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Start A Fan Club If your customers love you, they'll do the marketing for you.

By Gwen Moran

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's every marketer's dream-fan sites and newsgroupsspringing up around the Web devoted to one thing-your product. Ifit sounds far-fetched, meet Tom Filsinger, 43, founder of FilsingerGames and creator of the increasingly popular Champions of theGalaxy card game. At last count, Champions was the subject of morethan 100 fan sites and nearly a dozen newsgroups on theInternet.

Filsinger, a psychology professor in Jamestown, New York,developed the game back when he was bored in high school. In 1986,he revisited his make-believe futuristic wrestling competition andbegan to market it through a few ads in wrestling magazines. In1997, he began encouraging fans of the game to create their owncharacters and exchange them via his Web site.

Filsinger compares his marketing strategy to the Grateful Dead."The Dead allowed fans to bootleg tapes," he explains."They believed that people would get more involved with theirmusic and want better-quality recordings, so the recordings wouldcreate a new market. I think that encouraging people to createtheir own characters and exchange them over the Web works the sameway. Eventually, they're going to want to turn to us for morecharacters as well."

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