How to Build The Ultimate Product Based Community Site
I have been working in the web industry for over 10 years now. I was there when “Community” referred to functionality that allowed users to interact with a site. Today in the Web 2.0 era it’s more commonly referred to as “Social Networking”. My experience has been primarily based around managing web development. I’ve been lucky enough to have surrounded myself (and be-fronded) some very talented developers over time. Along the way I’ve been inspired with ideas for sites to develop. About 2 years ago I began drafting a plan for a product based community site.
My inspiration for the site was born from my personal experiences in pursuit of what I call “The lifecycle of an online purchase”. This process is based primarily on technology items which with the breadth of products and features make it hard to do research and come to a decision.
There are 3 main steps to the process:
This is the simple high level view, but each of these steps can take you on a long journey of endless searches on the web to find the right content for each step of the way. I have done this many times and every time I ask myself why there wasn’t a site that could act as a portal that could aggregate this content at the product level.
Take step 1 – Research for instance. For any given product there will be sites that will stand out as the authority on providing quality reviews. Doing the research to find these sites takes a good deal of work just for a single product. Then tools such as feature filters, comparison builders, etc…add to the process. A community that could work together to provide this content could not only save time but help prospective buyers make informed decisions. Later with step 3 which for me is researching community based support for a product, the process can be similar to finding a needle in a haystack and requires a multitude of persistence.
Anyways, I had many more ideas for functionality on the site that I felt could achieve the goals necessary to provide a value-able destination. I even got great feedback from peers who thought I had a pretty solid plan. Alas, like any good idea, without the time and team to dedicate to it…that’s all it is…an idea.
Step back a little over 6 months ago I came across productwiki.com which while it wasn’t modeled specifically to target the features I had envisioned, was promising in that it was laying the foundation to possibly evolve in that direction. I poked around a bit and it was pretty neat but I thought still needed much work. Fast forward to about a month ago and I decided to re-visit the site. I spent quite a bit of time on the site and was pretty impressed. It had come a long way since I had last visited. I spent some time interacting with the site and got an email the next day notifying me that user Erik left a comment on my profile. I recognized him as he was one of the founders / co-developers of the site who along with Omar and Amanie are very active contributors as well.
Later that night I left a message on Erik’s profile page and we have since struck up a friendship based on our common passion for a product based community site. We’ve had several interesting discussions and I feel that given the time and dedication that this talented team has put in so far, I feel productwiki.com has the potential of becoming the best product based community on the web. I urge you to visit and explore for yourself. See you there!