I am building a freelance marketplace site with a WordPress theme. The idea is like fiverr for the free sharing economy. Online services will be provided by users in exchange for points that can be used to trade for another service just like the barter system. Apart from advertising, what revenue model options are available? Would this idea work at all?
No idea is a bad idea !! And what works only they (world) can tell. Who knew the 140 characters could have revolutionized the world creating a parallel universe... So.. try it.. you never loose..
My personal opinion - I like it. There are some startups I have heard of who are doing the same thing for Social causes.
E.g, I can give away my time, or service (book keeping if I am an accountant). Money etc.
In nutshell, unlike Fiverr, freelancer or Guru, you currency is not money but "sweat currency". I am sure there would be marketers who can ask a programmer to create a website and in return help them with building there social media profile. I would do it .. so you already have 1 customer. I am willing to pay $9/Mo just to be on a platform, if there are more people.
Revenue Models -
1) Advertizing - this is for the dumbest of all.. Spoils the user experience. Had it been year 2000-2005 , i would have said ..go for it !!
2) Feature lock Freemium model - Like linkedin
3) Mail chimp model - where you limit the numbers for free customers
I see a potential.
You main concern here is not the revenue. I guess , it is the growth ! 2 sided market places are the toughest ones .
If we want to talk to me .. feel free..
I am willing to spare 30 mins (free) if you are not in a position to pay..
I love idea brainstorming :-) get a high from it !!!
Honestly, you're late to the game. I visited a website with the same business model last week. Also, in my opinion, WordPress wouldn't be the best way to implement such a site. Ideally, you'd have member logins and so forth, which are best handled some other way.
Yes, it's great to try a startup. And many projects have succeeded that weren't first to market. But don't forget to research existing solutions before reinventing the wheel. Look at how your competitors do it; and ask yourself how your site will compete, given their head start. Maybe it can, but look both ways before crossing the street.
In addition to advertising, the next two that jump right at me are transactional and subscription-based revenue models.
In terms of your second question, I think it's a very intriguing and out of the box thinking model. Marketplaces in general are very challenging to build traction on. Not only do you have to reach the point of liquidity (not to mention tipping) quickly, you have to do it while juggling other areas of your business. My recommendation is to not spend too much time in engineering your platform, you can simply tests out the concept by building some ad pages and see if there is demand. From there, just keep optimizing your funnel to see what's working and what's not.
In concept, I like your business model, but I do see some inherent challenges. Primarily, how do two people in your platform that are looking to barter, agree on equitable terms? If you're not using money as a common form of currency, what will you use in its place? How do you keep yourself from policing transactions when the value perception is intangible?
I love marketplaces and sharing! I have found that positioning and branding are key to any kind of revenue.
What services do you want your site to be known for?
For instance, Fiverr is best known for design and media services, Yelp is best for food and recreation, Angie's List for home and house services.
To build your user base, you'd want no barriers to entry. You could get people providing services or posting ads to "cash in" their currency once they are in, the currency will only work if it gives people security and trust. Either way, branding and niche first!
I work with startups that are in early growth and angel funding stages as well as Fortune 500 leaders.
To get traction you may need to mix Professonals in their fields with amateur or beginners. First goal is usefulness to casual visitors right away - that will give the eyeballs you need for revenue regardless.
Would love to hop on a call with you anytime!