Untapped Community Platform Business Models

Given the state of the economy, monetization is at top of mind for this blooming social media industry, in fact, we’re not seeing a tremendous amount of it. I can see some entry level opportunities for community platforms, here’s some quick ideas that have been churning in my mind, I release them here in public and maybe someone will make something of it:

Hook then offer premium services
Like Yammer, create an easy to create community tool that allows any person in a company to quickly setup an enterprise class social network and start collaborating –sans the sales folks. Let it be rebrandable, but with features perhaps more robust than Ning or Yahoo groups, that tie into company confirmed email addresses. Then once you get 10% of the company hooked, you’re able to start to have an enterprise licensing discussion. I’m surprised no one has done this.

Go the consumer route –then build network
We’re seeing more of an influx from Liveworld’s features LiveBar that let an ‘social media overlay’ quickly be plugged into any website, as well as Plum which offers features that can be quickly embedded into websites. The trick here is to gain mass consumer adoption, and then switch up business models away from premium instead to an advertising model, data collection, much how buzzlogic has morphed their business model.

Start em when they’re young
While there’s many social media tools for the classroom, I’ve yet to hear about a robust social media community platform that could be used for schools for the entire duration of a students enrollment at an education institution. While schools may be reluctant to pick up the tab, there’s ways to monetize that let parents purchase premium services, or education vendors like Scholastic, Kaplan, or other supplementary services.

Ideas are cheap, and I have no idea sharing these in public. What’s more important is prioritizing your feature roadmap based upon market needs. As a result lately, I’ve been doing strategy sessions with product teams at enterprise companies to discuss how their products can benefit from the social web. You’ll see some major products released from large companies in the coming quarters, some of them, I had a direct hand in shaping and molding.

Not all of the community platform plays need to be at enterprise level, there’s quite a few other untapped ways to monetize. Leave a comment if you’ve another idea, or see some of this in action.

  • I think there is big opportunity in the Local space. Connecting cities, neighborhoods, small local groups etc. Most social media discussions revolve around connecting a lot of people that will never meet in real life. All social networks used to be local – if there is easy money in connecting people, it may be from connecting nearby people.

    That was my first thought.

  • @daniel there’s a new social network for churches called Roov http://roov.com that is attempting to do something like your talking about, part of what makes it unique is the way they are trying to facilitate face to face meetings.

  • Great post…… we have been working on an application that currently is in alpha……moving into a beta-test with some retailers Q1 09′. Welcome to collaborative commerce….. please check out PurchLive at pipit.com and to learn more. I look forward to reading more worthwhile information at your blog.

  • Did you get inside my (Dutch)head?

    Now in private-beta: http://www.mindz.com
    Free of charge. For “Branded” Plaza’s and/or private labels there will be a charge.
    We go public november 11th in The Netherlands, after which in December the rest of Europe and South Africa will follow.

    And yes, we thought about the things you are saying:
    -Free.
    -We make excisting sites/blogs social.
    -We gave away (showcase) platforms to Masters courses here in Holland to get in touch with the youth.

    We are multi-lingual, open/closed combi’s, personal branding and all the tools you could wish to collaborate: blogs, wiki, Q&A,fora, aggregators. Matching with peers and peer groups.
    Also we will help you to grow: free e-coaching, digital dialogues and management book exchange (under construction)…
    And much more. I will send you next week, in advance, the official press release…

    And yes, we are looking for partners in the USA to help us to market this product…

  • @Brett – Thanks! Utilizing existing local communities and organic groups (i.e. churches, bars, schools) is a good launching point. I’m checking out ROOV now.

  • Hi Jeremiah, excellent ideas. I’m in search of specific examples of how a community platform fits into a business model. Can you point me to any examples that say something like “this site built out X social functionality, and as a result saw an X increase in X”. Or any other example that might aid in revenue projections for utilizing a community platform. Kind of a lot to ask I know. Any direction can provide is greatly appreciated. Your blog as been a tremendous resource…

  • Jeremiah:

    Thanks for including LiveBar as a model for companies/sites to *start* community. That’s the way we see it, too. We also think it works for companies for whom a full-blown community center would a) be too expensive and/or b) take far too long to integrate into the main site. The overlay approach of a LiveBar is much easier — and cheaper — to get going.

    Bryan Person | @BryanPerson
    LiveWorld

  • Hi Jeremiah,

    Great blog, have been reading up a whole lot on Social Media Marketing during the weekend and this article has been a great read. Kudos!

    Yasser
    Check out the coolest jobs here at
    http://www.jobstaxi.com
    Joost, Rockstar, Songbird, Digital Chocolate, InfoBlox

  • I think social networks will be monetized by peer-to-peer payment. If that happens, you could see this social media space grow by a factor of 10 over the next several years.

  • jeff Kauffman Jr.

    @Ted

    Could you elaborate? Sounds interesting.

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  • Did you get inside my (Dutch)head?

    Now in private-beta: http://www.mindz.com
    Free of charge. For “Branded” Plaza's and/or private labels there will be a charge.
    We go public november 11th in The Netherlands, after which in December the rest of Europe and South Africa will follow.

    And yes, we thought about the things you are saying:
    -Free.
    -We make excisting sites/blogs social.
    -We gave away (showcase) platforms to Masters courses here in Holland to get in touch with the youth.

    We are multi-lingual, open/closed combi's, personal branding and all the tools you could wish to collaborate: blogs, wiki, Q&A,fora, aggregators. Matching with peers and peer groups.
    Also we will help you to grow: free e-coaching, digital dialogues and management book exchange (under construction)…
    And much more. I will send you next week, in advance, the official press release…

    And yes, we are looking for partners in the USA to help us to market this product…

  • jrhgh5hi6hy9iouim
  • Great post.Thanks! excellent ideas.

  • Great blog.

  • Great post, thanks so much for sharing. Do you happen to have an RSS feed I can subscribe to?

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