Blog - UGAL
April 30, 2009
Business models have changed with the web. Before the web, everything had a price. Many services are now free on the web: email is free, creating a blog is free, hosting videos is free, Facebook is free etc... No need to purchase Windows of Microsoft Office anymore, open source alternatives (Linux and Openoffice.org) are available for free. So called "Pirates" watch the latest movies days before their release date... for free.
The funny thing is that many of the companies offering everything for free are very well valuated: $15 billions for Facebook at the time Microsoft took some shares (much less now). Venture capitalists inject money in companies that offer only free services as well.
All those services look alike (they are free) and it is not always easy to decrypt the various offerings, including the ones like UGAL which are not free. Different times, different business models. Some are viable, other much less. Here is a quick look.
April 7, 2009
We just launched forums on UGAL, and we think that they can be a game changer in terms of functionalities that they bring to your website. Think of them as content written to your website by visitors you might not know. If your forum becomes busy enough, it will be a prime source of new traffic to your website - a very good thing.
There is however a big issue with the forums: they are empty at first. Besides the initial "Welcome to the forums, please stay polite" discussion traditionally posted by the admin, there is nothing to see. And with nothing to see, chances that your visitors will start a new discussion are very slim. Pretty much the chicken and the egg question, and it all comes down to how to start building an online community.
Here are a few ideas on how to start a forum and give it some (if not good) chances of success.