Megasites vs Niche Communities. Rap vs Comedy. And mobile food trucks.

31 Jan

We had an excellent second class meeting on Monday, January 25 with four outstanding speakers:

Curtis Jewell of mycypher.com: a site dedicated to bringing together the global hiphop community. Artists have the ability to use an online recording tool (on mobile device or computer mic) and upload their beats, thereby democratizing the recording process. The site is still in beta testing but you can request an invite to join.

Josh Spector, SVP of Content and Marketing for comedy.com: a guide to what’s funny right now on the web, hosting the best of web and TV comedy videos. The site has 3 million unique monthly visitors.

Ben Gigli and Sean Stevens, APOC alumni, and creators of awesome niche sites including 5secondfilms, hotgirlsandexplosions and wheresmytaco.

We covered a lot of ground discussing the nature of communities, options for building and monetizing a site, and how to best utilize existing social media to establish brand awareness. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc., are third party tools that allow people to create communities, but are not necessarily communities in and of themselves. It’s imperative to know and understand these different tools and the people they attract in order to build the broadest consumer base. These existing networks help to establish and leverage partnerships.
  • What’s in a domain name? These days the domain is usually overrated, and frankly it’s probably more beneficial to have a specific domain (5secondfilms) versus a broader name (comedy.com) as it’s tough to build a brand on a broad concept. The more niche the site and the domain, it may be easier to self-promote across third party tools, as consumers can perform a more directed search.
  • It’s difficult to build on technological and business platforms that you can’t control. For example, Facebook began to block generic fan pages (ie, “Laughing” or “Sleeping in late”), which prompted businesses to lose built-in audiences because they could no longer control status updates that lead back to their brand. Changes in Facebook privacy and technological policies can therefore directly affect web traffic, and niche sites in particular can become a victim of third party platform changes.
  • Obviously, there are different approaches to revenue models depending on the type of site. The general consensus is that advertising is a good ancillary (as opposed to primary) revenue stream, and venture capital money tends to stretch the farthest when you know what you want and what works best for your site (which will likely happen through trial and error).

Overall, there was a lot of information to sink our teeth into. I’m personally looking forward to understanding how to monetize and create a business platform for various revenue streams. Because making money would be a good thing.

And Curtis’ multi-language rap was pretty awesome.

2 Responses to “Megasites vs Niche Communities. Rap vs Comedy. And mobile food trucks.”

  1. Ruby February 3, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    I love these recaps!so useful for future reference! hoho!

  2. clintschaff February 10, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    Great recap…. Extra credit if you could ever recite Curtis’ rap song 🙂

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