Creating and Maintaining Online Communities
Creating and sustaining virtual communities directly associated with your company and its products can be an invaluable way of promoting your web site and the products or services that it sells.
Controlling The Message
Unlike using existing online communties, if you host your own, you can strongly influence or directly control the messages exchanged within the community.
Creating and Maintaining Communities Can Be Expensive
It’s only really worth it, if members are sufficiently motivated to sustain the group themselves, or if the company attaches sufficient value to direct and intensive communication with a compact customer base.
Mailing lists can provide the best ratio of investment to revenue, but typically have the lowest spin-off effects in the wider community. They are particularly useful for selling to stable customer communities, directing them to your lower cost web distribution channel and away from expensive offices or call centres.
Unless they cross-link with other groups, they will not be good at improving your general web visibility.