Even in a reasonably somber economy, we continue to see start-ups emerging, particularly start-ups of the Internet kind. Internet start-ups keep emerging because chasing the next big thing on the Web and riding the wave is still and probably will always be irresistible - even in a somber economy. I speak from experience. I've watched start-ups come, go and, some times blossom for more than a decade now. And, for the last 20 months, I have been riding the start-up wave myself. In addition my day job as President & Chief Strategist at Compass Intelligence, I've been moonlighting as an Internet entrepreneur. In December of 2006, I registered the domain for my living day dream, www.eyesoda.com, and in June of this year I launched the site for public beta-testing.
Inside of Eyesoda.com: Already Eyesoda.com has a few hundred registered members and there are a number of budding relationships with online content communities in place. In addition, I just signed a contract to host an online version of The Santa Fe Film Festival, with more festivals to come. Even with my limited resources (staff and money), Eyesoda.com is moving quickly forward. That's because...1. I believe Eyesoda.com is unique, even in the world of Internet Video start-ups. But, I'll leave it up to you to decide that...please check out the site. 2. And, Eyesoda.com is incredibly personal. There is a face (mine) and a soul to it. That's what you really need to build community online...I will expose more of Eyesoda.com's internal workings over the next several months, as it launches to what I hope will be stardom. I'll do this because understanding how small companies with limited budgets, like Eyesoda.com, take root and blossom or, in contrast, fail is essential knowledge for established clients hoping to better leverage the Internet to engage their customers on a fixed budget.Outside of venture capital backing, most Internet ventures (start-ups or groups within large companies) have small budgets and thus need to use ingenuity and creativity to grow and prosper. I hope to show some tactics that work for Eyesoda.com.
Lesson for Today: Building an online community is a question of finding the right incentives to attractive individuals in the right order. You've got to start by first attracting the people that will be the most active and have the most to contribute to your community (e.g., experts, content generators, etc.). Be sure to engage these people personally and go beyond email. Once you've got these "sticky" members on board, you can build the rest of your community around them and their interests. With regard to Eyesoda.com, I started by building relationships with individual filmmakers and then moved to organizations that represent many filmmakers. Though starting with individuals first was not the fastest route, it was the most personal and it allowed me to build strong relationships up front. This added credibility and, I believe, "soul" to my budding community.
Some stats about Internet Video & Community:
- In April of this year alone, 84 million American's watched roughly 11 BILLION videos over the Internet - that's 71% of total Internet users according to a ComScore press release.
- Each of these people spent an average of 228 minutes of videos during that month, and this is just the beginning of the online video trend.
- According to the 20,000 US workers I surveyed in May, 26% of them already use IP Video conferencing via Webcams, and another 10% expect to do it by the year's end.
- And, 42% of this group use Web conferencing with their colleagues, while another 41% join Webinars.
So, please check Eyesoda.com out, and don't forget to join!
Background on Eyesoda.com
- Business model: pay-per-view video-on-demand delivered via high-end streaming
- Special features: social network with interaction between filmmakers and film lovers.
- Domain registered: December 2006.
- Public Beta-launch: June 2008
To join the Eyesoda Wave simply register online!
Kneko Burney - President of Compass Intelligence & Founder & CEO of Eyesoda.com