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Wow... I can't visit the site (iPhone) but I read the rules. Or tried to. They're an orgasm of legalese well beyond any reasonable need. My personal fav is the entire section saying that all content you put on the site is property of the company, to do with as they please. Makes the sign up form a privacy give-away.


Richard - thanks for this. Being able to categorically show clients how it shouldn't be done is a really helpful way of convincing them how it needs to be done.

I think your generic statement about marketing agencies is harsh though. Some of us aren't as daft as others ;-)

Richard Millington

It was a little harsh, that's true.

Here's the deal. I'll open it to anyone. Show me a few successful online communities created and ran by marketing agencies.


I think that Richard (above) is right - this community was built by a marketing company that is founded in building brochure websites for car companies. It's a good example of how misunderstood online communities are for many companies.

Rather then focus purely on the negative, I like to spin things like this into the positive to figure out what they're doing right - knowing that they're doing just about everything wrong. I've found that there is a lot of value in figuring out what efforts like this stumble upon. Nothing is every *all* bad and what's good in a bad product can be revolutionary when combined with a good product.

Richard Millington

What's good about it?

Josh Grossman

Richard - I enjoyed and agree with most of the blog post. But, 2 comments:

1 - sometimes blocking a site by requiring registration is effective to communicate exclusivity, eg.

2. to your challenge of showing a great community developed by a marketing agency, I believe this one was, and is very succesful:


I loved the qualifying questions - 'what year were you born in?' has a list up to 1975 and then a 'Before 1975'. Guess what? I'm over 35 and I didn't make the cut. But if I'd wanted to get in, those questions would have been senseless.

T&Cs are very welcoming. :D


Thank you so much Richard for the info. I always read your posts and am trying to use your tips. However is here any tip you can give to a "ne-Woman-Army"? lol I have a community and I would love to take it to the next level. Unfortunately I do it all alone and can always use some good advice :)


Charlotte Beckett

Hi Rich

Great thoughts as always. I would agree with Wayan that not all us marketers are bad! The fact this is supposed to be a community aside, it's also an incredibly badly designed site. Why Flash? Not very accessible. Where's any basic nav? (I could only find a log in, then the infamous rules - no option to register).

I agree that some form of registration is useful but needs to be put in context. What are you doing with my info? If it's only the under 35s, tell folk before they start the process. Weird cut off point too - perhaps the premise of the site could be explained.

All in all, makes me glad I've chosen the partners I've chosen to develop Gives me more time to concentrate on the hard part: establishing the community. That's where the marketing skills should come in.



Hi again Richard, could not resist commenting on this one...

This is a prime example of objectives getting muddied with "bingo, let's build a community". This is the classical "wrapper" I was referring to in my post.

There is no instant gratification, the brand's intentions are a complete yard sale on the registration and all of this for what?? I'm assuming the end goal here would have been to get some crowd sourcing. Much easier to accomplish without the use of a community all together. Leveraging existing channels and communities may have been one of many smarter tactics.

It's not always the agency's fault, it's the assumption that a community is the panacea to all marketing challenges.

The worst part is that this initiative will probably keep hemorrhaging as they analyze the low engagement to throw more resources into "fixing it".

This, by the way is not an attack on communities, it's a commentary on the misuse of them.

Will England

Copy-pasta'd in its entirety (with linkback) so our marketing folks get to see your post!

We've had this happen before - community 'micro-sites' with flash driven odd-interface stuff. We've seen it fail to work. We've also seen low-end basic interfaces take off like rockets with huge participation and collaboration.

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