Monetizing Google+ Communities – Yey or Ney?

Monetizing Google+ Communities – Yey or Ney? 

I was in an interesting discussion this afternoon, and it got me thinking about moral ethics within the marketing world.

The topic which was in question – Can you turn Google Communities into a monetizable content service, meaning users would have to pay you to access the information which is listed inside. Private invitation/invite only. A gated and locked area where the only way in is cash, basically running on an MLM based system.

Now many of you may read this and think what an earth? I don’t want to pay any money to read content, and well…I whole heartedly agree. However this doesn’t separate us from the fact that this may be the next way of making money for businesses.

Now after taking a look at Google policies it seems this would not be an illegal activity to do. The content being provided is under your copywrite, and you can chose to do as you see fit with it.

‘Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.’ – Google Policies

Would you ever consider paying for private access into a community that offers relevant information?

This debate got heated, any many people were on a 50-50 line. The idea of an MLM based system being entwined into an open and free community doesn’t seem correct to me. I am a purist, and I feel Google+ is ‚the’ educational platform  and those of us that want to help others do well from it. I know many people, even people such as myself who have ulterior motives than just being teachers, as of course, we all have to make money. However in my opinion, Google+ just isn’t the place for this kind of forced atmosphere.

As said, mixed opinions were in the air during this discussion. Others felt that Google are monetizing from its users already. In some respects this must be true, the platform is free, and Google must be doing something with our data being pushed through. So why not monetize ourselves?

Now I am nearly 100% certain this model is going to be implemented, but when it is, how will it affect the amazing content currently spreading over G+? Are we going to start seeing lower quality communities, lower quality home stream information? Now that would be such a pity for a few measly dollars every week (As said I do understand that people have to make money).

This idea would also spread quickly. Why would bloggers then share their content for free if others are willing to pay. Many people would start this, and then no good content would be getting shared around. It would be like looking at a Facebook timeline all over again…pure drudgery.

Adopting a payment system for communities is like combining 3 systems. A landing page, a blog and a social media site. With just one page, you could cater for your entire audiences needs. You could continue B2B and B2C interaction whilst earning through private content.

As said, this implementation could have an affect similar to Facebook, where the best information is kept for other platforms. I know people get ‚Likes’ , however content posted directly through Facebook is hardly high quality now.

What are your thoughts and opinions regarding gated communities? Would you spend money to receive the best content out there, or do you think this model would end up killing Google+ and remove the open platform we currently have or make Google+ grow? Alernatively, would you host a community that is gated and remove your good content from other Communities and home feeds?

Please leave your comments below.

Many thanks,

Rob Walker