Hardfork number 21 of the Steem blockchain is quickly approaching, and, in addition to the code changes to the blockchain rules, it has also brought about a community-based movement to improve the platform.
The updates to the Steem blockchain code will merely provide additional tools and incentives for change, but it's up to us - the community and the stakeholders - to utilize those tools and incentives to make that change happen.
Since vote selling services (also known as "bidbots") are at the forefront of these changes, we feel that we have not only an opportunity, but a responsibility to ensure that the vote selling services listed on the steembottracker.com website are working to support the goals of the #newsteem movement rather than to hinder them.
Old Steem vs New Steem
In "old steem", vote selling services are primarily used by people who make the bare minimum "shitpost" and profit from it by purchasing votes that pay out more than they cost. In #newsteem, we want to see vote selling services used by legitimate content producers, brands, and business who want to advertise on the Steem platform. We want to see the profit from vote buying come from the increased visibility and exposure of the content rather than from the vote value itself.
Stopping the "old steem" use for vote buying is actually very simple - if buying votes is not directly profitable (i.e. you cannot purchase a vote worth more than you paid for it) - then the practice of purchasing votes for "shitposts" will stop almost immediately, and the only time it will make sense to buy a vote will be for those who actually value the added visibility and promotion the vote provides.
Luckily, HF21 will provide us with a new tool to implement this change - the downvote pool. Soon the vote selling services that have only been using their large pool of voting power for upvotes, will be able to start using some of their power to downvote without sacrificing their profits.
Going forward we will expect all of the vote selling services listed on the Steem Bot Tracker website to utilize their new downvoting power to help put a stop to the practice of vote buying for the sake of directly profiting from the vote itself.
How You Can Help
Even if you don't operate or utilize vote selling services, you can help bring about this change too! While stopping the "old steem" practice of vote buying might be pretty easy, getting enough people to buy votes for the right reasons will still be a challenge. If we can't meet that challenge then we'll eventually slip right back into the "old steem" way of doing things.
This is where you come in. Steem is currently comprised of a relatively small but very engaged and very targetted audience. There are tons of companies, brands, and content publishers out there that should want to reach the Steem audience - we just have to show them that we're here and that all they need to do to get our attention is to buy a bunch of STEEM or otherwise support the platform.
Steem Bot Tracker
Getting back on track a bit, the main point of this post was to say that after HF21, @aggroed and I will be expecting all of the vote selling services listed on the Steem Bot Tracker website to use both their upvote and downvote power responsibly and in a way that furthers the goals of the hard fork changes and the #newsteem movement.
We hope that the various services that are involved will see this as an opportunity to work together to improve things for all of us.