Research and Markets – a company that sells business reports – has one called Customers as Creators on its books by the Patricia Seybold Group. Or at least a draft chapter of it.

In this draft chapter for the authors upcoming book, Outside Innovation, she provides examples of companies in which customers play the role of creators—content creators and product creators. was one of the first successful online communities in which customers created the content that kept them and others coming back several times a week. Customers came to Tripod to “strut their stuff.” The site earned money through advertisements and user fees. Flickr is a good current example of an online business and community that is designed around customers’ creations. Two million customers share, tag, enjoy, comment upon, organize and use each others’ photographs—70 million of them! The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is a much more mature example. Researchers create all of the content and referee the content that comprises the journals sold by scholarly societies. National Semiconductor’s customers use the company’s online design platform to create their own proprietary product designs—over 20,000 per month. And at Threadless, customers submit designs for T-shirts, vote on each others’ designs, and buy the winning shirts.

I like the T-shirt idea.

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