I had a chance to grab coffee last week with Michael Chin of KickApps. KickApps is one of the vendors that provides a turnkey solution to build communities. The company is about 60+ people based in New York with regional sales offices in Los Angeles. They have about 7000+ communities up and running according to Michael. He showed me a demo of one of their communities (thablock of HipHopMusicDotCom).
1. Offering: Hosted solution with a good set of features / capabilities
2. Target Vertical Market: Media (publishing). Most small and regional newspapers / magazines & individual publishers are looking to build communities around the content they offer. KickApps is looking to target these accounts.
3. KickApps Pricing: 2 models exist currently:
- Using the KickApps Ad Network – No fee. They place banner and you can place your own skyscraper ads (Top and Left Column)
- You run your own ads and pay fees to KickApps based on CPM (per thousand views) – if you want to control your own advertising
4. KickApps Competition: While Jive and Leverage focus on Enterprise clients, Ning on consumer markets, KickApps sees Pluck (customer at USA Today) mostly in their competitive situations.
Since the original vision was towards empowering media companies to allow their users to connect and communicate, the theme of “rich media support” including videos, audio, etc. is evident within the KickApps product. Its a pretty easy to use and intuitive. Its well integrated with WordPress and they have a developer platform for API integration.
Useful Information: On the same lines as our 10 step checklist to building a successful community, KickApps put a 9 steps to a successful online community whitepaper. While simplistic & not much new news, it reinforces some key traits of good communities:
Summary of 9 steps:
1. Define purpose and audience of community
2. Get a community manager (easier said than done, ask communityguy. com
3. Choose the right technology
4. Seed community with great content
5. Customize the look and feel
6. Promote the community
7. Encourage active participation
8. Manage your community with consistency
9. Listen and optimize
<img style="width: 350px; height: 225px;" src="/images/64360-56413/hiphop1.png” border=”0″ height=”305″ width=”700″>
Credit: Michele Hadburg from Bateman Group setting up the discussion with Michael.