Supply & Demand

There’s a somewhat new craft related website called Ravelry. According to their homepage, it looks to be a great resource to:

organize – “organize your projects, stash, needles, and more”

share – “Show off you work. Share your ideas and techniques.”

discover – “Find new designs & yarns. Make friends. Try new things.”

All of these things are near and dear to those of us in the yarn and thread Crafting Community. This site appears to be taking the great success of Wist and the numerous craft forums and blending everything into one giant resource of a website.

What makes this site so interesting, beyond what it offers to crafters, is how they are creating a huge buzz by limiting access.

To become a member of the site, you have to submit to their waiting list. Their explanation for the waiting list is that the site is still in beta mode and they want to slowly allow people to join the site to ensure that maintaining and testing the site doesn’t become overwhelming for their lone programmer.

The domain name has been registered for over 2 years but Archive.org’s Wayback Machine is only showing pages dating back to May of this year. If the site has indeed only been up since May, the results are quite staggering.

Crafters have to sign up and wait their turn for an invitation. As of today, here’s
where I am on the waiting list (they have a page called Antsy that allows people on the list to check their status):

* You signed up on October 26, 2007
* You are #49354 on the list.
* 2629 people are ahead of you in line.
* 8315 people are behind you in line.
* 81% of the list has been invited so far

Almost 60,000 people are either members or waiting to become members!

The cynic in me wonders if this is one of the most clever marketing ploys to come in a while.

The craft forums and blogs have been buzzing about this cool new site. It’s hard to tell whether the buzz simply came naturally or if it may have been driven by the site’s owners. Their $299 listing in the Yahoo! Directory would imply that they are indeed actively marketing their site; which does run a bit contradictory to the “Aw, gee, shucks, we’re just in beta and can’t handle all of you people yet” claims.

They also identify that they are an LLC which would indicate this is a site that the owners have big plans for.

Either way, this site has a marketing lesson for us all…Create something you know your target audience already loves, require membership to participate, limit membership for either a real or dubious reason, and you get thousands of people talking about and linking to your site.

Masterful! Truly Masterful!

I look forward to finally getting my invite and seeing if the site is worth all of the buzz it is getting. For now, I wait and wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

A few suggestions for further reading...

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