Monetization case: Ukrainian goat keepers online community (need your advice)

(Anton) #1

So, here is the issue.
I have zero ideas on how to monetize our goat farmers community.

It is difficult for me to come up with a solution because of the following issues:

  1. Goat farmers are not rich (in Ukraine).
  2. There is a crisis in Ukraine, so I simply cannot charge for conferences.
  3. Goat farmers do not have time to commute to conferences as they are engaged in their businesses full time most of the time.
  4. None of the Ukrainian shops that sell to goat farmers have affiliating system to let us get paid.
  5. Traffic is not big enough to get good income from ads views/clicks.


  • 510 members
  • 80k+ sessions monthly, each session ~6 page views and 8 minutes spent on the forum
  • 10 to 15 active writers

Current expenses: up to $500 / year, which is not a big issue.
Goal: $300 income / monthly (to start with).

Seeking for your advice and ideas!

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(Sarah Hawk) #2

@Patrick wrote the book about monetizing online communities, which might be useful for you.

Steve from @seniorhousingforum may also have some tips.

(Steven Hermans) #3

I don’t think it’s possible. It’s a very niche group, which would be ok, if they would be very rich. But they are not. So no one wants to advertise to them. I think you need to open up the group to other types of farmers (unless I am wrong and there are millions of goat farmers in Ukraine). Just my 2 cents.

(Anton) #4

One thing I have never tried to date is asking for donations :slightly_smiling:

(Bas van Leeuwen) #5

I agree with this :frowning:
I so want to be able to tell you “just do xyz and you’ll be fine”, but it seems rather dire. Luckily it seems that you are doing it on your own, so costs are low. Break even might be possible if you are very creative, ask for donations etc.

Why did you start the forum?

(Anton) #6
  1. To learn managing online communitites
  2. Because all other forums for goat farmers suck
  3. Because my father is a goat farmer, which means there are a few people who can dedicate some time to this community, as well as invite their goat-farmer-friends.

Yes, doing it on my own.

Yet costs are actually high when hours I spend on it all are multiplied by my hourly rate, + an additional $500 / year as mentioned above.

So, the two things that help me keep going are I’m learning something and I’m making 500+ people a bit happier :slight_smile:

(Bas van Leeuwen) #7

:joy: that made me chuckle.

I honestly think that you have done an amazing job finding a niche that you have a network for.
Goat farmers are poor yes, but since you have 500 people in the community, a donation of e.g. €2.50 might already be enough to cover costs. That should be doable, right?

Another option might be to ask for some state-subsidy? A quick google search showed that there was ₴250.000.000 (€12m) available last year to support the livestock industry. A facilitating platform such as yours could be very interesting (or absolutely outside of the scope, I don’t know) for the government to support with a few grand?

(Mark Baldwin) #8

@meglio Have you considered maybe running a Patreon fundraiser? If you can come up with really engaging, well written articles every month/quarter you might get at least something towards your costs.

(Anton) #9

Hm I doubt all of them would donate. Actually, donation is not so popular in Ukraine. I rarely hear about anyone donating to something. In last years, the number of donations just increased based on political games, e.g. for the war etc. But for things for goat farmers…

I always tried to avoid thinking about donation because I (maybe mistakenly) believe that once I asked for a donation, it will only make harder any future attempts to earn money without donations. Not sure if I’m correct here.

Oh, for people like me there is one sure thing to do about it: just forget about it :slight_smile: Bribes rule 100% of the subsidies in Ukraine.

Also, I moved to Australia 1.5 years ago, which, in my view, makes asking Ukrainian Governments for help unrealistic.

By this, do you mean I tend to underestimate other people’s effort? Since English is not my first language, I might interpret it incorrectly, so better I just ask haha.

Have never heard about it. Will look into it shortly, thanks for throwing the link at me!

(Bas van Leeuwen) #10

That’s unfortunate, but maybe there’s a non-ukrainian equivalent? Some WHO-farmers subsidy or somesuch.

No absolutely not, I just had a little laugh. I never heard about communities for goat-herders, and now it turns out that there are many of them, and that most aren’t all that good :slightly_smiling:

(Alena Rybik) #11

What a nice little community, congratulations on the success so far! I see it’s in Russian, not Ukranian, what are the reasons behind that? Just curious.

As for your question how to monetize it - I would start by trying to figure out what would bring enough tangible value to your members that they would be willing to pay for it (at least some, expecting 100% is never realistic). If you have close relationship with your founding members / moderators / active members, just ask them. Be honest and transparent and show sincere respect to what they have to say.

Off the top of my head, I would try the affiliate / /carefully chosen for your community) ads / partnership road. Think about what products and services goat farmers in Ukraine use on the regular basis, do a research and approach companies in that sector to discuss possible collaborations. Be aware that this is a bit risky when it comes to your members’ reaction, so I recommend to communicate your plans and reasons to your community up front.

(Anton) #12

Now you made me laugh as well :joy:

In Ukraine, there are 5 forums (including ours) just for goat farmers - that’s because our country is agriculture and there are many families in villages who have 3 to 20 goats, we call them all goat farmers because they do it for years and they are really experienced. Then, there are many more forums for gardening, beekeeping and so on.

I too sometimes stop for a moment and try to understand how come I, a web developer in Australia, went so far to build a Ukrainian goat farmers community. When I think about it, I sometimes feel both stupidity and curiosity. Well, this is a very difficult project in terms of community development. I tried so many things so much, if you even knew. I hope one day this experience will pay me off. Well, sometimes it’s just fun :slight_smile:

Most of people in Ukraine speak both Russian and Ukrainian fluently. However, there are many more countries there around where people speak Russian, but not Ukrainian. Taking into account the population on Earth that speaks Russian vs Ukrainian, the choice is straightforward. Btw, there are a few gaot farmers registered from Russia already.

One thing I’m currently developing in my free time is an international multilingual animals database as a service (register, log in and use: log everything, share animal card online, transact animals between farms and so on). All existing solutions in Ukraine really suck (here @Bas_van_Leeuwen is :joy:ing again). That’s a single thing I’ve found so far that I guess they would use and pay for, at least some little money. But so far this only increases my time investment, nowhere near covering it.

The war that’s ongoing in Ukraine only makes it worse. People need to survive - that’s their first and critical need. Until it’s solved, it’s hard to ask them about anything else. I know a farmer who has ~1500 goats, but last month they had no money to pay off their electricity bill!

Well, at least at forum they’re happy, they share experience and jokes, a bit of humor and comfort online, I hope, makes their lives a bit better. Maybe it’s just my mission.

If by founding member you mean financial founding, I’m the only one who founds myself.

Yep, it sounds as a way to try, but with no affiliating systems in place and few big shops which sell to goat farmers, I can hardly come up with a way to get affiliate commissions. Some more info about affiliating in my first post in this topic.

That’s an interesting idea. Have never thought about it. Will have to do some research!

(Sarah Hawk) #13

What about leveraging your collective buying power to negotiate a deal on something that goat farmers need, and then taking a cut? Is there some kind of consumable that they need on a regular basis (feed maybe?) that you could broker a deal on? Your farmers would get cheaper goods, and you would make some money from it.

(Darren Gough) #14

I absolutely love this thread and the topic. Kudos @meglio.

I realise this started as a community for Ukrainian goat farmers, but is there scope to widen it? Connect with other farmers around the world who face similar challenges?

It might widen the reach and open up some new opportunities for monetization (advertising?)

(Anton) #15

The language barrier would be the biggest challenge. People from villages don’t speak English, unfortunately.

(Alena Rybik) #16

Hi Anton, yes, I am familiar with the language situation, I am from Belarus myself and my family is from Ukraine :wink: I just found it interesting that you position your community as the one for Ukrainian farmers when using Russian as the main language with expansion to other Russian speaking countries in mind.

By founding members I meant those people who have been with you since the inception of the community and have a vested interest in it. Here is a good post by @richard_millington post on this. We have such a group and don’t take any major decisions without running it through hem first. Their reaction is sort of a litmus test for how the rest of the community will take it, and they usually have brilliant suggestions.

(JoeBuhlig) #17

What if you did sponsorships? It seems like there would be some competition among the suppliers. Since they aren’t paying affiliates, maybe they could pay to put their name in front of your audience. Maybe leverage your audience to get a discount as @HAWK mentioned and then charge to put it in front of your members.

(Anton) #18

I’ve been looking at Patreon. That’s quite tempting, but there are at least 2 concerns:

  1. I’m afraid my English is not at the level to write financially pledged articles.
    … but most importantly…
  2. I haven’t got any ideas what to write about yet based on what’s going on in our community.
    Have you got any?

Maybe… one idea that crossed my mind just now is a monthly online magazine with a collection of real stories that tell about how goats live (or survive), what their farmers do (and why), what challenges they face and everything in between.

However, I really doubt such a thing might be interesting for someone; well, except goat farmers ha-ha-ha :slight_smile:

If you think it is worth trying, how would you name the magazine?

(Bo McGuffee) #19

@meglio, you said that members wouldn’t typically donate, but will they gamble? The possibility of hitting it big in the lottery is extremely appealing to those with lesser income. Perhaps you could have a monthly raffle for a prize.

For example, you could buy something worth about $20 and then charge $1 per ticket. To ensure that everyone has an equal chance to win (which sets you apart from a corrupt system of bribery, so you’re also standing for something), maybe members could only buy a single ticket a month, The winner will get something at 1/20th of the price, and if half of the members chip in, you will bring in $255 ($235 after the cost of the prize).

You could play with whatever monetary amounts you want. My focal points here are on (1) the lure of hitting it big, and (2) creating a system that opposes “their” corrupt system characterized by bribes, so that members feel like they are participating in something more than just a raffle.

(Anton) #20

@irreverance I really like the idea. I can see two issues here related to its implementation:

  1. Using credit cards in Ukraine is not so popular, especially in villages. People don’t use credit cards, so it would be really difficult for them to issue micropayments.

  2. Gambling is prohibited by Ukrainian Law. By gambling it is meant everything where there is a component of randomness in the winner selection. So, any lottery would qualify, as well as poker, roulette etc etc. I can go to jail next time I visit my parents in Ukraine if police find out about gambling that I organized :slight_smile: Btw, a contest with rules would work, but then the issue 1 still holds.