According to the business model classification by Timmers (1998), the existing, emerging and potential business models of electronic commerce can be aligned along 2 dimensions – the degree of innovation and functional integration. In this classification virtual communities find themselves to have middle level of functionality and reasonably high level of innovation. However, in 2010 the virtual communities that we are familiar with could be classified as having higher level of functional integration than recognized by Timmers in 1998, but still having a rather high level of innovation. Although the basic business model hasn’t changed over the years, the benefits for consumer, supplier and third parties involved has increased. Also, the way of earning revenues from running a virtual community has changed slightly. The business I will exemplify my arguments is a social network draugiem.lv, which has been the most visited site in Latvia for the last 2 years. In its essence it incorporates also other business models described by Timmers. Draugiem.lv was founded on March 24th, 2004 by a 26-year-old entrepreneur named Lauris Liberts. He accidently saw another Latvian website called klase.lv (translation from English – class), where people were registering to stay in touch with their previous classmates and organize annual get-togethers etc. In an interview he also admits that the popularity of similar websites in the USA gave him the inert to start up something similar. The portal has a similar setup as Facebook. The people can become a part of the network if someone who is already a member sends you an email with an invitation. After that you create a profile and invite others to join your network. Likewise Facebook you can share information, photos, videos, join groups, send letters and use other applications, such as tests, games etc. As Timmers (1998) recognized, the value of virtual communities come from the number of members...
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