At the recent Digital Hollywood conference, I met with Tom Gerace, CEO of Gather.com. Gather is a social network focused on the over 30 crowd and with a tagline of “The Best Conversation Online”. The social network is oriented by topics such a politics, music, cooking and movies with strong incentives for users to create posts on these topics. The site gives people on the network “Gather Points” for participating. These points can be cashed in for gift cards at Starbucks, Target and Amazon.
The site has been quite successful recruiting members and now has 2 million users.
Tom and I had a great conversation about Gather and what they are doing to make the site a success. I was especially intrigued by their use of social campaigns as a way to monetize the social network. In these campaigns, users are recruited to try products and then write about them. Tom describes how that leads other people in the network to also get involved, try the product and write about it. It’s an interesting idea that looks like it could be adopted by other people who have built communities.
This is an example of one more great way to turn a community into an economy.