The Currency of the Internet

In the early 90s, two software engineers by the names of Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith started a free email service called Hotmail. A few short years later, Microsoft purchased Hotmail for $400 million. Do you think Microsoft couldn't build it's own email server and give away free emails? Of course, they could. So why pay $400 Million? For the community that came along with Bill Gates understood early on that when you combine the power of the Internet with a large user community base, miracles can happen.

Microsoft was the one of the first companies to realize the value of a community, but not the last.
  • Google bought YouTube for $1.65 Billion.
  • Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace for $580 million.
  • Groupon, LinkedIn, Yelp and Facebook recently launched billion dollar IPOs each, with Facebook (Valued @ $100 Billion) leading the pack.

Community is not just the currency of the Internet, but the future. The most successful businesses have learnt how to built and sustain a community of loyal fans around them.

So, how exactly does building a community help a business become successful?
  • It reduces your marketing costs.
  • It reduces new customer acquisition costs.
  • Word of Mouth soars high.
  • Sometimes your community will also help you solve customer service problems.
  • It increases repeat sales.
  • And, much more.
If you don't own a business but still want to build an online community, you absolutely can. It is not that difficult. All you need is a good attitude, some perseverance and the ability to work hard and smart.

Next Friday, I will write about how to build a community of your own on the Internet. Until then, post your thoughts on this article. What do you think of community as being the currency of the future?
And like they say in Afrikaans,

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