2009 is the year of BuddyPress. It’s also the year where online content providers have to figure out how to make money outside of the flailing “get a lot of views, sell ads” model. For the past couple of months, I’ve been working on a project that tackles both of those things, and I’m really proud to present it to the world:
GigaOM Pro is a WordPress/BuddyPress-powered premium research membership site, focused on four initial verticals: Mobile, Green IT, Infrastructure, and the Connected Consumer. A network of independent analysts provide in-depth research papers and research notes, which subscribers can view on the site or download as PDF documents. GigaOM Network contributors provide “long view” posts — topic-focused long form posts. And each of the topic verticals has a curator who provides weekly updates on the topic, as well as a constant stream of curated links to relevant external stories. Subscribers can access all the content, comment on the content, have a profile on the site, and send messages to Analysts, Contributors, Curators, or other subscribers using the BuddyPress messaging system.
Here’s what it looks like:
The content is incredibly compelling. I’ve been especially impressed with the quality of the Long View posts. More than once when developing the site I would get distracted by one of these pieces and have to read the whole thing. The GigaOM writing staff and the analyst network are very talented people, and I think that $79 a year is a steal for this calibre of hyper-focused content and this sort of access to industry analysts.
From a technical perspective, it was interesting to create a site with such distinct content types. The Write screen for Curated Links looks nothing like the Write screen for Weekly Updates, or Research Briefs. The system makes heavy use of the category system, and custom
WP_Query objects and loops.
post__not_in are very powerful tools for getting the correct entries from the system.
Naturally, there are no core WordPress hacks — everything is implemented through plugins and the custom theme!
Let me know what you think. And don’t subscribe — I put in a lowball prediction in the internal betting pool for how many subscribers there are in the first week, and I think I’m going to lose. :-)