Thriving online communities: who is using them to create great content?


However you feel about the highly-opinionated community of parents on Mumsnet, discussing everything from the Charlie Hebdo massacre to “things you never thought you’d hear yourself say until you had children”, with 65 million page views a month and interviews with Prime Ministers under its belt, the parenting website is undoubtedly a smash hit.

It began as a place for parents to discuss their worries but quickly moved into creating its own content, using the views of its readers and the subjects they are talking about to inspire articles.


What started as a community site for traveller reviews has become arguably the most influential voice in the tourism industry, with aggrieved hotel owners and reviewers taking each other to court over reviews left on TripAdvisor’s pages. Many people would not make a booking before reading the opinions left on the site.

TripAdvisor is listed on the Nasdaq and the site now has 315 million unique visitors each month and more than 200 million reviews of 4.4 million hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions. It’s “best of” lists, such as restaurants in the US, are picked up by the mainstream media. However it’s content is still provided by a now-very-large community of engaged readers.


Wiggle has become more to its users than simply a website selling cycling and triathlon clothing: it is also a trusted source of information on training and nutrition, thanks to its community pages, where it gathers together blogs from experts such as personal trainers, reviews by its own staff and customers, and news from professional athletes sponsored by the brand. The specialist retailer has 58,500 followers on Twitter.


Originally based around weekly meetings at local venues, WeightWatchers has embraced the power of the internet to bring like-minded people together, wherever they live and whatever they do. The weight-loss company’s site has a dedicated community section where members can sign in and set challenges for themselves, encouraging others with similar goals to join them, and to share their good news on a “celebration board”. Its Twitter account has 43,200 followers in the UK alone.

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