Online Community Research Network: Our Research Agenda

Cross-posted from the Online Community Report:

Over the last 3 years we’ve conducted research with over a 1000 organizations actively engaged with online communties, including Fortune 500 companies, cutting edge community-based startups and some of the world’s leading non-profit organizations.

We are currently conducting 6 studies annually, and we typically release the research reports (for a limited time).

Currently available (free) research reports include:
Identity, Reputation & Ranking:
The Identity, Reputation & Ranking research project studied current practice with online identity, member reputation (including reputation systems and programs) and content ranking techniques.
Key findings from the study include:
– Members typically don’t fill out non-required profile fields;
– Slightly less than 1/3 of the respondents (32%) have, or plan on making member’s profiles portable in the next 6 months;
– Slightly less than 1/3 of the respondents (32%) have, or plan on implementing a universal ID solution in the next 6 months;
– The majority of respondents have, or are developing a reputation system for their communities.
Download this report (free).

Online Community Revenue and ROI Techniques:
The Online Community Revenue and ROI Techniques research project studied revenue streams of online communities as well as monetary and non-monetary measurements of value.
Key findings from the study include:
– Respondents generally valued non-fiduciary dimensions of value, like loyalty, over direct revenue.
– The most effective revenue generating techniques were advertising and charging for community subscription.
– A member-first attitude is needed when considering the addition of fee-based or revenue-generating services. The best way to find out what your members do or don’t want? Ask them.
Download this report (free).

Marketing & Online Communities:
The Marketing & Online Communities research project was intended to study the intersection of current marketing practices and online community building.
Key takeaways from the study include:
– A list of community marketing tactics that community hosts engage in;
– Feedback on the most effective marketing tactics;
– Host policies that marketers must adhere to;
Download this report (free).

Research Reports Available to OCRN Members:
Online Community: Marketing, Growth and Engagement Report / July 2008 (also available for purchase)
Online Community ROI: Models and Reports / February 2008
Online Community ROI Research Report / April 2007
Online Community Metrics: February, 2007
Online Community Metrics: Best Practices Survey / March 2006
Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces: June 2006

Our Research Calendar for this quarter includes:

Online Community Compensation (team structure, titles and compensation packages from over 250 community professionals): to be published August 2008
Community Vendor Satisfaction (Platform & Services): to be published September 2008

In addition to all the research reports, OCRN members get an active say in steering the research agenda, and also help shape the research instruments.

To find out more about the OCRN, please feel free to ping me.

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