Turning Online Community to Business
Quentin’s Friends is part of a growing group of small online communities that started as hobbies but are evolving into viable small businesses. While these niche sites don’t attract as much attention as social-networking standouts like MySpace and Craig’s List, they are demonstrating that even small players have the potential to become profitable if they establish a community that others will want to be a part of.
Charlene Li, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Foster City, Calif., says niche sites can succeed because there’s a pent-up demand for sites that cater to specific interests and demographic groups. They are “filling the gap left by giant sites like MySpace,” which are so big that it can be hard for users to find information and like-minded people, she says.