Managing Greatness Founder Gil Reich on Community Websites

Pubcon video content producer Vanessa Zamora sat down with Gil Reich, founder at Managing Greatness, a company providing Web solutions and search marketing consulting for community websites. Reich was a founding member at Answers.com in 1999, a website which grew to one of top 20 most visited websites in the United States. Reich attributed Answers.com success first to the mere power of being a community-driven website, but also by way of the moderator team who established their presence early on, got volunteers to join, and all agreed and elected to abide by website guidelines. It took a core group of people committed to making it grow, Reich added.

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During Pubcon Las Vegas 2011 Reich spoke on managing user-generated content and described the four key tensions that communities face in his presentation. Working within the social context versus the market context is important to ensure a community-driven website remains applicable to the community, Reich shared, adding the example of Mahalo, a website that tried to introduce money into the game and failed because the decision was market-based. Another point Reich made was the importance of ensuring that tribal elders and newbies are equally represented within the community. Reich used Wikipedia as an example of a website where the tribal elders make it difficult for any newbies to enter the picture. Not sacrificing quality for quantity is another important point to remember when managing user-generated content, according to Reich.

Reich commented on the latest Google update saying he feels Google has made some nice moves recently by judging a website by the whole, not just by an individual page. As Google has continued to make improvements, so has the Internet industry as it responds by building content that Googlers want, Reich shared.

Over the next year Reich said he thinks it will be interesting to see whether Google, Facebook or Apple emerges as the most popular social media firm. As social and search continue to come together it will be interesting to see how everything unfolds, Reich concluded.