How we moved from cave-man publishing - traditional web site funded by job ads - to where we are now:
- We managed to create a social network with a very low budget by outsourcing almost all business functions to vendors: Ning.com (to host Analyticbridge), iContact (to manage our newsletter), web.com (to host Datashaping.com), Picosearch (to provide high quality job/resume search), Wells Fargo (for credit card processing), Feedburner and Twitter related tools (for news-feed manbagement), Indeed.com (for advertising), LinkedIn.com (to grow membership), etc.
- As a result, maintaining our network costs less than $1,000 per month. We have no employee: no sysadmin, no software engineer, no programmer, no social network manager, no sales people, no web developer, no marketing team.
- We will offer intelligence about the analytic community as well as economic forecasts (based on our sales, resumes submissions) for a fee.
- We are now writing an e-book, available for free, about our best articles posted on our network, where we own copyright (see https://bitly.com/oB0zxn) offering big vendors opportunities to sponsor our "Resource" section, and smaller ones (affiliates) to be listed for free in exchange for making our PDF book (full of links to Analyticbridge and their website) available for download on their website. This in turn makes our book widely available thus increasing page views and advertising revenue, and this co-branding opportunity is also very good for our affiliates. It's win-win for everyone.
- Our no-cost, exam-free certification (where standards are high and acceptation is based on your LinkedIn profile) is also part of our computational marketing efforts.
- We do not use AdSense, instead we have our own network of websites and advertisers, offering better eCPM.
I encourage entrepreneurs to think about our strategy when starting an online community or become a publisher or social network. It is an extremely competitive environment, but with great potential for true innovators.