Paid Groups and the Passion Economy

October 20, 2019


This post was originally published as a Twitter thread.


In the next few years, I believe we’ll see more large communities moving off major social platforms where they originated and setting up their own independent properties with built-in direct monetization models.

This is a fascinating example of the Passion Economy at work.

Some notable recent examples:

  • Earlier this year, the 800,000-member subreddit Change My View, which promotes discourse around opposing viewpoints, launched its own website with custom features that go beyond Reddit’s capabilities.
  • The Woolfer, a Facebook group for women over 40 with 30,000 members, moved to a paid app/website. The reason? “This is a volunteer-run organization that has gotten too big, and we can’t sustain it anymore unless we make money.” (h/t @juliey4’s great thread)

The themes behind these moves to a dedicated property are:

  • Outgrowing existing social platforms and needing additional product features specific to their community
  • Lack of monetization options/viable business model for group creators on existing ad-driven social platforms
  • In addition, various models have de-risked what consumers are willing to pay for curated, high-quality content/community (e.g. Substack, The Wing, etc).

The challenge will be to leverage existing horizontal social platforms for discovery and distribution while giving a compelling enough value proposition so that power users move to a narrower, premium community.

It’s the “1,000 True Fans” idea in action.

What are other examples you’ve seen of this? I want to hear them: [email protected].


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