Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Interview: Terrell Samuels Talks Huzo

The public has always been passionate about buying their favorite movies, music, games and books, as well as finding ways to help benefit their favorite charities. The new social networking website, Huzo, not only allows the world to connect with each, but has stepped above and behind its competitors; not only does it also allow its users to buy their favorite entertainment, but also donates two percent of the profit to charity.

Huzo's CEO and president, Terrell Samuels, has also made the social networking website unique in the fact that celebrities who join can sign up their favorite charities. When their friends and fans make entertainment purchases on the website, their donations will benefit their charities.

When the public subscribes to Huzo and watch movies, play games and listen to music on the website, they can even generate income for themselves. Users can recoup two percent of the cost in cash, which they can keep for themselves or designate to go to any organization they choose. Huzo subscribers also receive additional cash incentives for referring friends who subscribe.

Samuels generously took the time to speak about Huzo over the phone from Los Angeles. He discussed his motivation in launching the social networking platform, the positive support he's garnered since starting Huzo in June, and how successful the website has been.

Written by: Karen Benaradello

Question: What was your motivation in launching Huzo, and why did you decide to donate some of the profit to charity?

Terrell Samuels (TS): I decided to launch the website because I'm pretty much a Christian. I believe in giving back and being a blessing and doing good for other people. On all these entities, like the iTunes, Amazon and Netflix of the world, people are spending over $100 billion every year, just in the U.S., on movies, books, games and music. I said, why not create a platform where we can give some of that money back, because it's a recession right now.

Even during the recession, the number went from $1 billion in 2009, to $120 billion. More people want to stay at home, and not take their families out to dinner and things of that sort. What better way than to come up with a platform to give some of those revenues back to school, church or business during the process.

Q: What is the process like in getting celebrities to sign up for Huzo?

TS: Well, let me give you our definition of a celebrity first. Our definition of a celebrity is anyone with a fanbase or database of 5,000 or more people. A celebrity to us can be a school, a church, a charity, a foundation or person. What we found was that some of these Hollywood celebrities, they've worked so hard to build up their fanbases on these social media sites, since the start of the whole social networking movement, with Facebook, Twitter and Myspace.

But no one has figured out how to monetize on that fanbase on a consistent basis. Considering that we figured that out with our platform, we wanted to lead by example, and make sure some of that money was going to charity, or using it to give back. The celebrities meet with me and the members of my team, and we emphasize signing up their charity, and the whole philanthropic aspect, keeping that in the forefront.

Q: Tyrese Gibson and Rob Kardashian are just two of the Hollywood celebrities who have joined Huzo. Does having such name recognition draw attention to Huzo's goal of raising money for charity?

TS: Well, it does, because people want to find out why a lot of these A-listers are signing up on our site. The benefit behind it is that Tyrese Gibson, Jamie Foxx or Rob Kardashian, they have a couple million followers on Twitter. When I sat down with them, I asked them, how are you monetizing that database? The normal answer is when they watch my show or buy my music.

With our platform, we found a way to actually give back to their fans. Some of our athletes, like the Lakers, Matt Barnes. He was excited about signing up his foundation (Athletes Vs. Cancer). He said, Terrell, fans come and see me play every night. I'm signing up with Huzo because I can finally give back to them, and invite them to join a network, and receive a rebate back in cash. Hopefully, if they get enough people to join their Huzo pages, they can come see me for free eventually. In addition to that, I don't have to go ask my friends, family and other people to raise money for my foundation.

Matt's foundation benefits cancer, because his mom died of cancer (in 2007). He thought it was a great way to raise money for his foundation without having to ask people. It's almost like you're raising money and giving back in the same breath, which has never been done before.

To continue reading this interview, please visit Yahoo! Voices.

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