Archive for May, 2011

Highlighting PbNation

Despite initially being labeled as a fad, paintball has 10.5 million players in the U.S. alone, and is one of the fastest growing sports.

About PbNation

Generating over 20 million monthly pageviews and approximately 1.9 million monthly unique visitors, is the largest interactive sports community on the Internet with a focus on the extreme sport of paintball.

PbNation includes a paintball store, a collection of product reviews, a consumer-to-consumer paintball equipment marketplace, a paintball industry news section, and a paintball video content sharing site. While the majority of the content is paintball related approximately 30% of the content is non-paintball related including videos, gaming, outdoors, and other topics of interest to this demographic.

PbNation in the News

Splat Magazine awarded PbNation the 2007 “Paintball Web Site of the Year” and credits PbNation for having “played a larger role in the expansion of paintball knowledge than practically any other source in history.” SplatXD awarded PbNation the “Paintball Website of the Year” and said, “For as big as our sport is, our media for the most part is poorly produced, has extremely limited reach and does nothing to expand the visibility of the game.”

According to Forbes, PbNation is the “number one paintball fan site”, and the Chicago Tribune called it the “ultra popular paintball website” and listed becoming involved in PbNation as number one in their “Tips for Going Pro” about becoming a professional paintball player. Press Enterprises cites PbNation as “the leading paintball forum, helping facilitate everything from equipment reviews to discussions on the world’s best paintballers to the organization of games.”

“…PbNation is a cornerstone of the paintball enthusiast ecosystem and one of the largest independent forum communities in the world. From our initial review, we have found that PbNation has built up tremendous engagement in a very valuable demographic and we are very excited for what the future holds for us.” said Sanjay Sabnani, CrowdGather’s Chairman and CEO.

The Long Tail of Forums

In 2004, Chris Anderson wrote an article in Wired Magazine that discussed the importance of the Long Tail economy in regards to Internet based companies. Anderson argues that products in low demand or that have a low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough.

Some of the most successful Internet businesses have leveraged the Long Tail as part of their businesses. Examples include eBay
(auctions), Yahoo! and Google (web search), Amazon (retail) and iTunes Store (music and podcasts).

Perhaps nowhere on the Internet is this more clear than with Internet forums. Niche meeting grounds for merchants and consumers, forums provide a unique environment where experts can talk to people really look for advice on their future purchases.

Recently Sanjay Sabnani, a hobby knife collector and forum geek, ran into this issue. So how does one go about locating a blacksmith in today’s world?

Sanjay’s first step was to turn to different forums including Friends of his had purchased knives through this site and he knew it had a solid reputation. Through his search, Sanjay was introduced to the work of Zoe Crist, an up-and-coming blacksmith.

Prior to the Internet, Sanjay may have dreamed about knives but if his city didn’t have knife makers it would have been difficult to locate a modern day blacksmith. The Internet in general and forums in particular, have the potential of connecting up unlikely people, vendors and merchants looking to make niche purchases.

Forums opened up the door for Sanjay to become the proud owner of a knife that is being shown at a Blade Show by Zoe Crist. Forums also gave Zoe a location to discuss his craft and to meet potential customers.

This is truly one of the clearest examples of the Long Tail economy at work.

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May 2011

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