The Woolfer: A Community of Women Protecting their Privacy by Leaving Facebook Groups
Back to Newsroom
Mentioned in this Article

The Woolfer: A Community of Women Protecting their Privacy by Leaving Facebook Groups

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 4:35 PM
Share this article now
Topic:
Company Update

NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / January 8, 2020 / It all started when author Nina Lorez Collins was looking for an outlet for her female friends to discuss the "indignities (and joys) of aging in a self-deprecating and funny way". From this simple beginnings thrived the Facebook group of around 32,000 women over the age of 40 who call themselves "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?"

This Facebook Group started as a space for readers to scroll through and get insights to talk about everything women struggle with but are often too embarrassed to share out loud: irregular periods, insomnia, difficult teens, dating after divorce, caring for aging parents, partners with ED. The exchanges would include everything from basic questions like how to treat acne or the best cookie in town to the more intimate and vulnerable topics like mental health or overcoming grief. It was also about sharing anything from books, feminist debates, art, funny images, or music.

However, you would not be able to find them on Facebook if you look them up today. It turns out they made a move. They built another platform they can call their own that better allows them to take up space online and thrive.

In October 2019, they left Facebook Groups and moved to their own private-branded app and website now rebranded as "The Woolfer" (thewoolfer.com). It now charges a membership fee of $5 a month or $35 a year. Today, the Woolfer boasts over 6,000 registered members and 4,000 paying members who have contributed nearly $100,000 in revenue thus far.

Who would have thought that such a simple discussion could be this huge today? According to Nina Lorez Collins, Founder of The Woolfer: "By the end of our four years on Facebook we were managing 32,000 women across 38 different groups, and struggling to monetize what had become a full-time job. After a lot of research and thought we came to the realization that our product was really the community itself, and that in order to sustain it, members would have to pay a small fee. On top of all this were the growing concerns about privacy, and the fact that Facebook was earning advertising money off our work while being basically unresponsive to our needs. Despite all the hard work we have ahead, we are thrilled to now be in control of our own platform and destiny."

On their paid app and website, members can enjoy a plethora of curated content and resources including articles, podcasts, videos, and a business directory of member-owned businesses around the world. Members can also purchase curated merchandise and tickets to Woolfer events using the native e-commerce feature of the platform. Not just that, they are backed up by a hand-picked group of advertisers who are deliver their marketing messages to the valuable demographic of users.

It's important to discuss the reason these women migrated to a separate paid app and website.

The story of The Woolfer has also become an effort to raise everyone's awareness of the present concerns with Facebook and its troubles.

While Facebook is accessible and used by anyone with a smartphone or web browser, it failed to meet the needs of The Woolfer as a community. The larger the community grew, the more costs it entailed. Its size meant more administration duties and more time spent moderating. Despite this, Facebook didn't compensate the group moderators that it depends on for engagement and the work grew overwhelming.

During those times, the group's source of income only included affiliate links, sponsored content, a few live events, and a small Facebook subscription group, Woolflandia, which only had 250 members paying $75 per year. This didn't cover their costs.

On top of these management and logistical problems, Facebook is also known for its negative track record on privacy. Facebook previously found itself at the center of a major political scandal in 2018. Political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used Facebook to harvest the data of as many as 87 million people without their knowledge or consent and used it to target political ads to influence elections worldwide.

The Woolfer group knew they had to look for something that could make the community thieve, yet make sense financially. So they worked around the idea of developing their own private app and web solution. Fortunately, around that time they were introduced to TopFan (topfan.com), a software company known for building white-labeled, fan communities for the sports and entertainment industry. Working closely with The Woolfer and using input from the group, TopFan customized their platform to include new features that the Woolfer group needed to be successful away from Facebook.

The CEO of TopFan, Jeffrey Kohn, shared this about their collaboration with The Woolfer: "After hearing The Woolfer story, we were excited to work with Nina and her team to create a viable alternative to Facebook Groups, so their members could finally have the data privacy they deserved. The Woolfer has created a highly engaged community that is rich in content and financially sustainable through direct-to-consumer subscription and merchandise e-commerce."

The ladies of the Woolfer community are taking a stand and providing themselves with peace of mind in an increasingly complex environment of privacy uncertainty. Members no longer have to worry about their data and private conversations being used and sold by Facebook to the highest bidder. They have built a financially sustainable community around a worthwhile niche, away from data-hungry platforms. Time will tell if other Facebook Groups will follow their lead.

This Facebook Group started as a space for readers to scroll through and get insights to talk about everything women struggle with but are often too embarrassed to share out loud: irregular periods, insomnia, difficult teens, dating after divorce, caring for aging parents, partners with ED. The exchanges would include everything from basic questions like how to treat acne or the best cookie in town to the more intimate and vulnerable topics like mental health or overcoming grief. It was also about sharing anything from books, feminist debates, art, funny images, or music.

However, you would not be able to find them on Facebook if you look them up today. It turns out they made a move. They built another platform they can call their own that better allows them to take up space online and thrive.

In October 2019, they left Facebook Groups and moved to their own private-branded app and website now rebranded as "The Woolfer" (thewoolfer.com). It now charges a membership fee of $5 a month or $35 a year. Today, the Woolfer boasts over 6,000 registered members and 4,000 paying members who have contributed nearly $100,000 in revenue thus far.

Who would have thought that such a simple discussion could be this huge today? According to Nina Lorez Collins, Founder of The Woolfer: "By the end of our four years on Facebook we were managing 32,000 women across 38 different groups, and struggling to monetize what had become a full-time job. After a lot of research and thought we came to the realization that our product was really the community itself, and that in order to sustain it, members would have to pay a small fee. On top of all this were the growing concerns about privacy, and the fact that Facebook was earning advertising money off our work while being basically unresponsive to our needs. Despite all the hard work we have ahead, we are thrilled to now be in control of our own platform and destiny."

On their paid app and website, members can enjoy a plethora of curated content and resources including articles, podcasts, videos, and a business directory of member-owned businesses around the world. Members can also purchase curated merchandise and tickets to Woolfer events using the native e-commerce feature of the platform. Not just that, they are backed up by a hand-picked group of advertisers who are deliver their marketing messages to the valuable demographic of users.

It's important to discuss the reason these women migrated to a separate paid app and website.

The story of The Woolfer has also become an effort to raise everyone's awareness of the present concerns with Facebook and its troubles.

While Facebook is accessible and used by anyone with a smartphone or web browser, it failed to meet the needs of The Woolfer as a community. The larger the community grew, the more costs it entailed. Its size meant more adminstration duties and more time spent moderating. Despite this, Facebook didn't compensate the group moderators that it depends on for engagement and the work grew overwhelming.

During those times, the group's source of income only included affiliate links, sponsored content, a few live events, and a small Facebook subscription group, Woolflandia, which only had 250 members paying $75 per year. This didn't cover their costs.

On top of these management and logistical problems, Facebook is also known for its negative track record on privacy. Facebook previously found itself at the center of a major political scandal in 2018. Political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used Facebook to harvest the data of as many as 87 million people without their knowledge or consent and used it to target political ads to influence elections worldwide.

The Woolfer group knew they had to look for something that could make the community thieve, yet make sense financially. So they worked around the idea of developing their own private app and web solution. Fortunately, around that time they were introduced to TopFan (topfan.com), a software company known for building white-labeled, fan communities for the sports and entertainment industry. Working closely with The Woolfer and using input from the group, TopFan customized their platform to include new features that the Woolfer group needed to be successful away from Facebook.

The CEO of TopFan, Jeffrey Kohn, shared this about their collaboration with The Woolfer: "After hearing The Woolfer story, we were excited to work with Nina and her team to create a viable alternative to Facebook Groups, so their members could finally have the data privacy they deserved. The Woolfer has created a highly engaged community that is rich in content and financially sustainable through direct-to-consumer subscription and merchandise e-commerce."

The ladies of the Woolfer community are taking a stand and providing themselves with peace of mind in an increasingly complex environment of privacy uncertainty. Members no longer have to worry about their data and private conversations being used and sold by Facebook to the highest bidder. They have built a financially sustainable community around a worthwhile niche, away from data-hungry platforms. Time will tell if other Facebook Groups will follow their lead. For more information please contact Dillon Kivo at [email protected].

SOURCE: TopFan

MentionWorth Media
Back to Newsroom
Copyright 2020 © ACCESSWIRE. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions
Drop us a line: