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The metaverse is a fast-moving, often complicated space that’s only in its infancy. Many marketers are also in the early stages of figuring out how they can make moves into the space, but it can be tricky to keep up — unless they and their agencies know where to look.
Savvy marketing and advertising professionals are harnessing the power of platforms like Discord , Telegram, and LinkedIn to create communities where they can discuss the latest Web3 developments with like-minded individuals. Web3 relates to the next generation of the internet, which is built on the blockchain and designed to be decentralized.
Insider spoke to 24 advertising executives leading the charge into the metaverse, who highlighted five of the top online groups they have been using to get up to speed on the latest metaverse developments. They range from free-to-join Discord servers to a Telegram channel that requires acquiring a non-fungible token that costs more than $60,000.
JUMP is a Discord server where marketers, creatives, and advertising professionals discuss all things Web3 as they relate to the industry.
On a regular day, conversations can range from how to integrate virtual avatars across platforms, to the role of Web2 social media platforms in a Web3 era, all the way to reviews of brands’ metaverse activations.
Now almost 700-strong, members chat in channels dedicated to topics such as nft-tools, tokenomics, and, of course, metaverse.
JUMP also promotes discussion through weekly roundtable events featuring its members, a weekly newsletter, and in-person events in cities across the US.
The idea for JUMP started its life as a presentation that founder Jeff Kauffman, a former ad exec at Dallas-based The Richards Group, put together in early 2020 “to wrap my head around the space,” he said.
When he showed it to his colleagues, “Everybody would say the same thing: ‘This is amazing, this is incredible. But I have a problem. I really don’t understand what you just showed me and I have no idea where to start,'” he said.
He realized there was a need for a place where marketers could come together and get educated on all things Web3, and JUMP was born.
To apply, prospective members just need to sign up for the Discord server, following a short application that asks “what JUMP should know about them,” a question designed to filter for people in relevant fields.
NFT Frens (LinkedIn)
The NFT Frens LinkedIn group banner.NFT Frens
NFT Frens is a private LinkedIn group featuring marketers from all kinds of companies, including Shopify, Tesla, and RTFKT. “NFT” refers to non-fungible tokens, which use blockchain technology to represent ownership of digital items.
There are only two requirements members must fulfill to join NFT Frens, according to its founder, Michael Litman: an interest in Web3 technologies and an NFT as a profile picture.
Litman, who is the lead creative strategist at digital production agency Media.Monks, is debating whether to relax the NFT profile picture requirement, though added that he sees it as a badge to show that its owner is committed to Web3 and NFTs, and will thus bring value to the group.
“I am fascinated by the colliding worlds of anonymous identity where you get to know people in the NFT community simply by their username and profile picture, versus the real world personal connectivity on LinkedIn,” said Litman.
On a regular day on the NFT Frens group, Insider saw a lawyer looking to chat about NFTs in Meta’s Horizon Workroom metaverse via the Oculus VR headset, a designer discussing post-launch marketing strategies for a Web3 product, and a London-based crypto head of creative offering whitelist opportunities.
Business Professionals of the Metaverse [BPM] (Discord)
“Meta Mike,” BPM cofounder Stu Richard’s virtual avatar.BPM
BPM was developed for business professionals to learn more about the latest advancements across the metaverse, including decentralized infrastructure, mixed reality technologies and NFTs, according to its cofounders, Stu Richards, also known as “Meta Mike,” and Cameron Schultz. Richards and Schultz also lead Versed, a creative agency specializing in the metaverse.
The Discord server features channels on topics such as decentralization, virtual worlds, digital style, and marketing and media. It has a focus on education and does away with Web3 elements such as decentralized autonomous organizations and tokens, which create member-owners but also financial barriers to entry, in favor of accessibility.
“A DAO has a lot of benefits, but we wouldn’t go that route. We want to balance access with the benefits that we would offer through that,” said Schultz.
Members can be found discussing topics as varied as accounting firm PwC buying virtual land in The Sandbox, the building of augmented reality experiences using Snap’s Lens Studio, and the future of Web2 digital marketing agencies in a Web3 environment.
To join, prospective members need simply enter the Discord server and complete a verification task, to ensure they are not bots.
“We just want to create content and provide education, so people can start to build up their metaverse and Web3 picture,” said Richards. “We’re really looking to drive connections and create the ability for people to access the right folks.”
Club CryptoPackagedGoods [Club CPG] (Telegram)
One of Club CPG’s NFT passes, which members must own to access the group.Club CPG
Club CPG is “seeding the ultimate Telegram rabbit hole, pairing some of the best minds in the sector with emerging thinkers and operators,” according to its website.
What that means in practice is that members — who include people at consumer companies, consumer packaged goods firms, and ad agencies — get access to 50 mentors, who are expected to bring industry knowledge, connections, and expertise to the group.
Mentors include tech mogul Mark Cuban, former Andreessen Horowitz partner Li Jin, and Robleh Jama, Shopify’s director of product.
“We noticed there weren’t a lot of NFT projects offering much beyond shallow speculative value, so wanted to create a project where the exchange of value was very clear,” said Chris Cantino, Club CPG’s founder.
Members chat in a private Club CPG Telegram group, where they can discuss all things Web3 with mentors, other members, and industry influencers. They also have early access to Club CPG’s investment vehicle, which funds crypto and consumer startups, and entry to events for networking and education.
To join, prospective members must either purchase a Club CPG NFT on OpenSea, or be gifted a Member Pass NFT by a Club CPG mentor. Initially, 150 member passes were made available for sale on OpenSea for 0.2 ETH, or around $640 at current prices. Some of those passes have since been sold and, at the time of writing, the cheapest Club CPG NFT is selling for 21 ETH, more than $67,000.
While the entry fee is steep compared to other groups on this list, Club CPG’s creators said it has donated all profits from the public sale to Project Potluck, a nonprofit that supports the growth of CPG businesses owned and operated by people of color.
Friends With Benefits [FWB] (Discord)
A glimpse into the FWB Discord server: Members greet one another with a good morning “gm” ritual.Cooper Turley
FWB bills itself as “the ultimate cultural membership powered by a community of our favorite Web3 artists, operators, and thinkers bound together by shared values and shared incentives.”
What that means in practice is that its members range from business professionals to musicians. Members chat on the latest crypto trend, attend exclusive events, and read commissioned thought pieces from leaders in the space, as reported by Insider in September.
Entry to this select group of Web3 influencers doesn’t come cheap, however: 75 $FWB, the community’s token, are required to gain access to the Discord server where members congregate. At time of publishing, one token traded for $48 on CoinMarketCap, resulting in an entry fee of $3,600.
“Exclusivity is not necessarily always a bad thing. I think there’s a lot of benefits to making it so that there’s only high caliber people joining a community,” Cooper Turley, FWB’s cofounder, told Insider in September.
It may seem that membership to FWB would go against the principles of Web3 – a decentralized world where wealth is distributed fairly and gatekeeping corporations are shunned. But the group actually features a key Web3 component in its structure as a DAO.
In a DAO, member-owners get to vote on how they want to see their community evolve. Similar to how shareholders can decide the fate of a company, a DAO puts a piece of internet equity in the hands of its users, through its use of tokens – $FWB, in this case. “We’ve been creating value for Instagram and TikTok with very little actually accruing to us,” said Trevor McFedries, FWB’s cofounder, on an episode of The Defiant podcast in 2020.
While FWB is not a marketing-focused community, its membership of Web3 movers and shakers makes it a very desirable ticket, advertising experts told Insider. So much so that venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and others led a $10 million funding round last year, valuing the community at $100 million.
Foto: Suttar Tarasri/Getty Images