Trendspotting: websites create groups where there were none before.

To paraphrase Falsettos, something good is happening.

We all know the internet brings like-minded people together.  That’s the theory behind newsgroups, chat rooms, forums and niche social networks like my own BroadwaySpace.com.  (Before I ever met him in person, I e-met Jeff Marx, composer of Avenue Q, on the old rec.arts.theatre bulletin board.)

And now, websites are popping up all over with the goal of taking those like-minded people and monetizing them, and making the individuals happy about it in the process.

How are they doing it?

By collecting these many like-minded individuals in one place, the websites create group-like leverage and therefore increased buying power with products and brands that these individuals enjoy.

Here are a few examples of these types of sites:

1.  Meetup.com

Do you play board games in Minneapolis?  Are you an athesist in Detroit?  Do you love theater in New York City?

Answer yes to any of these questions and there is a MeetUp for you.  And if there isn’t one for you, then you can create your own and like a magnet attract folks to you.

By nature these Meetups encourage an activity (without pressuring because it’s all online invites), and then a social interaction around that activity.

In other words . . . people do stuff, and then they talk about it.  Uhhh, isn’t that the goal of marketing a product?

(BTW, you should join the Theater meetup.  You’ll see that it’s sponsored by BroadwaySpace, because, well, because I’m no dummy – these are where the theater lovers are!)

2.  Gilt.com

This is where it gets fancy.

Gilt is about luxury brands.  We’re talking Marc Jacobs, John Varvatos, and lots of other Italian names that I know I’ll spell wrong so I won’t even try.

News flash . . . luxury brands have overstock too.  So the brands give the overstock to Gilt, and Gilt adds a little scarcity by announcing the sale for a very limited time each day, and bingo, sales up the wazoo to its millions of members.

Oh, and did I tell you that you can’t just sign up for Gilt?  You have to be invited.  Yep, it’s the ol’ Gmail trick.  And they niche it down to different sites for men and women.

Here’s an invite from me, if you want to check it out.

And by the way, check out their sister site while you’re there, called jetsetter.com.  Jetsetter sells luxury travel.

Theater tickets will be next.

3.  Groupon.com

Groupon’s tagline says it all . . . “Collective buying power.”

They convince all sorts of vendors, from manicurists to speed reading instructors, to give them crazy deals, with the promise that they only have to come through on the deal if they deliver the minimum number of buyers.

For example:

I sell cupcakes.  I will sell them to Groupon for 75 cents each but only if Groupon sells 1000 of them.

Instant group!

If you’ve never experienced a Groupon, the process is actually fun.  When the Groupon minimum is reached, it’s like you’ve won something . . . even though it means you’re spending money.

That’s what we call a B to C win-win.

Check it out here.

4.  Groupget.com

And lastly, introducing Groupget, which is basically Groupon for theater tickets.

Groupget is still early in its rollout, but it’s using the same theory as the above sites.  We know the theory works, so you can bet your Groupget I’ll be watching to see if the movers-and-groupers behind it can get it to work in practice.
We’re going to see more of these as the individual’s power to influence is increased by the internet, and by products like the new and exclusive Google Wave, which allows real-time communication and collaboration between multiple participants.

Think about it . . . if you’ve got a lot of friends on Facebook, you’re a mini-collective of your own, which means everyone that we speak to is a potential group sale.

The web is naturally becoming millions of mini-webs inside itself, which makes it easier for you to catch customers.

She’s back. And she doesn’t like what you’ve been saying about her.

The subject of this post was a tagline that I wrote 17 years ago, when I dreamed about doing a concert version of a show.

Which show?

Read the subject/tagline again . . . and guess?

Get it yet?

Yep . . .

Carrie.

I’ll admit it.  I was bloody obsessed.

I had gotten a hold of some “killer” bootlegs from London and Broadway from a guy online (serendipitous side note: that guy turned out to be Jeff Marx, author of Avenue Q!) and was intrigued by quotes calling half of it brilliant and half of it camp.

I found more recordings by Betty Buckley and original Carrie Linzi Hateley that featured some of the tunes.  I went to Lincoln Center to watch the 10 minutes of footage they had (I had to make up some story about how I was doing a paper at NYU on flops in order to get permission to see it.  Oops. Busted.).  I bought a script off eBay.  I even have the original Playbill somewhere.

And I wanted to do it again.

My idea wasn’t to do the full musical. I just wanted to do the brilliant half!

The idea was to take the best elements of the musical, the best of the book (as read by celebs) and the best of the film, and combine them into one night of multimedia Carrie-awesomeness,

Surprise, surprise, I couldn’t get the rights, although I am proud to say that Michael Gore did return my phone call.  I remember the message explicity.  “Thanks for calling, Ken.  At the moment, we’re not releasing the rights to Carrie, because we’re waiting for the right time to do it again.”

Well, my friends . . . She’s back.  And she doesn’t like what . . . (Oh wait, I did that already).

A small article was buried in this weekend’s Variety about an official reading of the show coming up in the next few months (I hear that this guy is directing).

I’d bet my original Carrie playbill that this is the hottest reading of the year.

Hottest. Get it?  Cuz at the end of the show, Carrie sets the gym on fire with her mind..  Hehe.  Awesome.

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