It’s Time to Rethink the Billable Hour

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Those who have worked with agencies in the past will be very familiar with the idea of the billable hour. For those new to the concept, it’s a long-standing method in the agency world where they work with their client to come up with a mutually agreed upon hourly rate at the beginning of their work together. The agency then charges the client based on how many hours they spend working on that client’s project.

On paper, it works. But in reality, it can cause friction between the agency and their clients. The billable hour is not tied to client success, only length of time, so it may cause clients to feel their money was not worth the work. If the client can’t see direct successes based on the work done by an agency, they may feel as if they didn’t get the return on investment they expected.

The billable hour itself lacks the transparency needed to foster open and trusting working relationships. This dated method provides no motivators for agencies to be effective with their time spent on a client, and it incentivizes low productivity.

While this has caused trouble for businesses in the past, companies are now looking for other, value-driven methods of billing. For example, some agencies are using set pricing for projects and services instead. New models of billing are not just for agencies either – companies that work with external services, advertisers, content producers, freelancers and more are testing new success-driven methods of payment.

One company, Verasity, has created a patent-pending system called Proof-of-View (PoV), that will solve the problems faced by current billing methods. Verasity is a video sharing platform that aims to disrupt the current online video sharing business model by rewarding all users within its platform with VERA, its own cryptocurrency. Verasity’s Proof-of-View technology is based on blockchain and provides accurate watcher-metrics for better value-based payments between content creators, viewers, advertisers and sponsorship brands.

According to their website, “Versasity creates a direct value exchange between brand spend and viewer interaction. With Verasity’s Proof-of-View technology, each view will be recorded in a way that is transparently auditable within the Verasity blockchain.”

One of Verasity’s goals with this new technology is to assuage advertiser’s distrust through a transparent method of payment. To achieve that goal, Verasity’s Proof-of-View system implements publicly auditable logs that contain all views and content recommendations, plus anonymous viewer information, while capturing it on blockchain technology for added security.

YouTube has been dealing with the problem of inflated viewership numbers since its inception. Content creators can buy fake views, which skew the numbers that YouTube and its content creators provide advertisers and sponsors. And as we know, on YouTube, views are currency.

Verasity follows a similar method to YouTube in terms of viewership directly relating to earnings, but with its Proof-of-View system it aims to make their viewership data more reliable than other video sharing platforms. The technology only counts views from signed-in viewers; disallows viewers from creating multiple views at the same time; only counts views when the video is visible within the browser window; and prevents inflated view counts from actions such as automatically reviewing videos, attempting to load multiple videos at the same time, or attempting to manipulate analytics. For instance, the same viewer can’t leave a video on loop one million times and claim they have one million views, as the Proof-of-View technology would identify that.



One of the issues facing the billable hour method is the lack of transparency between parties – how do clients know what the hours spent on their dime were actually used for? In terms of video sharing platforms, how do advertisers know that their advertisements are being seen by real people, or that a video was actually viewed as many times as it claims? Verasity’s solution is to add only “true views” (i.e. views that passed their PoV verification method) to a publicly accessible database that contains anonymous viewership information.

Verasity will also provide free, open-source tools to add an extra layer of accountability. Using these tools, users, stakeholders and other interested third-parties can read through the viewership data, scanning for accuracy and credibility. By being so transparent in its method, Verasity wants advertisers and sponsors to trust that the numbers promised by the video sharing platform are not falsified, as they may have been on other platforms in the past.

While the billable hour method has been around since the days of Madison Avenue, clients are looking for more value-driven methods when it comes to working with external services. Whether it’s as simple as set pricing, or as technologically advanced as Verasity’s Proof of view method, it is clear that the industry is asking for a disruption.