When we started the 9rules Network we always envisioned a place where readers could come to find the best content from the independent web and that’s why we consider ourselves a content network first and foremost. Others wanted to label us as a blog network or blog ring, but getting into semantics isn’t really the point, the point is to connect readers with writers and vice versa.
Version 1 did this in a very generic way. If you wanted to know what was happening in the Network you had a very, very broad view of what was going on. You never knew what niches were being updated or who even fit within those niches, but you were able to randomly see entries and which sites were in the Network. Still, it never even came close to what our vision of the Network should be.
Version 2 improved upon things a bit more by removing the long list of sites and replacing it with tags. With the large number of sites in the Network it was still a chore however to get to the subjects you like and see what was happening most recently in that topic. Also the problem was no longer finding the sites, but actually finding the content you want. It’s great knowing that you can go to 9rules to find great content, but wouldn’t it be even better to find great content on Religion without having to troll through 100 sites?
Enter 9rules Communities.
Now you if you like the 9r Member sites in the Business category you have a place to go to see which have updated recently and also find out what the “Community Leaders (experts, whatev)” feel are the best entries to date with their own analysis. Imagine all of the 9r Design sites getting together to hold a redesign contest or maybe the Philosophy Community having monthly book readings and discussions.
Our Network has always been based on content and relationships, but the relationships have been hidden behind closed doors. Communities is our way of bringing these relationships out into the public to build stronger bonds and greater resources for readers and our members.
Not every Community has a leader right now, but over time communities will begin to fill themselves out. What we have launched with is the framework to allow the communities to grow organically. There are also probably some minor display issues hanging around, but we picked January 3rd back in November and we told ourselves we are sticking with it no matter what.
Over the coming weeks you will see tweaks and improvements to the Community model once we start integrating the feedback of our members and readers into the pages. We also know that we are sporting three different designs all on one site and trust me when I say there will be one simple brand to match everything together (I can’t stand the current homepage, yeah I said that). Some communities might only have one or two sites, but you will see them grow over the upcoming weeks, while other communities might be broken up into smaller pieces like Design and Business.
For now sit back and explore the communities because hopefully we have made going through our Network a whole lot easier. We have to go work on the Advertising Network now.
I must give a great big thanks to Mike and Colin for putting in an extraordinary amount of hours to get this out the door and being talented enough to do so. Go take a nap guys.