether it’s more important to do things right (ie stick to the schedule and provide scheduled reports) or to do the right things (ie deliver good and working products). In my opinion, given the narrow scope of this grant, the manpower in the committee and the proposed timeline, the Marketing Committee should have been able to do both.

Another important aspect for the community to concider, is what happens next. Only 30% of the grant has been spent, but the grant is nearing it’s end in both deliveries and time. What is to be done with the remainder? Do we reward the recipient for completing a grant below budget, and allow them to keep it to spend at their discretion? Do we demand the remainder to be returned to the grant pool? Or, my personal favorite, do we task the committee to propose a supplementary grant to be accepted by the community, outside of existing grant rounds?