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I'm contemplating a couple of options: A) Create a lot of buzz, just before the opening B) Create quite a bit of buzz about the beta phase and have interested people sign up/test C) Just let the 'community' do its work, after all, what's a community when your friends are not on it.

I've seen sites use option A and they really do get 10.000 users within a month, if not less, but are these the type of users you want for a community?

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Is your site useless without a community? That can change how you develop it. –  Ape-inago Apr 11 '11 at 20:21
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 10 '11 at 17:42

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The big danger with option A is that you are unleashing a critical user base with high expectations on an unproven idea. There are many ways this could go wrong and only one way it could go right. Once you've made an impression, it will be difficult to change, and your competitors will learn from your missteps. It is better to grow a community organically, in a manner that allows you to control the flow of new members (e.g. either an invite-only beta or a soft launch with carefully chosen post-launch marketing).

A slow(er) ramp-up will also allow you to build up the core group of community champions who will help orient new users and help you weather small storms.

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