Checklist: Thinking about white label social networking?

Via High Touch I came across Jeremiah Owyang’s: A Checklist: Before you select that White Label Social Networking Site

It ought to be required reading for every marketing exec or entrepreneur thinking of starting a “myspace for _____” or “facebook for _______.” (OK, maybe not fair to pick on marketing there – any exec thinking of doing such a thing).

Key questions he provides:

  1. What business problem are you trying to fix? What’s broken? What does success look like (without mentioning features)
  2. There are different tools for different problems, Are you sure a Social Networking site will fix this?
  3. Where are your community/market/users currently?
  4. Not sure? Then look again, don’t proceed farther until you find them.
  5. Have you considered joining that community before creating your own? You know of the Walmart 10 week fiasco right? Trying to recreate MySpace doesn’t make sense because it already exists.
  6. How open/closed to you want your community? Think about long term, does it scale?
  7. What incentive are you creating with this SoNet that will drive users to your site and share?
  8. How do you plan to kick start your community, you know that just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come
  9. Consider joining the Web Strategy Group in Facebook to meet other web decision makers, you’ll be able to ask questions in the forum.
  10. Leave a comment below if you’ve suggestions.

OK, so numbers 4, 9, and 10 aren’t really questions, but 1-3 and 5-8 are dead on.

A few I’d add:

  1. What is your plan to manage / moderate the community’s activities assuming a large community arises? What terms of service / acceptable behavior guidelines will you rely on, and how will they be enforced / cultivated?
  2. How will you involve people outside your organization but from within the target community? What will you do to actively recruit, encourage, and even potentially incent “good” user behavior from your target community?
  3. Consider assembling the community on a platform of open source software rather than licensing a commercial package or renting a service. You’ll get the rapid time to market of buying or renting but also the ability to customize in order to create a differentiated experience.

Ok, maybe the last one’s a bit of a pitch . . .

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