I often find that in the new Web 2.0 world of “social media” and “communities”, that there are some very flaky business models. I was quite impressed to come across Global Scholar today. Not only are they proposing a very valuable community offering, but they’re also finding a way to monetize it from the early stages – which sometimes isn’t always a good idea. However, what they’re doing is pushing the idea of actually paying for the experience – even if it’s just $1 for the first hour, in order to get people into the idea that not everything online will be free in the future (VC money does run out at some point, and sustainable business models need to be in place by then!).
Global Scholar offers:
* all tutoring occurs on online via chat/audio/whiteboard/curriculum sharing
* all tutoring sessions are recorded and archived with a “playback” option, for students/parents to review
* tutors set their own prices/courses/hours of operation
* GlobalScholar.com background checks every tutor (criminal + education) and trains them on the site
* All tutors need to have a minimum four-year degree
* Users can leave ratings/reviews for tutors
They’re creating a community that has value for all parties – and are charging for it, as it will most definitely have value for a lot of students and parents.
There was quite an interesting article on ReadWriteWeb recently on The Danger of Free, which I highly recommend reading – and which actually inspired this post as I was very comforted to see “Web 2.0″ companies trying to charge for their services. I know… it sounds rich from a guy that’s giving away free websites but at least we have a long term plan