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Website Participation Inequality

Well, I was browsing my way around several websites (mostly webpage design and broadly related stuff), and I happened upon this gem:

Website Participation Inequality: by Jakob Neilsen's Alertbox, October 9th, 2006

I'll quote a pertinent section:


Written by: Jakob Nielsen

In most online systems, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.

My first thought was "Wow sounds like me on several forums.". And my second thought was "Wow sounds like just about every forum that I've ever seen.".

Now before I continue (bear with me please Laughing) I thought I would add that when I joined this forum I was impressed with the basic idea behind frihosting--you have to join in to reap the benefits. From a strictly advertising standpoint this makes perfect sense. Also being a member of several hobby related forums I say the least about the possibility of there being an abundance of quality discussion. Because, let's face it, even on a targeted forum the useless fluff and spam usually drown out the quality content. So you can imagine my surprise when I started browsing the forums and found some semblance of order (well moderated and helpful members to boot!).

This made me sit back for a couple of minutes and take a hard look at my own posting habits. Yes, I obviously want the free hosting otherwise I wouldn't be here, but I'm usually a semi-regular poster on most (all) of the forums that I frequent. I could probably skate by with the bare minimum of posting, and that's honestly what I found myself doing Embarassed . Now though I think I'll try to contribute more--I never considered myself a lurker before, I like to think of myself a quality over quantity kinda guy. Thinking back though I realise I can usually contribute more than I do.

Sorry about that going off on a tangent like that.

What surprises me most is that Frihost takes the "Membership Required" website that I usually avoid like the plague, and succeeds with it admirably. Honestly I'm impressed. Now I realise that this could have easily gone in the marketing forum. But I thought that it was interesting enough from a basic design standpoint (member retention) to merit posting here.

What are your thoughts?
Do you post differently here on Frihost than you do on other forums?
Do any of the members who use this technique on their own forums find it successful?
I read that article too and thought of Frihost. I'd be curious to find out if the same 90%-9%-1% exists here. It seems to me it must be somewhere closer to 20%-75%-5% which is really different than sites that Jakob Nielsen looked at. I do post more on this site because of the free hosting and I want to help other webmasters make great websites.

I hope that through my comments (mainly in the Design and Advertise your website sections) people are able to look at their sites from different perspectives and use that to design better looking and better working web sites.
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