Threadless in my opinion have possible the best social media business model, outside of direct social communication web-sites. Here are a few reasons why:
1. It’s not Web 2.0. Threadless isn’t about Web 2.0 buzzwords, technology for technology’s sake, etc. Threadless is about kicking ass as a real, profitable company and taking care of its customers (the loyalty of customers is the #1 priority).
2. Community…no, really. A lot of sites pay lip service to the notion of building a community. Threadless actually does it. And it’s not just having a blog or a forum (though the site has those too). Check out the site’s navigation where “Shop” and “Participate” are given equal treatment:
It’s no accident. Threadless isn’t just a place to buy stuff. It’s a place where people do stuff too. The people design the shirt ideas, decide which shirts get made, post to forums, upload photos of themselves wearing the shirts, etc. The result? People are attached to Threadless. As Don Norman says, “We are much more emotionally attached to products for which we feel some involvement.”
Threadless makes people feel like partners, not just customers. That’s why people become MySpace friends with Threadless. They start blogs about Threadless . They care what happens.