Back in April of 2008 Poolcenter.com opened up it's own version of the "Community Pool". It's a corner of the web that allows for our customers to interact, share pool info, fun stories about the pool, post videos, collaborate, and just keep in touch with other pool owners. In order to make this happen, POOLCENTER.com implemented "community software" which is actually a sub-domain. The sub-domain http://community.poolcenter.com features many categories and sub-categories for users to navigate and browse at their leisure. Back in 1996 (ol' 96) POOLCENTER.com posted some information up on the web for their service customer's associated with Cox Pools, the information was to help/assist residential pool owners with such things as testing water chemistry, how to clean a pool filter, how to "winterize" a pool, etc., and so "Pool Info" (i.e. POOLCENTER.com) was born.
As the years passed, POOLCENTER.com began adding products requested via service clients and web surfers throughout the country. This spark in interest was the impetus for our Pool Talk (pool forum), which is also part of the Pool Community and boasts over 5,000 posts with users sharing information on a large number of topics largely self-policed (administered). Allowing the online user (pool owner/enthusiast) to participate in discussions only helps to promote dynamic content and opens the door to information that otherwise would be unavailable to an everyday pool owner.
After experiencing the success of both "Pool Info" and "Pool Talk" POOLCENTER.com decided to launch an entire pool community where users could actually post their own articles for discussion, edit existing, taking collaboration to a whole new level. The Pool Community also includes a "Pool Tube" for posting fun, instructional, safety videos viewable to anyone at anytime. The Pool Wiki is where the user can dive in and edit/view/add articles, including the Pool Glossary of terms.
Having been immediately recognized by Inc.com magazine soon after launching the Pool Community live, they decided to include us in their feature story regarding community software. The following is an excerpt:
"Any idea why my chlorinator O-ring keeps stretching out?" a customer posted on Poolcenter.com, a Springfield, Virginia-based online retailer of swimming pool equipment. Before a Poolcenter.com employee could reply, two other customers jumped in to help. "JohnT" thought it might need to be greased. "MattK" agreed. "I had a similar problem last year," he wrote. "I replaced it at the beginning of the season, and applied a liberal coating of pool lube, and the O-ring has lasted all year."
Poolcenter.com founder Rob Cox recently launched the Pool Community. It includes how-to videos; a blog; a wiki at which customers can contribute to articles about pool maintenance; and a long-running forum with more than 5,000 registered users who regularly visit to discuss pool products, post photos of their pools, and troubleshoot equipment problems. "There's a conversation going on now about your company, good, bad, or otherwise," Cox says. "A company like ours is trying to gently steer it in a positive direction. And when members need a product, they're just a couple of clicks away."
The Community Pool is very new and will continue to progress and evolve. We look forward to your participation as the days and months pass so that your voice will be heard, your pool will be seen, and a healthy discussion may soon follow. This will only help the next pool owner who is struggling with how to prime his/her pump and/or how does this pool cleaner work anyway?
* Check the July 2008 issue of Inc.com for the entire article regarding community software.