3D Avatar Chat Game Gets Users Engaged, Generates $40 Million Revenue Run Rate

Founded in 2004, it's taken less than 6 years for IMVU, a 3D avatar chat game and virtual world, to become profitable with a $40 million annual revenue run rate (i.e. estimated annual revenue). The 90-employee company gets a large chunk of that revenue by selling virtual currency to 50 million registered users, including subscribers and non-subscribers. This case study outlines how they do it.

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How a Niche Business Information Publisher Uses Conversion Optimization Strategies to Maximize Profits

Since launching its web-based business in 1998, BLR-Business & Legal Resources has come a long way in converting visitors into subscribers online. Starting with basic testing in the early 2000s and graduating to more advanced, segment-based testing during the past four years has helped BLR hone offers and page design to get high conversion rates.

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Why WordPress Isn’t Great as a Membership Site’s Content Management System

Both this blog and our other free publication WhichTestWon.com are built in WordPress. However, I prefer not to subscription sites on this platform. Because when people are paying for content, it shouldn't crash on them. Ever, if humanly possible. WordPress is great because it's (a) free, (b) relatively easy for your editorial staff to use without loads of training, (c) lots of free and cheap plugins are available for it, so your site can be cooler…

Reed Business Info (RBI) Contacts At Long Last Returning Would-be Acquirers’ Emails

As the comment storm sparked by Folio's story wondering if RBI ever meant to sell the magazines it's shuttered this month indicates, several publishers have wanted to buy RBI titles. But their emails and/or calls weren't returned. I'm one of them. And I know several more who've reached out to me personally, as well as several who complained on other private industry email discussion groups. The flurry of handraising makes me wonder if this was all a…

Total US Online Content Subscription Sales 2009

Estimates are Subscription Site Insider's own based on weeks of research. We are *conservative* in our numbers, so it's fairly safe to say this is the low end of the possible scale. This does not include: single-item content sales (such as an iTunes purchase.) additional revenue streams subscription sites also make money from (such as ads sold or branded event tickets.) non-content subscription purchases (such as SaaS, apps, or Internet access.)When we say "content", we include text, video,…

ConsumerReports Launches New Health Subscription Site

Today I got word that ConsumerReports.org - which has 3.3 million online subscribers - is launching a new site ConsumerReportsHealth.org. This subscription offering is $9 per year with, I presume, recurring billing. The timing made me laugh because I just got off a webinar where question #2 was "what niches do you think are best to launch new subscription sites in?" For some reason, when I was on the spot I didn't say "health", although actually…

Do Google AdSense Ads Signal “Crap Content” to Your Visitors?

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Scott Thompson, publisher of MyFederalRetirement.com, which I used in our Subscription & Membership Site Benchmark Report as an example of good content supported by Google AdSense ads, received hate mail from a site visitor.   The email read in part, "Your site is a f*** farce filled with useless information that you throw in with the blatant intent to get users to click on a Google adsense link. Do you think we…

Soliciting Voluntary Contributions & Donations for Online Content: 2 Approaches

I don't like the voluntary contribution Model because you never make the money you're really worth because the vast majority of people won't pay no matter how much they love you unless they are forced to. (For example, only a tiny percent of regular NPR listeners ever donate a dime.) That said, voluntary contributions make sense in three areas: #1. Goal is maximum public reach: If the primary and overwhelming goal of your organization is to serve/reach…

Associations vs Membership Sites: Competition and Confusion

Kevin Holland (no relation) writes a fantastic blog analyzing the association industry Model. Very much like the traditional print media industry, the Internet has kicked associations in the ass. Many of associations' traditional services, such as networking, classifieds, niche industry news, even events are now available free in all sorts of ways online, from social networking to Google News, to vendor webinars. As Kevin documents, many associations are floundering.   And, now the next line of Net…

New Myths of Email Deliverability Busted: Publishers Are Not as Safe as Some Think

Whenever I'm on the phone with a subscription or membership site publisher these days, one of the questions I invariably ask them is, "What email service provider are you using?" I can instantly tell from their answer how well run their email program is -- especially whether their email is actually getting delivered. (The latter is the primary, but by no means the only, reason most publishers should be using a good ESP rather than…

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