14 March 2022
Jeroen van Vliet

Developing an online platform is essentially the same as creating a website. However, the term "online platform" refers to a website with distinct features. Developing an online platform usually takes more time and is therefore more expensive than setting up a regular website. Maintaining an online platform also requires more time than managing a standard website.

Why create an online platform? 

Establishing an online platform is not merely about marketing your business. So, what does an online platform mean? In essence, building an online platform is about connecting members with each other. The goal is to foster collaboration among members, whether they are individuals or businesses seeking interaction with each other.

Characteristics of an online platform

The primary characteristic of an online platform is that members can manage various aspects on the platform themselves. Online platforms facilitate this by, for example, matching supply and demand, offering various contact options, and bringing people together with a specific purpose at the right time.

Those coming together on an online platform are interdependent. Airbnb, for example, relies on property owners for listings and individuals seeking rentals on the platform. Uber depends on both drivers and people booking rides.

Revenue model of an online platform

Developing an online platform is usually not done out of charity; the main aim is to generate income. This is the primary reason for online platform development. Online platforms bring members together to achieve goals, saving time for the members, and time is the most valuable asset. Members are therefore willing to pay for the facilitation of these interactions to achieve their goals.

There are various revenue models for online platforms, including:

  • Subscriptions: Members subscribe to use your platform, with the monthly fee typically automatically collected.
  • Credits: Some members prefer not to commit to a subscription. Platforms address this by using credits, where members purchase credits and then use them for specific actions on the platform. 
  • Advertisements: Some members prefer not to pay for services. To sustain the platform, advertising space is sold.

What is an online platform?

In summary, the answer to the question 'what is an online platform?' is: It is a website where a higher level of interaction takes place among members to achieve their respective goals. 

Questions or advice?
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