Lunchtime Links: Find a New Ocean to Swim In

Feel like you're looking a little similar to your closest competition these days? Rewire how your association works. Also: One under-the-radar social network that hit a big milestone.

You’re trying to get the same chunk of the market as the competition, but what if that approach requires a little tinkering?

That and more in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Rebuild your structure: Are you starting to look more and more like your closest competition? Consider the strategy Tagoras’ Jeff Cobb suggests. Cobb, in a recent blog post, explains the value of a “blue ocean” strategy, in which firms look for open waters and new business approaches by opening the net a little bit and thinking of things in different ways. “One way to find potential sources of differentiation is to look across industries where your customers commonly seek substitutes or alternatives to your offerings,” he explains. “Southwest Airlines, for example, was able to disrupt the airline industry not by focusing on other airlines, but by by looking at the car rental industry and the trade offs that travelers were making between flying and renting a car.” How are you working to differentiate yourself from your competition?

Don’t forget Yelp: LinkedIn hit a milestone recently, but so did Yelp, the review site that hit 100 million unique visitors in January. “We don’t talk much about Yelp, do we,” SocialFish’s Maddie Grant writes. “But clearly, your members are on it.” And its value goes beyond just restaurants and shopping—from hotels to health to home services—something Grant covers in a new infographic on her site.

Beyond banner ads: The latest way publishers are trying to make money for their sites? Through the usage of affiliate links on sites like Amazon and e-commerce efforts—efforts that Gawker’s Nick Denton in particular is pushing for his company. With associations always looking for new ways to monetize their content, there may be lessons here … but it helps to be very mindful of the FCC’s rules on transparency regarding the usage of affiliate advertising, something one popular blogger, Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova, recently found out the hard way. New revenue approaches are important, but a little transparency goes a long way.

What are you reading today? Tell us about it in the comments.

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!