Locals.com is an online community platform that recently partnered with Rumble.com according to Dan Bongino. It is a surprisingly full-featured platform for content creators to connect with their followers and it enables the monetization of that connection. Locals.com is also one of the growing number of Parallel Economy businesses that Dan Bongino has put his support behind. Some others that you may have heard of are Parler and Align Pay.
I initially thought of the Locals.com platform as similar to Patreon.com, and while there are similarities, it differs in that you can follow both creators and other people on the platform, and you can also create and join communities in which to engage with content creators and meet other people. You can set up monthly or annual subscriptions to channels you like, tip your fellow followers, gift subscriptions to others and more.
If you would like to join the Parallel Economies community on Locals.com, please click here.
Locals.com gives creators more control
According to Locals.com Co-founder Dave Rubin, “The content creator is why people visit these big tech platforms, and yet they [the platforms] are the ones who make the lion’s share of the money, own all of the creator’s content, and control what, when and even if that content gets distributed.” The level of control that content creators have over their content, monetization and audience is one area where Locals.com truly shines.
“Before Locals, I couldn’t control what anybody saw because Twitter could shadow ban me, YouTube could demonetize me and it looked like one wrong move and I would just be out of business. I was putting tons of work into something that I had no control over. These platforms could just snap a finger and I’d be out of business.”Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert comic strip
A Long Guide
This beginner’s guide is going to be rather long as there are a number of steps you must complete in order to get up and running. However, I promise you that it is going to be worth it as I can give you some tips to prevent some of the confusion that I experienced along the way. I am creating a table of contents below to help you navigate directly to the information that you are looking for, so if you are just looking for how to do one specific thing, this should help you out immensely.
While Locals.com has separate account types for “creators” and “members”, this beginner’s guide is specifically focused on “members”. For clarification, a “member” would be someone looking to join communities, rather than create them. I will be publishing another article in the near future that covers the steps necessary to get a “creators” account and its associated community up and running. One thing to keep in mind, however is that the majority of the initial setup process is the same for both “creators” and “members” so if you are a “creator” there is still some information below that you can benefit from.
- Locals.com Creators and Members
- Sign Up
- Locals.com Confirmation Screen and Email Verification
- Locals.com Username Creation and Errors to Avoid
- Locals.com Birthday, Profile Photo, Display Name & Zip Code
- Locals.com – Choose Your Topics
- Locals.com – Follow Your Favorite People
- Locals.com – Check Out Your Newsfeed
- Locals.com – Join A Community
- Locals.com – Buying Coins
- Locals.com – Use Coins to Become a Supporter
- Locals.com – You Now Have Access to Premium Content
- Locals.com – Conclusion
Locals.com Creators and Members
On Locals.com you have the option to join as a creator or a member. I have joined as both and the process of joining as a member is actually not that difficult. Becoming a creator is a much longer process that I will cover more thoroughly in a future article. One thing that I noticed is that as a member, you can still create a community if you wish. That option is still available, so that would appear to indicate that if you want to start creating content for a community of your own in the future, you can do so even if you started out as a “member”.
I will admit that there may be other differences between these types of accounts, so if I find any in the future (feel free to comment below if you know of any) I will go ahead and update this section. Either way, the main process for account creation for both is similar.
You can choose to sign up with an email address and password, or you can sign up via Google.
Locals.com Confirmation Screen and Email Verification
After you click the Sign Up button, you will go to a confirmation screen and you will receive an email in your inbox asking you to verify your account.
Locals.com Username Creation and Errors to Avoid
Unfortunately, if your desired username is too long, you will find that you are unable to use it. The Locals.com app does not allow you to create a username shorter than 4 characters or longer than 16. I ran into trouble with this because the name of my website is too long to be used as a username, so I had to shorten it up a bit.
Locals.com Birthday, Profile Photo, Display Name & Zip Code
You have to enter your birthday before you can join Locals.com. This is fairly simple as you probably can guess. The next step, however can be a little trickier as we’ll discuss below.
Entering Birthday and Display Name
Cropping Difficulties When Adding Profile Photo
One of the things that you are going to notice when you upload your profile photo is that due to the circular representation of the photo on your profile, some of it might end up getting cut off. I uploaded a 150 x 150 profile photo that went all the way to the edges on all sides, but unfortunately as you can see in the photo below, much of my logo was cut off on the corners.
I didn’t really notice this issue until later as I was browsing around the website, but eventually I saw it more clearly and decided to fix it. I ended up having to add a bit of bleed around the edges of my logo. I kept the entire size of the image at 150 x 150, but shrunk my logo itself down to 115 x 115 so that none of the edges got clipped as the square-ish image was converted to a circle on my profile. I didn’t see an actual recommended pixel ratio for this photo, but just keep in mind that if your logo goes all the way to the edges, the corners might get clipped.
One thing to note: If you are not planning on uploading some kind of brand logo, and just want to use a head shot / selfie, you’ll still have to think about cropping, but it should be a bit easier for you. Mostly it will crop your background if you do it right, so just keep that in mind.
Pro Tip: Adding a Logo That Includes Some Bleed Area
The image below is what my logo ended up looking like after I resized it (and uploaded the correct version of the logo, but let’s not get into that, lol). Notice how I shrank the image somewhat with respect to the edges of the box. If you aren’t familiar with photo editing software, the checkered background actually represents transparent space that is part of the image itself, but is basically invisible.
Now when you look at my community on Locals.com, the profile image doesn’t have part of the arrows cut off. As I mentioned above, my overall image size was 150 x 150, but the size of my logo was 115 x 115. I may do some more experimenting in the future to see just how much bigger my logo can get before it ends up having parts of it clipped, but for now this works and looks just fine.
Username VS Display Name
You may experience a little bit of confusion here and that is OK. Why do you need to have a username AND a display name? Well, there are a few reasons for this. First, your username is limited to a maximum of 16 characters. You’ll recall above that I was unable to fit the entire name of my website into the 16 characters allotted for a username. However, I can add more characters in my display name. In fact, I decided to make my display name my entire URL: ParallelEconomies.com.
More Characters Than Username
The fact that you can include more characters in your Display Name is actually a pretty good marketing opportunity. Where you would not have had the ability to include an entire website name in the username, you may be able to do so in your display name. I will admit, I have not tested the limits of this feature. However, I can say with certainty that if you have a URL that is 21 characters or less, you can use it as your display name without issues (my URL is 21 characters).
One of the reasons that this is such a great marketing opportunity is that you are able to join any community and every time you post something in that community, your Display Name will be associated with that post. If your Display Name is the same as your URL, you’re basically advertising your website every time you post something in a community.
Why Usernames Are Important
You should keep in mind that your Username is going to be the way that people tag you in conversations going forward. If someone wants to refer to me in a post / comment, they are going to tag “@ParallelEconomy”, not “@ParallelEconomies.com”. Having a shorter username makes it easier for people to tag you in posts that they make on Locals.com. So if you can’t fit your entire URL in the Username area, you’ll have to be creative to come up with something that is both short enough to be a username, and yet still remains on brand.
You can enter your Zip Code as well. You can choose to display or not display this location on your profile. I went ahead and displayed this on my profile, but some people may wish to keep that information to themselves. They made this optional, though so it really is up to you whether or not this is information that you wish to share.
Locals.com – Choose Your Topics
In order for Locals.com to recommend to you the kinds of creators that you are interested in, you’ll have to choose a few topics. This is actually optional, but it seemed to work out well for me. Locals.com recommended a number of creators that I am actually a fan of, many of which I didn’t realize were already on Locals.com.
Locals.com – Follow Your Favorite People
From the image below you can get a feel for the type of people I was suggested given my interests. Right off the top, I had no idea Greg Gutfeld was already on Locals.com. I made sure to join his community, along with Dan Bongino’s community, Charlie Kirk’s community and even The Babylon Bee’s community. A lot of my favorite people are already here on Locals.com and I’m sure you’re going to feel the same way.
Locals.com – Check Out Your Newsfeed
Finally, it’s time to get to the fun stuff. Once you’ve finished selecting the people you want to follow, you can start browsing your Newsfeed. This is where you will find the latest posts from all of the people that you followed. This is where I’ve found Locals.com to be somewhat different from other platforms. This is especially true if you’re following Dan Bongino.
Often More Personal Than Other Social Media Platforms
What I have noticed, especially from Dan Bongino, is that people are using Locals.com as a much more personal connection with their fans. This may or may not appeal to you, but I thought it was pretty awesome that Dan Bongino would take some time out of his day to make a short video just for his followers on Locals.com. So far, I’ve enjoyed listening to him talk about things like avoiding eating carbs at night, his daughter’s success in track events, attending sports games, and even what he and Paula love to eat for breakfast.
Sometimes you’ll see these updates show up in your Newsfeed where you can watch them, but other times you’ll find that you need to join a community in order to see them. We’ll discuss joining communities in a moment.
Sometimes you will see posts that have a lock on them in the upper right corner. These are called premium posts. These posts can show up in your Newsfeed and in order to watch them you will have to be a paying supporter of someone’s community. The premium post below is from Dan Bongino, but you’ll find that creators tend to mix premium posts in with a lot of other content that they post for free. By offering some stuff for free, it gives people something to join the community for, while offering some premium posts gives them further incentive to become paying supporters.
Much like other platforms, you can actually watch Live Streams from the people you follow. This one below is from Dave Rubin (Co-founder of Locals.com) where he is streaming live from NatCon 2021. Looks like I missed the Live Stream, but it can still be viewed after the fact.
My First Locals.com Live Stream
I actually tested out the Live Stream functionalities myself while driving home from dropping my poor cats off at Pet Smart. It actually worked out fairly well, except for a few minor issues resulting from low bandwidth at various parts of my route home. If you’re going to do a Live Stream, I recommend you do so from your house on WiFi. In this Live Stream, I discussed some of the factors that are missing from the Parallel Economy. If you’d like to watch my Live Stream, click here!
Keep An Eye Out For Live Streams
If you want to watch a Live Stream, keep an eye out for a notification like the one that you see below. You’ll see them pop up from time to time as you’re scrolling through your feed, so make sure to hop in when you see it.
You can also participate in Live Chats with the people you follow. Below you see a Live Chat that was hosted by Greg Gutfeld. It appears that he’s getting ready to go see GWAR and wanted to chat with his followers. Unfortunately, I missed this also, but how cool would it be to have a chat session with Greg Gutfeld?
Must Be A Supporter
One thing to note, however, is that in order to join a Live Chat (depending on the community settings), you may find that you have to be a supporter. To become a supporter, you’ll have to pay to subscribe to someone’s community. We’ll discuss how to become a supporter more below, but this is how you actually can help support individuals who create content that you like. How much would you pay to be able to personally chat with someone like Dan Bongino or Greg Gutfeld? It actually might not cost all that much. We’ll discuss costs below as well.
Sadly, I am not a supporter of Greg Gutfeld yet, so I can’t participate in these live chats. However, it does look like a lot of people got to talk to him. Who knows, maybe I’ll become a supporter and join the next chat? Would you be willing to pay a few dollars a month to get an opportunity to chat with your favorite talk show host or TV personality?
Locals.com – Join A Community
Joining a community on Locals.com is not only a great way to see updates from content creators, you also get to meet other people like yourself who support those content creators. I have had dozens of conversations with other Dan Bongino fans in his community since joining it. It’s actually a really good way to meet people like yourself. I love the Dan Bongino community, but I am also a huge fan of The Babylon Bee community. There are plenty of other communities on Locals.com for you to choose from.
Locals.com – Buying Coins
What Are Coins And How Are They Used?
According to this article on the Locals.com Helpdesk, “Locals coins are used as a type of currency on the Locals platform.” One dollar roughly translates to 10 coins in the app. You can use coins to pay for subscriptions to a community or to give people “tips”. You can tip creators or other community members who have posted something you appreciate. The helpdesk article points out that the use of coins is somewhat of a workaround that was developed in order to allow in-app purchases on the Google and Apple app stores. They also point out that if you are using Locals.com on the web, you are welcome to make purchases using your credit card.
Buying the Coins
As you can see in the image below, you can actually purchase coins using your credit / debit card. It’s a fairly straight forward process. You select the amount of coins that you want to purchase and enter your billing information and click the red, “BUY COINS” button. I actually used it myself to purchase 50 coins and the process was very easy.
Locals.com – Use Coins to Become a Supporter
In order to become an official “supporter” of someone on the Locals.com app, you have to pay them. This is how you can unlock access to the premium posts and live chats I mentioned above. This is also how you help the people who are creating content that you enjoy. When using Locals.com on the web, you have 2 options to pay to become a supporter. You can either pay with coins or with a credit card. However, when you are using the app on your phone, you only get the option to use coins.
I ended up paying to support Dan Bongino for 1 month initially, but later bumped it up to an annual subscription for 500 coins ($50). When doing an annual subscription, I ended up getting 2 months for free. You might want to ask in the community while you are still a free member whether or not there are any discount codes you can use when becoming a supporter. Creators do have the option of creating discount codes for new potential supporters, so it can’t hurt to ask. After you click the red “SUPPORT” button, you should get a thank you pop up like the one in the picture below.
Locals.com – You Now Have Access to Premium Content
Once you have become a paying supporter, you will find that you have access to all of the premium posts, live chats and other features of your preferred creator’s Locals.com community. As you can see in the image below, I was actually able to play the premium post that Dan Bongino published during the Virginia Governor’s race.
Every now and then, Dan posts these candid / informal videos, often from what appears to be his couch at home, that paying supporters get to enjoy. He also makes a point to share information with his paying supporters before he even puts it out on his podcast or radio show. For instance, we knew about the fact that Rumble was going public before anyone else did. I think it’s well worth the money to get early access to information and a very behind the scenes, “this is the real Dan” sort of experience.
Locals.com – Conclusion
You now know how to set up your own account on Locals.com, find and join communities, buy coins and become a paying supporter of creators that you know and love. You can now join as many communities as you wish and start interacting with creators and with other community members who clearly share your interests. If you have any questions about how to use Locals.com that I didn’t answer already, please feel free to ask them in the comments.
If you are a content creator and are looking for how to set up a creator account, please check back in the near future. I plan to create a separate article showing all the steps for setting up your account and connecting various services (such as payment gateways) so that you can get your own community off the ground. I’ll even be covering how to monetize your community, so please check back later for that.
If you appreciated this article and would like to support the work I am doing here, please consider becoming one of my Patrons. I am Noah Davis, creator of SanctuaryCounties.com. Parallel Economies is my brand new website. Please click here to join the Sanctuary Counties Patreon and support the creation of more content like this. Thank you so much and God Bless America!