Social Media

How To Build a Devoted Community, by

February 19, 2008
crowd of people at concert

Step One: Respect Your Users

Last Thursday night at about 11 p.m., I tried to submit a cool article to Mixx, but the system spit out an error message:

“Sorry, the URL you are attempting to submit is not valid on our system.”

Say what? I found the help page and followed the link to notify Mixx what happened, and then forgot about it.

Mixx logoAt 9:04 a.m. on Friday, I got an email from Will Kern, who’s the Director of Product Management for Mixx. Will explained that the URL was flagged by the third party who filters their links. Will’s email was intelligent, detailed, and respectful. He explained why I couldn’t submit that URL, and what he was going to do next:

I am going to contact our 3rd party and see if I can resolve the issue. As soon as I hear back from them I will let you know. In the meantime, please feel free to submit anything else and I appreciate you making us aware of your issue so we can get it resolved.

At 1:57 p.m. on Friday, Will email again to let me know the URL was a “false positive” to be flagged, that they’d correct it that night, and that I’d be able to submit the article by the next morning. Sure enough, they did … and I did.

How’s that for customer service? Mind you, I’m not paying Mixx a dime for anything. The attention to detail and quick response is great, and separates Mixx from the social media crowd. I can’t imagine getting such quick and helpful emails from … well, you know who.

Step Two: Reward Your Power Users

This morning, I was one of many Mixx users who received an email with this news:

Because you are one of the most active and valued members of the Mixx community, we wanted to let you know that you’ve been promoted to Super Mixxer status! And while this doesn’t come with a monetary gain, it does give you access to a special feature not available to the entire community.

Me? A Super Mixxer? How cool is that?! Turns out it’s very cool. I’m able to use the brand new “Related Content” feature, a privilege I promptly tried. I found this story submitted by “Bdog2g2” called “20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life.” That has a similar theme to this article I submitted a couple weeks ago, which is titled “12 Things I Learned By 42 That I Wish I Knew At 22.” So, I connected them … easy as can be. Now it looks like this:

Mixx screenshot

What’s the big deal? How about this:

  1. As a (so-called) power user, I can now help improve the site by linking any two pieces of related content together, even if I didn’t submit either one. This makes the overall site experience better — lots of related content in one place, no need to look for other angles on a story and other opinions.
  2. Likewise, I can clean up the site a bit if similar stories get past the dupe content checker.
  3. Most importantly for the purpose of this post, Mixx is rewarding its most loyal users with the ability to help shape how the site is used by the whole community. Nice touch!

Mixx is getting a lot of buzz lately, and that’s sure to continue if they continue to respect and reward their users. That’s how you build a devoted online community.


  • Reply Greg Davies aka cGt2099 February 20, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Great article, mate – and it’s the absolute truth about Mixx. They seriously care about their site, and and the users; and will quite often go above and beyond the call of duty to help improve the experience.

    2008 will be the year of Mixx

  • Reply Rob Diana February 20, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Their feedback and customer service is awesome. There have been a few times that I have submitted some feedback Friday afternoon, and received a reply at 7AM on Saturday. Yes, someone was awake (might have been Will) and we traded a few emails.

    This is one of the reasons that their is such passion within the community, they are passionate about their users.

  • Reply Will February 20, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Thanks so much for all your kind words and your passion for what we are doing. We really owe it all to you, you are the reason that we do what we do!


  • Reply Syxle February 20, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Pretty cool article.

    Free stuff and extra privileges…
    Mixx should be rewarded with the title “supersite”

  • Reply Nice Site, Shame About the Community « bloat! February 20, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    […] news will be increasingly turned off by the site, and social media boulevardiers will continue to rush in, creating a useless echo […]

  • Reply Jt March 17, 2008 at 8:48 am

    I like . You can post articles & comments without even signing up or logging in. It’s a new site so they really care about users. They add features as people demand them, not just because they can.

  • Reply brad hart August 24, 2008 at 6:41 am

    Mixx continues to have problems with this and isn’t so good about fixing these days…

  • Reply Matt August 24, 2008 at 11:37 am

    brad hart — problems with what?

  • Reply Brad Hart @ A DoFollow Blog November 16, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Sorry never saw your comment, only found it in a backlink check. Mixx still uses the same error prone third party service to check out urls. These days though they don’t respond to customer emails about such problems.

  • Reply Adam December 29, 2009 at 8:15 am

    I know this is an old post, so perhaps things have changed over at But I have to disagree with your conclusion. I got flagged by recently. There was no notification whatsoever. I did write to them asking what was up and they did respond saying that one of my links “violated the TOS.” would not tell me which link it was, and when I pressed them they called my account SPAMMY based on my email address and lack of a picture. I find this all a bit unprofessional given that their TOS don’t state a specific requirement for a picture or certain email address. So, from my point of view currently does NOT have good customer service. In fact, I found their name-calling to be really inappropriate. I have written back and communicated my frustration, we’ll see.

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