A word of advice to advertisers who want to build a closed community for your customers. Don’t.
If you really want to hear what your customers are thinking, don’t demand that we connect with you in an environment you control. I, for one, don't want to take part in a behind closed doors conversation where you can shut me down if you don't like what I have to say.
But I'd love to chat, like and share around your products & services via Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, LinkedIn, Quora, etc., where others can also join our discussion.
Like most of your customers, I don’t want to be part of your community; I want you to be part of mine.
So unless you're a financial institution or a hospital that has regulatory and/or privacy issues, save your money. Instead of investing in another expensive website with community functionality, put your marketing dollars toward a well-thought out social media presence that lets you listen, connect and engage over time with your customers, in environments that we trust.