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Community owned deal site. Nonsense?

firefox-open-standardsThis is just a crazy idea I had the other day and which I decided to write down before my mind wonders somewhere else and I forget about it. What if there was a website for bargain hunters that runs in a similar fashion as say Wikipedia or CraigsList? No ads, no affiliate links, completely community operated and based on open source platform. Would it make any sense at all?

I understand there are probably some bulletin board based bargain forums that do it but the phpBB is a stone age technology and has never really been meant to be used for shopping. What I mean is to have a fully functional social site with all the bells and whistles that come with a perfect deal site but completely owned and operated by the community.

Why would this make sense?

If the idea is novel the media will pick it up and it will spread virally offering free advertising (at least at the beginning). The members that join will make the most devoted bargain community that ever existed since they know the place is theirs and there is no owners behind the scene that set their rules and make profits off of the deals. Devoted members means more growth for the website because of all the free publicity and referrals they bring in.

I know from my own experience running Buxr that the web platform could be written in such a way that the community can properly format & categorize the deals, verify them, and also update them over time. To keep things sane, new members could have limited privileges but as they gain the tenure they turn into “power users” who can do more around the site, and eventually suggest themselves to become moderators. The community would vote (say once a year) to pick a number of moderators who then run the site for the next year.

The platform would be based on an open source code written by web developers volunteers who devote themselves to this idea. The only monetary expense is web hosting but it can be easily offset with donations since web hosting is dirt cheap these days.

So what do you think? Is this something even worth discussing? Does social shopping & bargain hunting have the scale to become a foundation of an open community like this? Do people even care about who owns the content they create and how it is used? Am I out of my mind even thinking about this idea?




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