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Subject: Re: UKNM: Communities: Fact or Fiction!
From: Nabil Shabka
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 18:05:55 +0100

Was about to reply to this original posting in the first instance but got
sidetracked.....Decided to now however as, in a market economy, people can
have different views on what can be successful business model.

Clay Shirky wrote:

> > This was a bit of a surprise to me. I had always assumed that aiming to
> > create online communities was a sensible aim for building traffic, and
> > that therefore it would be a sensible part of any business model.
> Unlikely - community is usually measued in the thousands, with the
> number of truly active participants numbering in the hundreds. Traffic
> needs are usually measured in the millions, with repeat traffic
> measured in the 10s or hundreds of thousands.
> Community can be a fine addition for those that want it, but the only
> 'community' sites that have that kind of scale are value-neutral
> homesteading places like geocities.
> Look at hte failure of places like Echo and the Well to become viable
> large-scale businesses.

I believe that a well structured community will be the ultimate business
model. As regards Echo or the Well - what was their business model to begin
with, they focused on the meeting place not the revenue. Just they got it
wrongish does not mean that the model is not viable.

> > 1. Can people think of any commercially viable community based sites?
> Geocities et al. iVillage-style sites which seel an idea of community
> while remaining primarily publishers is another stab at the
> problem.

I wouldn't actually call Geocities a community - communications makes a
community, not 3.5mn websites. ivillage and women.com I agree.

> > 2. Do they agree that a community site which is not just an online
> > version of an existing brand can form a viable basis for a commercially
> > successful site?
> Disagree.

Totally agree that it's possible.

> > 3. Are there any commercially viable sites in their own right at all?
> Of course. Yahoo, Amazon, FedEx, slashdot, on and on.

I would tend to agree with Clay with one caveat, some of these sites haven't
proven that they're commercially viable yet (Yahoo or Amazon - will they be
Well stories?) and sites like FedEx are an add on to an existing business, not
commercially viable sites in their own right.


> > 4. The million dollar question � Is there any published info on how
> > websites make money with real�life�example income streams?
> news.com, industry standard, silicon alley reporter, forrester,
> jupiter, ...
> -clay

Nabil Shabka
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London, SW6 3EG


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  Re: UKNM: Communities: Fact or Fiction!, Steve Mynott

  Re: UKNM: Communities: Fact or Fiction!, Clay Shirky

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