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Hackernoon logoCommunity-as-a-Service Concept: How You Can Monetize Access by@lijin

Community-as-a-Service Concept: How You Can Monetize Access

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@lijinLi Jin

I am an Investment Partner at Andreessen Horowitz focused on the Consumer sector

As consumers desire greater control over how they spend their attention, an emerging biz model will be paying for ongoing access to *people*โ€“or what Iโ€™ll call โ€œCommunity-as-a-Service.โ€

Thereโ€™s now lots of subscription services for high-quality premium content (Substack for newsletters; Knowable & Luminary for audio, etc). But for creators who lack the ability to sell something tangible, Community-as-a-Service enables monetizing *time* and *access*.

Examples of Communities-as-a-Service:

  • Tools like InviteRobot & LaunchPass enable paid Slack groups
  • Knowledge Planet in China allows KOLs to create paid groups & interact w/ subscribers
  • Video games: people pay for status & attention in communities like Twitch, Fortnite, etc

The Community-as-a-Service model can combine paid subscriptions for
access to the community itself, and tipping to express support/appreciation (including admins tipping community members for
valuable contributions!).

Not every community can successfully charge for access. The paid model works best when thereโ€™s high intentionality (the community is a destination), desire for recognition within the community, peer-to-peer
affinity & interactions, and potential for ongoing exchange of value.

For fans, the value prop is meaningful conversations and connection with each other and deeper engagement w/ someone they have affinity for. For creators, the benefit is being able to earn money and engage with
fans, without having to produce something.

Deeper trends driving this:

  • Creators have amassed audiences but lack ways to monetize it in a value-aligned way (not ads)
  • Desire for creators to own user relationships directly
  • Move towards curated micro-communities
  • Value of experience over things

Originally published as โ€œCommunity-as-a-Service, or how to monetize access"

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