While selling subscriptions and building communities are relatively new concepts for the internet marketing world, the association industry has been doing these things well for more than 100 years.
Associations are groups of people with a similar interest. Think of the “Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner” ads you see on television. Those commercials are produced by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, an association of cattle ranchers. There are more than a half-million associations, and they represent pool builders (American Pool and Spa Association), doctors (American Medical Association) and every industry you can think of. Associations provide education, newsletters, networking opportunities, members-only sites and in-person conventions. (Very similar to the types of products and services Internet marketers have started providing.)