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For Allied Fiber's "Dark Fiber" Online Community, It's All About Collaboration

March 10, 2011
Allied Fiber’s (News - Alert) “Dark Fiber” Online Community has been live for 1-year, but already boasts high search engine ranking, around 120,000 page views per month and over 30,000 unique visitors every month. We recently discussed the success of this Online Community with Allied Fiber’s Founder, Hunter Newby (News - Alert), to learn what he thinks the secrets to success are for his site. 

 
It’s All About Collaboration

The relationship between TMC (News - Alert) and Hunter Newby is long standing; starting with collaborating on expos, writing columns, and shooting videos. So, the decision to partner on a TMCnet Online Community for the term Dark Fiber seemed a logical next step. Hunter’s vision for the Community was clear: Provide a place for potential customers to learn from and collaborate with the experts in their industry… in one powerful portal.

As you can see from the Dark Fiber Community site, there are over 65 “members” who participate in this Online Community.  According to Newby, “the Dark Fiber Community, hosted by Allied Fiber and powered by TMCnet, exists to bring together those that seek to build optical transport networks more efficiently and cost effectively with the providers of the key elements required for success. The Dark Fiber Community brings together not only the key vendors in-to one convenient online marketplace, it also facilitates the actual interaction between buyers and sellers through the DealCenter.” 

Through this “virtual meeting planner” people are able to truly collaborate to find the solutions they need by learning directly from the experts. According to Newby, this is key because “once you educate the buyer, they become very loyal to you. Once they have that bond of trust, they will buy from you.” Providing them a space where they can learn and contact people for more information is the best way to quickly build this trust. According to Newby, a “functional community should not just be about itself; it should be about the broader industry” and should provide “a place for people to showcase what they do in a neutral setting.” This is truly what Newby believes helps make his Online Community a success and positions Allied Fiber as the thought-leader for his industry.  

Other Ways to Collaborate on the Dark Fiber Community

Videos and blogs are just two ways the site content is able to remain interesting, fresh and informative. Newby believes that “every single company should have its own commercial about what it does on their Community” and has worked multiple times with TMCnet video experts Alan Urkawich and Jean Louis who he states are “professional and great at what they do.”

Access to editorial staff from TMCnet is also important to Allied Fiber because a lot of companies don’t have a marketing group. According to Newby, an article written by TMCnet provides third-party objectivity: “When TMCnet writes about the product, they [the customers] believe it.”  Working with Stefanie Mosca, TMCnet Web Editor provides Newby with this resource to help add information to the site regularly as Newby wants “the site to be full of fresh content” that is related to news across his industry, not just his own company. According to Newby, “working with the TMCnet team is outstanding… nothing short of excellence. To be visionaries and thought leaders and have the platform to execute and evolve, you need to be forward thinking. This is why the Dark Fiber Community exists. TMCnet believes in our concept and now we are going in new directions we didn’t anticipate before.”

As the Dark Fiber Community continues to provide engaging and informative content, they anticipate growing the Community even more in the years ahead. TMCnet certainly looks forward to watching this initiative grow as well. 

To discuss how to implement the methods outlined in this article on your own TMCnet Community site, please contact a member of your dedicated TMCnet team.

About TMCnet Online Communities

TMCnet Online Communities are news-generated, content-rich portals that position your company as the leading “go-to resource” for your industry group. TMC has been building Online Communities for over 10 years, and continues to be the market leader at developing these successful communities for our customers.  To learn more about the TMCnet Online Community program, please contact Anna Ritchie aritchie@tmcnet.com or call 203-852-6800 x 107. You can also visit us online at http://www.tmcnet.com/community/Default.aspx


Anna Ritchie is product manager for TMC's Online Community Program. Previously, she worked as a change and communications practitioner for a global consulting firm, and as a freelance marketing and communications specialist. She received her master's degree in English from Seton Hall University and her bachelor's degree in English from Loyola University.


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