How to make sustainable for a very long time

As time passes and there’s more and more members joining, the site is starting to require more and more time and effort.

As a result, I’ve been thinking of ways in which the community can be made sustainable, so it can generate revenue to pay for the costs that maintaining it will entail.

So I have thought of many things and I wanted to run these ideas by you guys, to see what you thought…

1) We all shop for things: besides living with diabetes, like someone told me, we’re people first. So we shop for regular stuff. At the same time, we CHOOSE to buy certain things, so I have been looking at what products/services, if you could buy them not here, but THROUGH TuDiabetes, would you do it?

Here’s a list of some products and services that could be sold through us that I’ve compiled. I’d like your opinion about them:
-Diabetes-related: American Diabetic Supply, American Diabetes Services, diabetes books (fulfilled through
-Magazines: Entrepreneur Magazine.
-Music/Entertainment: eMusic, TicketsNow (live events)
-Children/parenting: CafeMom, Hooked on Phonics, SitterCity
-College Students: FastWeb
-Technology: 1&1 Hosting, Apple, GoDaddy, Verizon Broadband Services
-Gay/Lesbian: Love and Pride
-Shoes: Happy Feet Plus

This list is by no means complete, but these are companies that offer commissions to web sites that link to them, if people click on those links and complete purchases, etc. there. Any other products/services that you would just like to be able to purchase through us?

2) TuDiabetes Merchandise: We will be soon offering some more affordably-priced t-shirts, etc. that you would be able to purchase through the site directly. We opened a TuDiabetes store a while back, but I found their prices to be a little excessive, so we feel we can offer you guys with cool-looking merchandise at a reasonable price.

3) Sponsorships: I constantly struggle with the idea of how we could get others to sponsor us without compromising our integrity as a community. I would love to hear your thoughts about this.
-Which companies are complete NO-NO’s for you?
-Which companies do you think we should be involving here with us?
-How would you like to see that happen?
Would you like to see us inviting drug companies, pump companies, meter companies, etc. perhaps in a role of conducting online versions of focus groups for a fee that they would pay, a percent of which could go to the members that participate in them?

Any other thoughts you could share about this matter would mean a lot to us. We want to be able to see live a very long life so it can reach out to many, many, many people with diabetes worldwide, so your input about this is crucial.

I like the TuDiabetes merchandise idea…I actually have great ideas for cute and fun t-shirts, let me know if you want to collaborate Manny!



If you add a number of things that can be bought through TuDiabetes, then we’d need to encourage people to remember to do this. And if these are not items we purchase often (web hosting, magazine subscriptions) then I’m not sure the income would be sufficient.

At the very least why not get an Amazon Associate membership for TuDiabetes? Then you could have something like a diabetes book review section where proceeds from Amazon purchases would benefit TuDiabetes.

It may also make sense to organize a number of volunteers to help with the maintenance and upkeep. That way you spread the effort out among folks.

I don’t envy you. If the number of members grows to 5,000 I could see the maintenance and hosting as a big cost and effort.

Hi Manny, I too have been thinking about this stuff for your site… I’d really like to see you form a small LLC
( Maybe a nonprofit ) and import diabetic supplies, like test strips… How hard can that be… Since I’ve been on the site I’ve read many stories about test strip prices and availabilty. Maybe a large group like this can do something about this problem. What do you think? The members of this site can benefit by bulk buying supplies. It couldn’t hurt to discuss this idea… I think we could become a importer and sell them at cost.
I’ve found a site called Alibaba that will work with budding importers… check out this site.

I found this link for the test strips…

If we could get a confirmed order from most of the members we could be in business soon.

Ready for the discussion.

Hi Manny,
I liked the Amazon idea and most of the others. You have a good head on your shoulders and I would go along with what ever you pick out.

But as we are talking about shopping. I need help. I am hiking more and more. And we are doing over nights and weekend hikes as well. The problem is keeping the insulin in a small enough container and keeping it cold. The byetta has to stay cold also. I have come up with some make shift ideas, but nothing that I really trust completely. And weight and size are a concern. Packs are suppose to be limited to a minnium. Also I am looking for a nother Diabetic Id bracelet. I lost mine. If we do tshirts, can we inculde 3x size.?

Through my own company we try to get the best products at the best price for our clients. Diabetes covers quite a few products and services.
I am though unsure about buying gays and lesbians. Would one be a good feature in my garden? Could I purchase a few of them and make a mobile?
All jokes aside. Products, services and information is one thing but I am confused as to where you are going with some of the list. No I am not racist, sexist or otherwise I just can’t see the relavance.
I would suggest a format which needs to cover all aspects of what it is “WE” want in a company. The pros and cons with each company. Who profits by the relationship be it individuals and or group.
Through experience I tend to look very very closely at American companies. They cannot be held responsible from Australia in most cases. It is illegal to make most of the claims for products and services here that are found on US products.

I thought, perhaps offering some of the products/services I mentioned above through the different groups could be an option.

As for the pros, cons, evaluations, etc. that is why I am putting this out there, to get your inputs. How would a scheme where any new company coming into our radar becomes evaluated as meeting certain criteria, etc. dunno… I am just brainstorming.

Also, what if we had (just thought of this) ownership levels? If members could benefit from the revenue of the community somehow? Would that create incentives among the members to make the community grow? Could that have downsides to it?

I will have something to eat and put some serious thought into it. What I do hear is presell stuff. I get twenty people who want something then but n bulk so we ALL get a discount.
Speak soon.

Manny your own merchandise is a great idea. i make good money in my online store.

I think some of those ideas have potential but I would say be careful of the membership thing. I know that many people are turned off by sites that give limited access to information unless you pay for a membership. I would hate to she this great community go downhill because of it.


Here are some thoughts:

  1. Have diabetes related companies run specials for members. Work out an agreement that drives either a fixed amount or a percentage for every sale back to tudiabetes.
  2. I’m guessing tudiabetes can’t get outside ning at this point, so they pretty much price by users/traffic per month, right? Ask them to give tudiabetes a price break in return for a CPI model on the site.
  3. The amazon associate idea is a good one
  4. Fund raising and sponsorship drives are a good idea

It would help if you articulated what the operational needs are for the next 12 to 18 months based on projected subscriber growth. Having a business plan makes it easy to raise funds with sponsors.

Let me know if you need help.

Hi Manny,
I just joined and everyone seems so kind & helpful…maybe if everyone helped that would make things easier…w/ so many members I’m sure there are many grrreat ideas=) I do most of my shopping online,so I will purchase stuff. Let me know how I can help…

If 700 people all donated $5 that would be $3500. Some may donate more, some less or not at all, but I think many people would be willing to donate to a site that they get so much information and support from.

The Amazon connection sounds good. i’d use it.
I’d donate through PayPal. i put up with public radio and television fund drives, so I’m sure I’d put up with one here.
Products could also include greeting cards.
Rather than focus on selling diabetic supplies, which are already sold on-line, why not sell stuff that anyone can use, but that diabetics happen to use more or know more about - i.e. food. Good and healthy food. The CEO of Whole Foods seems like a nice fellow. :slight_smile:
Exercise gear might also be popular.
and if you find a vendor with a workable holder for a Dexcom receiver - latch on to them TIGHT.


got two ideas for you. You are using google adsense now looks like. If you go into your account and look at the headings at the top for adsense setup (click) then referrals (click) about 15-20 headings come up. Just under one of them- health are the following ads you can run and when a purchase is made you get these commissions. It is not ppc but ppa (application). Here’s a sampling just under health attached. If you need help setting it up I can help.

The other idea is just ask drug/supply companies for a grant to support the site. See if anyone is a pro fundraiser that might be able to help. If I knew anything I’d do it.

That’s all for 1 am.

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I haven’t been a member for long but since I’ve joined I’ve gotten an insane amount of diabetes related SPAM. Not sent by this community but either you or someone who has our email addresses is doing this. I get so many every day. I would say at least 25-30? So I can only assume that joining this site is what caused it. If it’s you doing this then you’ve obviously profitted enough from us by selling our addresses right? Not saying you DID, just a for instance. I have joined other diabetes communities months and years ago and never got spam because of it. I finally join HERE and BAM! I’m flooded!

I mean ownership, Chris. What if members could somehow own a part of the community, like we all were shareholders, for instance?

I just want to clarify for everyone that we do not sell anybody’s e-mail address or information. The members are the most important component of the community and we respect (and admire) each and every one of you too much to consider selling anyone’s information, even more so, without the person’s consent.

Now, let me confirm: are you referring to those messages titled “XYZ person replied to a discussion on Tu Diabetes - A Community for People Touched by Diabetes”. If this is the case, I am really sorry about the e-mail situation these past few days because it has been due to a new feature on the site that has caught many off guard.

If this is not the case, please make sure to send me a sample of the messages you are referring, because you should have not been getting messages from outside (much less SPAM messages) as a result of joining. I take this VERY MUCH to heart, so if it’s happening, I need to know about it.

Since the introduction of the new feature over the past weekend there were some odd behaviors with the autonotification mechanism too every time you responded to a discussion topic. For instance, when a member replied, he/she was getting notified about his/her own reply (not useful, I agree).

There are more details about this situation on this topic: (scroll to the bottom of the page for last updates) and what you need to do to not be flooded with notifications.

BTW, you can stop following (not get any more e-mails about it) any topic/blog post on the site by either clicking the “Stop Following” link at the bottom of the topic/blog post OR by clicking on the link that comes below the text “To stop following this discussion, click here.” in any of the e-mail notifications you receive.

P.S. I will post this send you this same information on a private message, to make sure you receive it.

I would love to purchase diabetes " stuff " ! It would be great to be able to find a decent insulin pump case that isnt the color black ! Black is ok but I like to have a choice of colors for my pump : ) Maybe a percentage of things purchased can go to tudiabets just a thought.

Just a word of caution about selling merchandise like T-shirts.

There are well known sites that make it very easy to sell merchandise. The problem is almost all of the earnings from the sale go to the company that makes the merchandise. So if you sell a $19 T-shirt, maybe you earn 3 bucks, but the person who bought it feels like they paid you $19.

The same is true with other so-called partnerships. And this can cause a problem if someone has bought $100 of stuff to support the site, but you only get $15, there’s a mismatch going on.

Selling stuff direct involves a huge amount of work,though. More than most people realize.

I personally like the idea of a low cost supporter membership.