Why Online Communities Fail

Just in time for the Enterprise 2.0 Boot Camp in a couple weeks, today WSJ Online subscribers will find a great Business Technology blog post entitled "Why Most Online Communities Fail".

The author, Ben Worthen, hits the nail squarely on its head:

Businesses launching online communities repeat a series of blunders. First, they have a tendency to get seduced by bells and whistles and blow their online-community budget on technology...(They should) spend resources identifying and reaching out to potential community members instead of investing in software that makes predictions, or even social-networking technology.

And this:

Businesses say that their primary objectives are generating word-of-mouth marketing and increasing customer loyalty. Yet the metric that businesses use most often to measure success is the number of visits to the site.

If you've seen me speak or present, you'll remember that one of my favorite statements is "I don't care about page views", which often elicits gasps from the audience.

Community is about community and community leaders, folks (eg Oracle ACEs); don't be seduced by eye candy!


Amen, brother. I think OTN is doing the right things overall. Most importantly, I think OTN has established excellent relationships with the community at large such that feedback is not only welcome, but accepted and actioned upon.

Posted by Dan Norris on July 15, 2008 at 10:22 PM PDT #

Well, thank you for the kind words. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Posted by Justin Kestelyn on July 16, 2008 at 12:13 AM PDT #

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