important rule for creating user-generated content sites

The Guardian Unlimited reports about a general rule of thumb that says out of a group of 100 people who are online, one will create content, and ten will interact with it (comments, etc), while the majority of the audience will just view the content.

This meme is based on observing growth in social sites like YouTube. And this is important stuff for brands that are considering producing user-generated content sites. I believe that many sites fail because they have not taken this into account.

Your concept can't rely on a high percentage of submissions to be successful. Your concept needs to be designed to succeed on the 1%, with the majority of your audience viewing - rather than participating.

I can say from our experience, this is true. When we created the Ms New Booty contest for Bubba Sparxxx, our goal was simple - create an environment where young men will hear the single. And men like booty.

We designed the site geared first for the viewer, second for those who would vote on booty, and lastly for the "booty submitters". What the Guardian Unlimited points out was true. Traffic was through the roof successful - and the smaller percentage of the audience generated content. This was just enough to satisfy the larger audience of viewers.

So - before you create that new user-generated content site - make sure it passes this test: Will it succeed if the majority of the audience only watches?

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