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Call of Duty: World at WarCall of Duty: World at War was released on November 11, 2008. 7 years is a long time in gaming, but it’s especially long for the Call of Duty series, which produces a brand new, big budget title every year.

I’m a big fan of the Call of Duty series and have spent many hours playing the games. The zombies mode, introduced in World at War, accounts for a majority of those hours. Most of that was co-op with my brother, Sean. My youngest brother, Trent, joined the team when he was old enough.

The zombies mode is such an incredible value-add for the series. I have never, ever felt like I didn’t get my money’s worth out of a Call of Duty game. I spend around $100 for each game. $50 for the game itself, and then another $50 for the extra content they release over the next year. For the amount of time I spend playing zombies alone (putting aside the main game content, as well as online multiplayer), the value I receive for that $100 is immense.

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Amazon.comAmazon’s Vine program connects prolific Amazon customer reviewers with products in need of reviews. I recently wrote about community monetization alternatives to display ads. The Vine program could serve as inspiration to certain communities, especially those who are dominant in a specific niche.

Vine is largely a win for everyone involved. While you won’t have to look hard to find criticism of it – especially from writers who feel their book was unfairly reviewed or that the average person is not qualified to critique their work – for the most part, it works really well.

Win #1: More Product Reviews for Amazon

Product reviews drive sales. Good and bad ones. The more products that Amazon has reviews for – and the earlier they have them – the more likely that Amazon will convert a viewer to a buyer. In some cases, Vine products are sent pre-release, because the manufacturer wants to have some reviews before it is available for purchase. Amazon then grants the Vine reviewers the ability to publish a review early.

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When Monetizing Online Forums was published, back in July of 2012, we wanted to show community professionals and owners that there were more ways to monetize a community than traditional display ads. We talked about display advertising, and how to do it right, but we discussed several other methods that could allow you to shift away from display ads while potentially generating even more revenue.

I was reminded of that goal this week when the discussion around ad blocking reached new heights, thanks to Apple. I don’t want to talk about ad blocking today. Instead, I want to help you diversify and discover new methods of generating revenue, that won’t be affected by ad blocking. If you want to know more about these methods, Monetizing Online Forums is a free download.

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Companies who sell products, especially high-end goods and those that stand for a certain mark of quality, should consider the power of community in the form of an owners club.

When I say high-end, that doesn’t necessarily mean $1,000 or $50,000 or $500,000. It’s relative. A high-end pen might cost $200. Obviously, a high-end automobile is much more. What is often true is that people who purchase a high-end good are making a commitment to a particular practice or interest. Not all of them are wealthy. Many save and plan to be able to make that purchase.

A person who buys a high-end woodworking tools is more passionate about craftsmanship than someone who buys cheaper ones. A person who spends $2,000 on a suit is excited about a certain level of dress. A person who spends $300 on a pen finds more enjoyment from the act of handwriting (or simply collecting pens). On average, anyway. Cost doesn’t always equal quality, and spending money isn’t always indicative of true interest. However, more often than not, someone who makes that type of commitment to a product has a much higher level of interest in what it stands for than someone who does not.

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As online comment sections propagated throughout the web and faced people-related scaling issues, mainstream media sites become a popular example of low quality discourse. Some chose to invest meaningful resources into their comments, but many did not.

In recent years, an assortment of news publishers and noted publications have closed their comment sections. I don’t necessarily see that as a big deal or even a bad thing. There’s an ebb and flow here. Many people rush into tools without enough thought, then wonder why they don’t work. There is an eventual correction as they find its not for them or something shinier attracts their attention.

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Let’s say you have previously accepted content from community members requiring only an email address. This could be forum posts, photos, reviews, comments, whatever.

Now, you’ve decided it’s time to go deeper and create an account system so that you can offer additional features and connect more directly with the community. And you want to convert those old members (and their content) into this new system.

How should you do this?

You could automatically create the accounts and then email people, allowing them to confirm their address and create a password. No matter how you word it, this is tricky because in most circumstances, people don’t like having an account created for them without having been asked first, even though it might make total sense from a technical/software evolution standpoint.

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The greats of tomorrow are in the online communities of today. They might even be in yours.

Even though online communities have been around since the 1980s, we are only a generation or two deep into mainstream usage of online communities. Where when someone is really into a subject, they seek out others online who are similarly motivated and driven.

I’ve seen this over and over again. My time at SitePoint is an easy example. In a setting like this, people who are self-motivated and driven often gravitate toward one another. I met so many people who have gone on to do great things and be recognized as leaders. They’ve climbed the corporate ranks at high-profile companies, founded successful ones, written books and done amazing work. That community was about programming, web design and business, so those are the pursuits they excelled in.

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I live on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where we have a substantial tourist season in the summer.

I don’t spend much time at Starbucks. I’m not a coffee drinker. The only coffee I drink is a Coffee Frappuccino. But even with the brief moments I have spent in the store this summer, I have seen multiple people purchase the North Carolina mug from the Starbucks “You Are Here” series.

The mugs depict various landmarks, cities and states. The company has released several series of these location-based coffee cups. People travel around the country and collect them to mark their stops.

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