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Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities Paperback – 5 Apr 2000

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press (5 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201874849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201874846
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 17.8 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 764,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Amazon Review

There's been a marked shift in the philosophy of developing successful Web sites. The technologies (HTML, JavaScript, JavaServer Pages) no longer occupy centre stage. Rather, functional objectives and the communities that grow up around them seem to be the main ingredient in Web site success. In her carefully reasoned and well-written Community Building on the Web, Amy Jo Kim explains why communities form and grow. More importantly, she shows (with references to many examples) how you can make your site a catalyst for community growth--and profit in the process. From marketing schemes like Amazon.com's Associates program to The Motley Fool's system of rating members' bulletin-board postings, this book covers all the popular strategies for bringing people in and retaining them.

Nine core strategies form the foundation of Kim's recommendations for site builders, serving as the organisational backbone of this book. The strategies generally make sense, and they seem to apply to all kinds of communities, cyber and otherwise. (One advocates the establishment of regular events around which community life can organise itself.) Some parts of Kim's message may seem like common sense, but such a coherent discussion of what defines a community and how it can be made to thrive is still helpful.

Read this book to help crystallise your thinking about community building, and to review strategies that work for real sites already. --David Wall, Amazon.com

From the Back Cover

What's the point of creating a great Web site if no one goes there-or worse, if people come but never return? How do some sites, such as America Online, EBay, and GeoCities, develop into Internet communities with loyal followings and regular repeat traffic? How can Web page designers and developers create sites that are vibrant and rewarding?

Amy Jo Kim, author of Community Building on the Web and consultant to some of the most successful Internet communities, is an expert at teaching how to design sites that succeed by making new visitors feel welcome, rewarding member participation, and building a sense of their own history. She discusses important design strategies, interviews influential Web community-builders, and provides the reader with templates and questionnaires to use in building their own communities.

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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Sept. 2004
Format: Paperback
Although this book is designed for those who create on-line communities, it will be equally useful to those who are thinking of establishing a community, those who would like to improve the one they have, and those who are looking for valuable communities to join. That's a lot from one book!
As the author says, "This book is a strategic handbook for community builders." It espouses 9 design strategies:
(1) Define and articulate your PURPOSE
(2) Build flexible, extensible gathering PLACES
(3) Create meaningful and evolving member PROFILES
(4) Design for a range of ROLES
(5) Develop a strong LEADERSHIP program
(6) Encourage appropriate ETIQUETTE
(7) Promotic cyclic EVENTS
(8) Integrate the RITUALS of community life
(9) Facilitate member-run SUBGROUPS
The book also proposes 3 design principles:
(1) Design for growth and change
(2) Create and maintain feedback loops
(3) Empower your members over time
Each of the design strategies has its own chapter. There is also a good structure to propose questions to answer. In addition, you also will find excellent examples of existing Web sites, some of which will be new to you. Not only are the sites discussed, but they are also illustrated with many actual Web pages. I have missed that in many other books about the Internet. This one provides and makes superb use of its visual examples!
I thought that the best practice examples worked, because each one was better than any other feature that I have seen at another Web site.
Also, the author provides a Web site so that you can keep up-to-date with her latest insights and to share information.
But to me the best part of the book were the many astute, rich comparisons of on-line communities to real world communities. Ms.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This the bible for every web community builder.
It does have his own space under a glass bubble on his personal shelf in my library. And I know everyone working in the web community business consider Amy Jo Kim either God or Mum.
If you have anything to do with web communities and you have not read it yet, you have a lot to learn from that book.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book and should be read by anyone thinking about building an online community using web based technologies. Amy Jo is a true expert in this field, and in this book she shares her years of experience as an online community builder.
How do you host/moderate an online community? How do you encourage the growth of community leaders? How do you create a business model to best utilise your community? What technologies are useful, and when? -- You'll find answers to these and many other questions here.
Robin Hamman - Communities Evangelist.....
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Format: Paperback
A must for any Community developer, Amy Jo's style made it very easy to read and understand. Fantastic examples throughout the book, read the book cover to cover in one sitting. If you're thinking of starting an Online Community, here would be a very good place to start.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x951bbda4) out of 5 stars 32 reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92e237d4) out of 5 stars From Mindjack 4 May 2000
By Dot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Amy Jo Kim's long-awaited book, Community Building on the Webarrived on my desk recently. I build online communities, so I'malways drinking in any information that comes down the pipe. The onebig plus that is apparent in the initial few pages of the book, is that this is a good starting point for those with no prior community-building experience. It's not that the book doesn't deliver much richer information -it does. What Amy Jo's book doesn't take for granted, is that there is a large audience out there of people who want and really need to start from square one.
Even before the book actually starts, the roman-numeraled introduction delivers Nine Design Strategies. #1 is Define and Articulate Your Purpose. Bang, that's enough to slow some people in their tracks and make them actually think about what they want to do. Three Underlying Principles are then introduced. For anyone actually involved in community building, just the information given in the introduction is more than worth the price of the book.
Chapter 1 draws on and expands the information presented in the introduction. Amy Jo even uses Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, presenting concepts to make sure the community member's basic needs are met before offering "higher-level" features. Something which is surprisingly often overlooked.
What I like about this book, is that it's void of academic and sociological, highbrow rhetoric. I thought it was quite subtle and interesting that Amy Jo's Ph.D. title is not displayed on the book. Instead, it delivers page after page of nuts n' bolts information on how to actually design, build and manage web communities. And before the building even starts, a lot of thinking has to take place. This book will get the motors running. If the reader's desire is still there after working through the "pull-no-punches" first chapter, then there's good reason to explore community building further. On the other hand, if the reader finds the wind knocked out of their sails, they'd have Amy Jo to thank for that too. No sense in investing a lot of time and energy if it turns out that a community venture idea never even makes it out of the gate.
One thing the author really has going for her, with her ten years of community-building experience, is that she's worked in a lot of virtual environments -and that is clearly reflected in the contents. From MUD's, to The Palace to eBay, each environment has it's own set of positives and negatives, and those are all well-covered.
The meat of the book delivers a well-rounded arsenal on community leadership, membership roles and rites of passage, etiquette, community growth stages, and even Event Planning 101.
The one aspect that might be missed by some is more actual case-history examples. In some ways, I actually found this refreshing, because there are more than enough web-community books on the market that cover those bases. If anyone is actually thinking of getting involved in building communities, they'll soon find themselves reading Cliff Figallo's Hosting Web Communities, and of course, the classic The Virtual Community by Howard Rheingold. (A second addition of Rheingold's book will be released soon by MIT Press.)
There are certainly more web community books [see our recommended links included with this article], but if there is one book to pick up first, Community Building on the Web, by Amy Jo Kim, is the one. END
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92e237b0) out of 5 stars Building Community? Save thousands of $ and read this book! 25 May 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities" raises the bar in the online communities field.
I've been in the Virtual Communities business for almost 25 years. During those years, everyone pretty much had to build their online communities by the seat of their pants. We were usually cursed to commit the same mistakes that so many others had encountered along the way. Many times communities would seem to run well for months, and then they would become popular, and then fail! Other times, otherwise interesting communities would languish for lack of a clear "Mission Statement" or poorly managed Terms of Service. In short, there was very little benefiting from other people's successes and failures.
This book changes all of that, forever! (Thank goodness!)
Amy Jo Kim brings together all of the fundamental building blocks needed to create a solid foundation for a successful web-based community. She provides the intellectual planning tools you need to help you understand what your community is about, how it will function, and how to help it grow.
If you don't understand online communities, this is THE book that will help you "get it."
Save yourself the first $3,000 of Community Web Site consulting, buy this book instead and use it!
This book instantly became required reading at my company, Communities.com. It immediately started saving us staff training time!
F. Randall Farmer Cofounder, Communities.com
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92e23a14) out of 5 stars Superb Sociological Insights into On-Line Communities! 12 Sept. 2000
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although this book is designed for those who create on-line communities, it will be equally useful to those who are thinking of establishing a community, those who would like to improve the one they have, and those who are looking for valuable communities to join. That's a lot from one book!
As the author says, "This book is a strategic handbook for community builders." It espouses 9 design strategies:
(1) Define and articulate your PURPOSE
(2) Build flexible, extensible gathering PLACES
(3) Create meaningful and evolving member PROFILES
(4) Design for a range of ROLES
(5) Develop a strong LEADERSHIP program
(6) Encourage appropriate ETIQUETTE
(7) Promotic cyclic EVENTS
(8) Integrate the RITUALS of community life
(9) Facilitate member-run SUBGROUPS
The book also proposes 3 design principles:
(1) Design for growth and change
(2) Create and maintain feedback loops
(3) Empower your members over time
Each of the design strategies has its own chapter. There is also a good structure to propose questions to answer. In addition, you also will find excellent examples of existing Web sites, some of which will be new to you. Not only are the sites discussed, but they are also illustrated with many actual Web pages. I have missed that in many other books about the Internet. This one provides and makes superb use of its visual examples!
I thought that the best practice examples worked, because each one was better than any other feature that I have seen at another Web site.
Also, the author provides a Web site so that you can keep up-to-date with her latest insights and to share information.
But to me the best part of the book were the many astute, rich comparisons of on-line communities to real world communities. Ms. Kim has obviously done a great job of thinking through important fundamental questions about what is possible on-line. Her thinking is obviously in flux. It seems to be pointing to a world where on-line and off-line will have few distinctions, as we relate to many of the same people in both modes. I liked her comparison of how we think about telephone calls compared to other communications methods.
After you have read this book, I suggest you also reexamine your business model in terms of how it could be improved by merging with your customers in the kind of rich off-line and on-line communities that are described in this excellent book. These communities can be powerful irresistible forces to power your growth forward.
May you find the on-line community that expands your life in many useful ways!
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92e260cc) out of 5 stars Best book by far for online community building 7 Jun. 2001
By S. Lichtman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm an independent consultant on interactive technologies and web community building. I've read a number of books and articles giving advice about online communities, and none comes close to matching Amy Jo Kim's. Her book is the most exceptional in integrating human and technical considerations; describing how sites can launch, expand and evolve; giving lots of first-hand examples; and being an easy, fun read. I get the sense from her Naima company site that she's on the leading edge for design and technical approaches.
I'm personally working now with communities for performing artists and software developers. This book is the only one I'm willing to carry with me on all my customer consulting visits.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92e26078) out of 5 stars Great depth on an important site task 20 Jan. 2001
By David Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Back in 1996 and 1997, the notion of Internet "communities" fuelled the dreams of entrepreneurs. These communities let groups of people come together on-line to share common interests and needs - on Web discussion boards, in email lists, in chat rooms and many other virtual spaces. Books like John Hagel & Arthur Armstrong's "Net Gain" (look it up in the Amazon search box) touted the marketing riches awaiting those who could inject commercial aims into such communities. Firms like iVillage built clutches of "community" sites in an effort to cash in on the riches. GeoCities, Blue Mountain Arts and even AOL found they could inflate already bloated valuations by flaunting their "community" credentials.
Then came the March-April dot-com bust - and the commercial Web community boom was over before it had really begun. As 2000 went on, site after site admitted that whatever "community" they had, it hadn't created much cash.
Lousy timing for Amy Jo Kim, a student of the art of building true Web communities who in April 2000 published "Community Building on the Web". Kim started working with virtual communities back before the boom or the bust, back before virtual communities were even sexy. Holder of a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience, she's worked at software giant Sun and movie giant Paramount, and her consulting work has taken her to AOL, Origin (the frirm behind Ultima Online) and eBay. She lectures on the design of online communities at Stanford. She knows her stuff. Now she's laid it out in a 352-page recipe for managing the human issues of a virtual community.
To Kim, online communities grow like ecosystems, or at least gardens. The successful community-builder, Kim argues, must do three things:
* design for unpredictable growth and change
* to manage that change, make sure to listen to feedback on the community's wants and needs, and respond
* as the community grows, let members play an ever-larger role in building and maintaining the community culture
Kim calls these three points - design for growth, create feedback loops, cede power to members - her three underlying principles.
Hagel & Armstrong argued for the same organic management style in Net Gain. But Kim spells out in exhaustive detail just how it should be done, without making unsupportable claims about its business value. This book targets a limited audience. Doubtless as a result of her work with huge clients, Kim focuses on the issues of very complex, expensive, high-traffic community sites. Readers trying to jump-start a small site will profit from seeing how the big US players do it, but you may also feel overwhelmed. The relentless prose doesn't suit light reading; you could call this volume "749 policies for managing community members".
But the narrowness of the work is also its strength. Kim doesn't provide big-picture strategic advice. She doesn't offer hints on technology deployment or usability. She has nothing to say on taking your community-based web site to an IPO, or even measuring a community's commercial success. Her focus remains at all times on the social aspects of community development.
And despite the intentional absence of big-picture thinking, "Community Building on the Web" does suggest something of the Web medium's evolving nature. It suggests, indeed, that most online communities will continue to be finely-balanced mixes of corporate and individual goals, often labor-intensive, built on a mixture of paid and volunteer effort, only partially responsive to their creators' control.
Hagel & Armstrong believed this back in 1997, but they also believed that community would bring commercial triumph. Thus, they believed, the online community would become in large part a business activity. In the more sober environment of 2001, it seems more likely that most online communities will continue to be nurtured by enthusiasts rather than corporate staff. Community specialists in either type of organisation will gain much from Kim's work.
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