If you’re going to take on the ENORMOUS burden of developing, and then managing, a new Social Network, certainly one of the dilemmas you’ll face is how to monetize the venture. No cash .. No community. As a case in point, we’re about ready to launch a new Social Network for Real Estate Investors ourself (six months in the making) and an insane number of hours, just recently, have been spent on decisions revolving around this very topic.
There is a tactic that MAY be tempting but should be avoided at ALL COSTS. It’s the ol’ “bait and switch”.
Imagine signing up for a new social network and within just a few days you’re notified by the site administrator that you’ve had three visits to your page – with a convenient link to go to your home page. Cool! Now, imagine your chagrin when you click through to interact with these three new ‘friends’ to find that the link provided by the site administrator leads you first to a page that asks you if you want to upgrade to a paid account … NOT your home page. YIKES! THEN when you do get to your home page, one of the three visitors was the site administrator pitching the exact same upgrade!
This is exactly what happened to me yesterday with the Naymz network. I liken this to me driving home with the sole purpose of visiting a friend and encountering a roadblock from a sleazy sales person. After stopping my car to kindly saying no to this person and continuing on my merry way, I find that he’s pitching me again in my living room! WTF! Imagine what you’d want to do to this person in the ‘real world.’
As my Texan brother would say, boy-howdy does it make me wonder what other sales tactics might be coming my way. Had the offer been displayed in a side bar or even a pop-up (eww), I wouldn’t be nearly as upset. Take a look at the screen shots to see what I mean. Now granted it’s jussssst one little click (and I’m sure that’s what they told themselves to justify this decision) … but they’ve lost an enormous amount of my trust and even drove me to write this post.[Refer to yesterday’s post on trust to read about my view on the importance of that topic.]