Relationship oriented website vs content oriented website
Relationship oriented website is a kind of website based on friend circle, people come to the website to share news with their friends and see what's happening around their friends, these websites include Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. While content oriented website is a kind of website based on unique content, people come to the website to find information or find answers for their questions, these websites include TechCrunch, The Verge and Medium.
Most of websites on the Internet nowadays belong to either one of them. They have their own advantages and disadvantages.
The obvious feature of relationship oriented website is relationship. When one comes to the website, s/he may invite her/his friends to join the website and then they can form a circle, they can share what's happening around them with friends such as status, images and videos. This kind of website usually can accumulate large amounts of users in a short period of time.
One weakness of relationship oriented website is that quality of content cannot be guaranteed. Contents on relationship oriented website are generated by users themselves, people may come from different background with different interest. Some contents are sophisticated opinions about one social event, some contents are just trash talk. The contents can be generated quickly as well.
Another weakness of relationship oriented websites is that it has low people loyalty. If there is another new website which has the same goal but provides a new or easier way of communication, then people may choose to migrate to this new website within short period of time. As it's relationship oriented, so if one user chooses to leave, then most probably his/her friends will choose to leave as well. One apparent example is Myspace, Myspace was founded in 2003 and it was the most popular relationship oriented website before Facebook appeared in 2004. From 2005 until early 2008, Myspace was still the most visited social networking site in the world, while in April 2008, Myspace was overtaken by Facebook. And later it was sold with $35 million in 2011. Now, there seems a trend that people are running away from Facebook and joining Twitter or Tumblr.
For content oriented website, the contents are produced by a small group of people who have some experience or background on one field, their contents may represent some expert views about some problems and usually their contents have some reference value. The authors may be entrepreneurs from successful companies, scientists from scientific organizations and journalists from news agencies. More importantly these contents are not replaceable easily. Also people come to the site are those who are interested in the content on that website instead of finding friends, so they generally have high loyalty if the content conforms to their taste.
The weakness of content oriented website compared to relationship oriented website is that it takes longer time to accumulate users. They have to prove that people can benefit from their website. This is not an easy process.
In recent years, some websites have both relationship oriented and content oriented features. Two excellent examples are Quora and Stackoverflow. Contents on these two websites are generated by users and the quality of the contents are guaranteed by the credit system implemented. People can make friends on through these websites as well, you can follow people, you can follow topics. You can answer others' question,, others can support your answer as well.