Rather than making a meta post every time I have a thought about territories, I thought I would collect a few and make one post. Here goes:

My mistakes so far

I own three territories. Maybe (definitely) I bit off more than I can chew. It’s not easy to even approach the break even point financially. I went into this with an “if you build it, they will come” mentality, which might have been a bit short sighted (really dumb). After one month there are far fewer territories. Reality set in for many owners. That’s probably a good thing for Stacker News. I heard @Car and @K00b talking about the situation on SNL. Keyan thinks there will be a group of creative, hard working territory owners who will be successful. This of course depends on the fee structure and the overall growth of Stacker News. It also made me realize that I had to do a lot more hands on work to help my territories. That includes crafting posts, commenting, thinking up contests and promotions, marketing outside SN, and supporting stackers who use my territory. In short, it requires the energy and brain power to come up with ideas that will foster engagement and ultimately bring in enough sats. My hands off “let it happen” approach ain’t working yet. It is still early, and I’m committed to sticking around for a while, but I must start working harder.
It got me thinking about something else too.


To own a site you need a lot of sats. To be successful, you also need someone to do the hard work I mentioned above. There are probably plenty of stackers with great ideas, skills, prior work experience, and/or energy to put into a territory who simply can’t afford to do it themselves financially. What if there was a way to collaborate with a stacker who can afford to maintain the site by paying the rent? There could be some sort of reward split. If you look at a territory as a business, you can have sat equity and sweat equity investors. It also could be structured as an owner/manager situation, or independent contractor type arrangement, where the owner hires a manager to run the territory. I’m interested to know if anyone else thinks this is viable. It seems that it would be simple to implement. SN would just need to allow daily territory awards to be shared.

Sub Territories

This is a good idea, but it seems to me that it will be a long time before this makes sense, if ever. Most territories have enough problems staying afloat right now. Why would anyone be interested in paying for a sub? I can see an exception,where, for instance, someone wanted to create a sub territory in music dedicated to a particular band or something, which could become more popular than the territory itself. In that case, though, the sub owners might be inclined to create their own territory and collect all the revenue. I can’t imagine that the market value of any sub territory would be very high right now. It may be a simple fee splitting arrangement. In short, I have trouble envisioning how sub territories will be profitable.


I see two types of territories on SN: bitcoin related, and non-bitcoin related. Most bitcoin related territories may never need to do much marketing. In fact, some basically peeled off existing content and claimed it as their own. Examples include ~lightning, ~bitdevs, ~devs, ~fedimint, ~litdevs, ~mempool, and my ~bitcoin beginners.
Non-bitcoin related territories have a much more difficult path to success, and marketing is critical. The most obvious target audiences can be found on other sites and forums like reddit or single interest forums. For my ~DogsandCats territory, this is an urgent need. I don’t have those skills, and should probably partner up with someone who does if I take financial viability seriously. My purpose in starting this territory, beyond my love of dogs and cats, was sort of an experiment to see whether I could make a Stacker News territory a means to orange pill non bitcoiners and foster adoption. Profit is obviously secondary.

Pinned Posts

I know this is planned, but I have to repeat myself and mention it again. I really think this will help with building a territory’s identity and create incentives for stackers to write quality content. This can’t happen soon enough. Owners can reward the best posts by pinning them, where they will have exposure to "prime real estate" and hopefully earn more sats.
In my humble opinion, i think you could focus your energy on solidifying your territory identity first before marketing it via Nostr. What kind of vibes do you want it to evoke and what kind of community do you want to foster?
Let’s take ~booksandarticles as an example. I can see that someone has taken it as his platform for publishing his novel, chapter by chapter. (Kudos for him for being consistent!) But I don’t get a sense of much else happening. For better or for worse, I see it as an alternative to Weekend Book Recommendations. If I finish a book but can’t wait for the weekend to come by, I will just post my book review on your territory haha.
I think the post by @Fabs asking for our reading rituals are probably things that you need to build this identity. At some point in time, I post here not so much for the sats, perhaps more so for the cowboy hat, but most definitely for the detailed insights and commentaries by Stackers. I love reading long prose and observing how Stackers expound on their thoughts. More such posts on a regular/semi-regular basis would be welcomed.
I work as a teacher and in order to encourage reading in my school, we go by monthly themes. So January in my school is beginnings, and we explore books that explore starting a new school year, etc. Maybe you wouldn’t like the discussions to be that didactic but I think having some sort of structure will serve well to attract Stackers to post more n comment more n “let it happen”.
My 2 sats’ worth
Good advice. Definitely worth more than two sats. Thanks.
996 sats \ 2 replies \ @ek 15 Jan
I always think about this guy when I think about being a territory founder:
especially when it comes to these non-bitcoin related territories. ~crypto may be at a weird spot in between though.
Pinned Posts
I know this is planned, but I have to repeat myself and mention it again. I really think this will help with building a territory’s identity and create incentives for stackers to write quality content. This can’t happen soon enough. Owners can reward the best posts by pinning them, where they will have exposure to "prime real estate" and hopefully earn more sats.
Good point, sounds easy enough to do. I will look into it this week. I also want them sooner than later.
I love this video. I have watched it in other contexts. I was always jealous of that guy. It totally goes against my personality to be that exposed. Now I AM THAT GUY?
What a great connection! Tying the dancing guy to building a territory.
262 sats \ 2 replies \ @kr 15 Jan
any chance you’d be willing to sell your ~booksandarticles territory, @siggy47?
would be interested in purchasing it from you if you want to focus more time and attention on your other two.
Not right now, but thanks for the offer. I'm interested in giving it a go.
145 sats \ 0 replies \ @kr 15 Jan
fair enough, excited to watch it grow!
Great post. I was going to post something similar in the SN Foundry later this week. Similar in the vein of a post regarding "my thoughts on territories".
Agree with your first point. 3 territories unless you keep a hands off approach is a lot to manage. To make these territories successful in the long term will require a lot of effort on the front end. Sure, I can envision a time -years down the road- where SN has 10x the users and enough stackers naturally gravitating to each territory that you can take more of a hands off approach and focus more on moderating and serving your territorial community.
I actually think the user experience on SN has become a bit fractured due to territories. And I am not writing territories off as a failure. You know I was probably the biggest proponent of expanding the available subs on SN. But I think in the wild west phase we have gotten far too many territories to start and many power users are focused on their own territories (I am guilty as charged) rather than floating around, weaving in and out of posts, comment threads, having the great and random collisions that made SN so magical. I think this is solved by territory attrition. I think a number of territories will eventually go away or get combined with other territories and existing territories may just be sub territories within others.
I think the saloon needs to be the focal point of the SN experience. It is the town square and where we can replicate that early SN experience prior to territories and be the starting point of ones journey through this frontier town. Maybe the Saloon should be pinned at the top of the homepage regardless of what filter you use. I also agree that territories should have the ability to pin messages as well.
I have just started trying to promote Stacker Sports outside of SN. All I have done so far is create the Nostr account, post and share the contest from SN on nostr to try and attract potential participants to come over to SN and join. This is a work in progress as I am just starting to get a bit of engagement on Nostr and curating following/followers who are posting about sports. I really wanted to give Nostr the first crack at marketing the territory because ideologically I would prefer not to have to use Twitter or Reddit as a marketing funnel but I think I will eventually need to go that route. I am a bit torn. I don't need the territory to be financially successful but know if territories are going to be viable long term they should at least make a small profit, so I should be seeking the widest audience for potential SN converts on twitter and reddit.
I actually think all the Bitcoin related territories you referenced could fit as sub territories within bitcoin and maybe be a test of sub territories. While creating subs territories at this point might sound counter intuitive, it might actually help to limit the amount of main territories and make them more financially viable as one would imagine subs would be cheaper and pay a share of their rev to the main territory. Just a thought.
We are still learning to traverse a new frontier. It is going to take time.
I think the saloon needs to be the focal point of the SN experience.
I've come to a similar conclusion -- the Saloon is like nowhere else. It really is a different kind of thing. Now I'm wondering: what to do with that insight?
The closest to inspiration I have is this thing I use, LogSeq, which is a graph-style PKM tool. (Heads up, @Coyote_Cosmico, may interest you.) There's a lot of takes on bi-directional linking PKM tools, but LogSeq was one of the first to organize around the daily journal. It would take too long to explain this, but I think of the Saloon kind of like the daily journal, a way to provide an overarching but organic structure to the community. It already sort of does that, by accident. I'm wondering if it could do it even more.
But I think in the wild west phase we have gotten far too many territories to start and many power users are focused on their own territories (I am guilty as charged) rather than floating around, weaving in and out of posts, comment threads, having the great and random collisions that made SN so magical.
I haven't made good on this yet, but I got a territory for two reasons:
  1. to support SN, as a kind of donation
  2. to be a total dictator and use the SN tools to make my own little kingdom with stuff I think is awesome, and find my tribe, which overlaps somewhat w/ btc but is not identical to it
I think that even if a territory isn't revenue-generating, it could still be really nice as a product for the second case, for the same reasons SN is awesome: if you have real monetary incentives, you can solve a whole bunch of problems with social media, or even just media.
Inasmuch as we're still very early to btc, we're even earlier to SN and what it makes possible. So I'm not sweating these teething months at all.
I just read through this quickly. Unfortunately real life is getting in the way for the next few hours. It looks you've analyzed the situation in more depth than me. I look forward to reading it more closely.
Life tends to do that. It took me over an hour to write that because I am homeschooling my 5 year old today while my wife is at work. She is working on a phonics work book. Hopefully she doesn't read my SN writing. She might never learn phonics. Haha
The most obvious target audiences can be found on other sites and forums like reddit or single interest forums.
100% agree with this. But mostly these people are not bitcoiners. So the big question is why would non-bitcoiners come to SN?
  • Their community is elsewhere (whatever platform they are coming from)
  • There's the "foreign" feeling of a new place (looks different, you post in markdown, different norms/culture)
  • And then there's the potentially "scary" bitcoin element (many people hear bitcoin and think crypto and scams and just shut off)
So why would non-bitcoiners come here?
Obviously, the answer is you can earn some sats (and maybe also the stackers here are awesome people--but they don't know that yet).
But if the incentive is earning sats, you have to want sats. I think we are still at a point where this isn't a widespread desire.
So it seems you have two options:
  1. Try to find people on these other forums/reddit/the greater www who are already bitcoiners but don't yet use SN.
  2. Make it easier for non-bitcoiners to benefit from stacking sats without making them start at wanting sats.
I think number 1 is what most bitcoin companies are doing now: building products for people who already have a desire to use bitcoin.
Number 2 is not really in your control as a territory operator. But it's the really interesting solution and we should talk about it some time.
Excellent analysis. I had not taken it that far in my head.
I've been thinking about collaboration and sub-terrirories really as a means of collaboration.
Like, I have ~Photography and the most active poster does a lot of wallpapers, which could be it's own territory, but I think will work better as a sub. That individual has agreed to collab when the time comes. At the same time, I see other territories where people post photos and I think I wonder why they don't see that fitting into the ~Photography territory. That might just be jealousy.
You are absolutely correct about marketing being critical for non-bitcoin territories. I have recruited a few enthusiast photo posters from Nostr, which is cool. I need to develop creative awareness and invite marketing campaigns, but I'm not that motivated, yet. I also need to invite them with a referral link! 🤣
Sounds like you're way ahead of me. I have been lazy. I should mine nostr.
Natural fit audience for SN, right?!
236 sats \ 1 reply \ @quark 15 Jan
I really like the idea of the owner being able to pin posts in the territory. Maybe in order to avoid abuse and have pinned posts of a friend for months, the territory pinned posts would have an expiration date for the pinning.
Maybe selling pinned posts could be another option for financing the territory. But owner could always moderate and unpin if necessary.
Very good ideas. Thanks
Some really interesting points.
I think the collaboration comment is what shines through. I suspect the real reason people think they can’t run a territory is they can’t afford the sats, the reality is they would struggle to find the time….
A Venetian merchant agreement between the ship/territory investor and ship/territory captain? Much like the manager model you suggest but with each bringing different skills in partnership?
Great analogy. Yes. Good point about struggling to find the time. It's been tough for me lately as IRL gets in the way!
Life has a way of doing that… and when I look back on my day I think I could have squeezed some extra minutes in here-and-there…..but it’s not always the quantity of time that is in short supply but the quality.
Territory management, like mainstream social media work, must requires reputation, planning & engagement to be successful…ie quality time. I suspect some people have a nasty surprise that being an enthusiastic Bitcoiner is not enough to run a bad territory on SN anymore than liking viral dance videos makes you a TicToc’er.
There are few SNers with the necessary presence and persistence to make a territory work … I would consider you one. And by your own admission it involves work.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, but the proof will be in the pudding (old man expression). I am pretty sure I will need help/collaborators to be successful. Was that hint too subtle, book man?
‘Proof of the pudding’ always makes me think of my Aunts Christmas pudding… that was about 20% I think lol.
Always happy to help if I can… is that reply vague enough? Could do another ‘bitcoin-adjacent’ book review perhaps. Those who struggle to find the time to write should probably try and review at least…..
I'll take what I can get for now. Another book review would be great. That's the kind of content I envision for the territory.
Ok. I may have to stick to the classics for now (and books that have previously been mentioned in Weekend Recommendations that I personally know very well).
Let me go through my shelves….. if you feel the last format worked I’ll try that again.
I would like to publish my own stuff or review new BTC specific books…. one day.
Great plan. I hope you do post your own stuff eventually. One writer has been publishing a book chapter by chapter.
199 sats \ 0 replies \ @9 15 Jan
I think it goes to show how much work and vision @k00b has done with the SN protocol, before it was cool!
Daaamn sigs you been milking these over.
On collaboration, I think inter-territory collaboration is great, GR and myself have been working on ideas for collaborative posts, but the facility to crosspost effectively is a limiting factor.
Sub territories I really remain very torn on... I can see there benefits and uses in some cases and in others I think it'd be a hard sell. Using music as the example, it's a broad subject covering a range of topics. There's a territory for hip-hop. But that's music, surely that topic and it's posts (and it's revenue) should be in the Music Territory?? (Not really imo). Does the person who created the territory first (and manages to retain it) just automatically have the rights over everything that could be related to that topic? It's truly a difficult problem to solve. Using the example of a band, could you imagine if K-pop fans of black pink or BTS started generating income for me in music via a sub-territory? I'd probably be able to retire early, but it is their work and in a pow mindset, they've sewn the seeds, they get to eat the produce. I'm not entirely sure where I stand on sub-territories but I do think it needs to be handled very diplomatically.
As for marketing and promotions, you're right, well outside of my expertise but for any successful business you gotta have good PR and marketing. I mentioned before on a post that you need to be a CEO with a face, not some faceless entity. Engage with your "customers" because that's effectively what they are. You are providing a service, and in the service industry, reputation is everything.
I love the idea of being able to sell the pinned post space to someone as a sort of promoted spot. But this can be achieved with boosts without needing to pay the territory owner. I'd envisaged using pinning on my daily discussion threads so that the current days thread is the top post in hot/recent/top in the territory. Otherwise, sometimes they can get lost.
@siggy47 it says "milking these over" it's supposed to say "mulling these over" but auto correct decided to make me wear the dunce cap and the clown makeup. 🤣
Always proof read your stuff kids! Learn from me 🤣
I thought it was a @DarthCoin reference! Man am I relieved. For what it's worth, I've been forgetting to proofread lately too.
Not this time. But I might try to subtly drop DC references wherever I can now.
Lots of good stuff here. I'm starting to feel that with all the good ideas in the world, averaging 3333 a day in fees just to break even will still be tough, if not impossible. I see pinning as useful for an intro page, as well as rewarding really good posts. For instance, someone did an excellent general post about dog ownership which I would love to keep permanently pinned.
Territory fees are a tough one aswell. Drop em too low and you'll get a bunch of waste territories. They need to be that right balance of affordable, sustainable but also prohibitive enough so as to not flood SN with pop-up territories. Perhaps a sliding model would be more appropriate, and yes have a high start up cost like 100ksats. But from then on, the bill is a percentage of revenue generated by the territory. As it stands SN rewards pool gets 50% daily. Perhaps a fee of say 20% of overall territory income per month? This is just numbers plucked from the sky. It's not too similar for brick and mortar rents. Larger businesses require more space (and generate larger incomes) their tax is higher and their rental is higher for a larger space. For a small business occupying a small portion of that real estate, the rent would be smaller. It's like renting an office rather than paying for the whole office block.
My own posts aside. As it stands in music I'd see 2-3 daily threads from various names. I'd have to make the posting fees 1666 per post to break even. All that's going to do is create a ghost town of zero posts because no one will pay that to make their post.
I'm curious as to how fees are going to adjust and adapt (if at all). But 100k deposit for a at best so far 3k return per month... That's not smart investing that's sunk cost and chasing losses.
I don't see sub territories being bought at all for quite awhile. There's very basic tools missing and no territory updates since they launched. I'm sure most were bought to hodl and most will be let go if nothing progresses with them.
31 sats \ 2 replies \ @ek 15 Jan
no territory updates since they launched.
I wasn't notified there was push notifications added. Happy to stand corrected there has been one update since 2 days ago.
10 sats \ 0 replies \ @ek 15 Jan
I also have territory moderation up my sleeve and if it's more general about territories and not specifically for territory founders, also muting territories (same release)
Sorry, I'll stop now — I also don't have any other territory feature that we released since we launched territories that I can mention iirc, lol
But yes, progress regarding territories has been slow. I think crossposting will be the next territory feature we release.
Oh yeah man! please @SN give us tools to better manage these territories!
I think collaboration will come with sub-territories, as each one will probably have a moderator to care about it! ... and marketing will be the third indirect responsibility that all mods will need to consider for a heathy growth (when needed)
@siggy47 yours is not a mistake at all, you're just ahead of time! Don't give up!
I think users should be able to "follow" territories and get notifications when new posts are made in the territories they follow.
The economics of territory ownership is not rational without more tools/data.
There was no price discovery with that 10% number. It was just set by the SN team.
I think I made 5k / lost 95k sats in month 1 owning ~econ.
There is nothing you can do with a stream of sats so small.
You have to be in it for the charity/entertainment aspect...or betting on SN getting HUGE in the future.
51 sats \ 0 replies \ @Ge 15 Jan
Tbh when I create my territory I plan to do the 3mil for permanent territory is it alot of money yes however I think it'll be a good one and will keep me plugged in woth creating content n post in which I think other stacker will enjoy and contribute to the territory needless to say I am excited and know it'll be work but when u enjoy something so much is it really work?? Lol anyways good luck in your endeavors I listened to their pod too about alot dropping off and it makes sense...keep it going though I'm gonna be checking out your territories and moving forward others as well to support and contribute
damn it, once again Darthcoin was right...
Excellent post.
As the owner of 2 non-bitcoin related territories I'd like to try and weigh in. One has performed exceedingly well given the audience here is mostly interested in bitcoin content -- while the other has not faired so well -- and as a result I will be letting that particular territory go.
A tale of 2 cities/territories -- so it goes:
Culture - has performed well beyond my expectations. I had no expectations around how much money I would start to make back post investment -- and quite frankly assumed it would likely take 6-12 months to see any kind of effects here. While that still may be the case, I'm finding I'm making meaningful returns back. By virtue of being a rather broad category that has a catch-all appeal -- I find it attracts a broad array of users, and on any given week you'll find a culture post in the top ten trending posts on SN. I've done zero marketing here, and I haven't had to find the leading culture podcaster or celebrity to make it pop. I think any user could post a discussion in this sub and find just as meaningful responses and comments if not MORE so than on reddit. That's HUGE for SN given where it is in it's trajectory. I fully expect to see continued organic growth on this sub. Eventually, I'd love to see what happens when you do get "respected" or "influential" culture intellectuals to "take over" the sub or even subs-of-subs. Overall - very surprised and very happy with the performance on this one.
Japan - has performed more or less where my initial expectations would have landed. In other words, it gets 1-2 consistent users posting (diehards of Japan) but because SN's base really isn't coming to Stacker News for weird facts about Japan, you don't see much engagement. If I were to ask "what did everyone think about the representation of the Ronin in episode 5 of the Blue-Eyed Dragon" I'd expect just about zero responses today on SN. This is where seeding territories with folks "known" for the sub might help to kick-start growth in these non-bitcoin subs. But I also think this is to be expected and as SN continues to find ways to seed growth outside of core bitcoin audiences (if that's what it wants to do -- although SN may choose to be a space that is and will always be for a core bitcoin audience).
All this to say, as a non core bitcoin user -- I'm having a BLAST on here. I learn so much from territories, and I love reading through all your thoughts. Keep them coming and keep those territories growing. Much love.
Thanks for these observations. Regardless of how well I do with territories, it's replies like this that make SN the magical place it is. I'm glad you found us.
Good thoughts. The collaboration section sounds really interesting.
I've been looking into the pros & cons of setting up a territory too.
One of which which I thought should be talked about is how to generate traffic from outside of SN - largely using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - so I've just published the draft I'd being working on, for the last few days, as a separate post just now:
Thoughts obviously very welcome.
One thing comes to mind. If you own domains you can point them to your Stacker territory.
On the trucking forum I used many years ago
The layout was very similar to SN, which immediately made me feel at home
They had a main menu page with the 'territories' laid out
By far the most popular was pro drivers page, where most posts were created, although the mods regularly moved posts to the correct territory
Second most popular was drivers specialising in long distances
Then there were the Newbies, The owner operators and the truckstop bar where jokes stories tall tales etc go, these were massively underused compared to the top 1, hence why if you wanted your post to get traction you'd post it there.... Which is why I suspect a lot of stackers post in Bitcoin territory because its the most popular
Interestingly there was a computer tech territory which nowadays could also include bitcoin Ln questions
They had stickys or pinned posts
I'm sure the SN founders cut there teeth on these internet forums and are well aware of how they were put together