I was struck by this report about The WELL being sold.
"As other online communities and social networks emerged over the years, The Well's subscriber base dwindled to 2,693, which did not bear financial promise," the company explained in its June filing."
Each user pays $100 - $150 per year. That is $269,300 - $403,950 per year in revenue. This isn't huge by many organization's standards, but given the relatively low overheads with managing 2,693 members - it should be good enough for an entrepreneurial community manager.
Many community managers refrain from creating paid online communities. I don't understand this. You can develop a business model, target fewer members, and gain in-built exclusivity.
Given the choice between this and advertising as a revenue stream, which would you pick?