Posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 by Michael
When I read this piece in TechCrunch the other day, the similarities to Front Porch Forum‘s (FPF’s) model added up.
WeAre.Us wants to help. It is a platform of 16 social networks that connect people with chronic illnesses.
FPF’s pilot is a platform of 130 online neighborhood forums.
In contrast to health platforms… which serve as a contact point for health-related topics of any kind, WeAre.Us connects people affected by severe illnesses only… rather than create an all-encompassing site, WeAre.Us decided to take more of a niche social network approach.
FPF focuses on neighbor connection and not in generating its own content. We’re neighborhood social networks.
The subsites… run on the same core engine but are independent from each other.
FPF neighborhood forums stand alone but all run on the same engine.
WeAre.Us tries to avoid Ning-like scattering effects by allowing users to create communities only if more more than 1,000 members can be expected… The approach seems to work: While Ning has over 50 Crohn’s-based (mostly inactive) micro social networks, for example, WeAre.Us’ single Crohn’s community boasts over 2,000 members… expecting to pass the 10,000 member mark this month (for all of WeAre.Us).
I recall a site somewhat similar to FPF that boasted 5,000 neighborhood groups across North America… and only 10,000 members… sounds like the Ning example. FPF currently has 11,000 subscribers in its pilot area of 60,000 households, including one-third of Burlington, VT.
CMO Robert Patterson says another differentiator is the active, individualized support the company provides all WeAre.Us members.
FPF offers hands-on community management and customer service.